“Staying in my Row”
by Angela Vaughters
This past summer, my kids and I went strawberry picking.
If you’ve never been to pick strawberries, there are rows and rows (and rows!) of strawberry plants. They give you a cardboard container and leave you to pick as many berries as you want!! So my kids and I walked into a row of bushes that we thought looked pretty ripe with berries, and we started picking.
Soon after we started…
we began getting discouraged that we weren’t finding as many berries as it originally appeared we could! However, when we looked at the rows next to us, they looked like they were overflowing with berries! We’d hop rows, begin picking berries in the new row, only to discover once again that there weren’t as many berries as we thought! But somehow the row we just left looked FULL of berries! In addition, everyone else’s containers were overflowing with strawberries, while we were struggling to find just a few!
We did this hopping-of-rows a few times, looking for the most berries in a row, when suddenly I realized something – the biggest, reddest berries were near the very bottoms of the plants, under the shade of the leaves. So looking down at the bushes, there didn’t appear to be any berries in WHICHEVER row we were in! But looking across to another row, we could see all those delicious ripe berries hiding under the leaves!
When I realized this, I told the kids there were PLENTY of huge, ripe strawberries in our row, we just had to look for them! We had to stop hopping rows to find them, because they were right in front of us!
Then it hit me… BOOM! If God smacks people in the forehead (which I don’t think He does because He’s a gentleman!), it was like He had definitely just knocked me upside the head. 🙂
At the time, I had just started a new business to which I know God had called me. But I had been struggling to find my ‘groove,’ trying lots of different things and feeling unsuccessful. I began feeling discouraged at seeing successful people all around me. I was anxious to find the success they had, and because of that, I was constantly changing my strategy to try and find something that would work. I was making very little progress.
God made this ‘strawberry row’ word picture SO VIVID for me… do you ever have those times when you are telling your kids something, and as the words are coming out of your mouth, you know the lesson is really more for you than them? This was one of those times.
I felt like God literally told me in that moment… “Stay in your row. Stop looking everywhere else because you think it looks more bountiful or promising. I’ve given you more than enough right here, here in your row. And stop worrying about everyone else who is looking for the same thing you are – there is MORE than enough to go around! There is no need to compare yourself to others, I’ve got you on your own path.”
This applied so much to my new business, and it is something I have carried forward and reminded myself of ever since.
But it also applies to my life as a mom, in the midst of my everyday. Sometimes we see what other moms are doing, and we start comparing and get discontent. But We would be wise to learn contentment, no matter where God has placed us for the moment. As Paul wrote, “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances” (Philippians 4:11 NIV). Stay in your row.
We shouldn’t get caught in the trap of trying to be like other moms. Galatians 6:4 (NLT) says “Pay careful attention to your own work, for then you will get the satisfaction of a job well done, and you won’t need to compare yourself to anyone else.” Stay in your row.
In my current stage of life, I may not have a house that’s always as clean as I’d like, a to-do list that’s all checked off, or kids that I’m certain I’m not messing up on a daily basis! But as 1 Thessalonians 5:18 says, when I “…give thanks in all circumstances…” I sure do see the blessings all around me!
So I’m going to stay in my row and reap all those ripe berries just waiting to be found… because when I look, they sure are plentiful!!
Angie is the wife to her high school sweetheart and mom to 2, and she is passionate about helping people better themselves! Whether it is teaching editing to new photographers at Polished Picture, helping people remove toxins from their environments and food at Girls Just Want to Go Green, or her proudest accomplishment, empowering moms to care for their families with essential oils at The Well-Oiled Life, she loves sharing what she’s learned with others. Now if she could learn to keep the crumbs off her floor. 🙂