Butterflies and Blackberries

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I am currently in Bobbio Pellice for our annual all-european summer staff conference. Never heard of Bobbio Pellice? Well…

“It’s where Jesus lost his shoes.”

This is my first time to this corner of Italy and it is absolutely stunning here. The weather has been great, the time connecting with friends and colleagues refreshing. This extra big dose of nature is proving to be good for both the body and soul.

I am pretty sure I’ve seen at least a dozen different types of butterflies in the last 72 hours. They are everywhere. I love how they are such a constant reminder of the fact that,Version 2

“if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (2 Corinthians 5:17)

This is a timely reminder for me. Some days and even weeks, I don’t feel like I have been made new.  I feel like I am still the selfish, arrogant, clueless and very flawed person I was before I encountered the love and grace of Jesus.

But what I feel or don’t feel doesn’t change the facts. God says those who place themselves in the care and grace of Jesus have been made new.

Just like the butterflies that are flitting and floating here and there.

They are not what they were.

And they will never go back to who they were before.

They are a new creation.

And by God’s amazing and abundant grace, so am I.

 

Blackberries

Summer is officially here!

I can’t count how many times over the years I’ve said:

“Summer isn’t summer without (the Beach Boys and) blackberry picking!”

In my part of Sicily, they have something similar to blackberries, called “Gelsi” but it grows on a tree rather than a bush and has a slightly different flavor. I like gelsi but they just aren’t the same as blackberries and I pretty much never buy them because they are typically very expensive.

Recently, during the first afternoon I was at a conference, I went for a walk to explore the small village where we were staying. As I was returning back to the retreat center, I stumbled across a blackberry bush that had ripe berries on it.

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I returned later with a container and was pleasantly surprised when after a short while, the container was already half-full.

It may seem like something small and coincidental, but for me, it felt like Jesus put those berries there just for me.

God’s good gifts to his children come in all shapes and sizes and sometimes, they come in the form of enjoying ripe blackberries on a warm summer day.

 

 

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