by Tamara Demeree
I have been making strawberry jam for so long now it is hard to remember when I started. Perhaps it was when I was a young mother who was striving to be everything for everyone – a mom, a business executive, a student, a daughter, and yes, a Christ-follower. My mom taught me to make strawberry jam and she gave me some secret tricks, like including a pat of butter into the jam to keep the foam down, using only Domino’s sugar for the best tasting results, and turning your jars upside down when they are filled for 10 minutes instead of the traditional hot water processing method. Mama is a great teacher, and she is also one of the most talented, well-rounded, intelligent women I know. She can sew, cook, bake, solve a word puzzle, help with a homework assignment, and probably most importantly, encourage her girls to follow their dreams, no matter which path they take. She inspires us to be the exceptional matriarchs of our own families by her Godly example.
Today the bible verse of the day was Galatians 5:22-23, often referred to as the Fruits of the Spirit. “But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, and faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!” If you are like me, this verse always encourages me to be a better person. When my worldly emotions start to rear their ugly head and make me grumpy and moody, God brings me back to the good things the Holy Spirit has for us; the goals we work so hard to achieve in our lives yet often fall short. God’s grace picks up back up, dusts us off, and gives us new encouragement and forgiveness each new day. His grace covers all our negative feelings and emotions and gives us new hope for the day.
Making strawberry jam reminds me of how God molds us as Christians to be better people every day. He takes some ripe fruit (us), adds a whole lot of sugar (grace), heats it to just the right temperature (lessons and trials), knocks down the foam (Jesus’ blood shed for our sin), and the finished result is something sweeter and better than any of these ingredients could have been on their own.
You don’t find many women like my mama these days. But thanks to God’s grace and the Holy Spirit, we are all beautifully, wonderfully, and uniquely made just the way God designed, just like strawberry jam!