Tomatoes and Better Days Ahead

I love fresh tomatoes—they are one of my favorite foods of summer. My dad and I are the only ones in our family who will eat them. So, my mom always grows them just for us. There is nothing better than vine-ripened tomatoes in the heat of an Illinois summer. Delicious! I pluck them right off the vine, and into my mouth they go. There is little chance that they’ll even make it inside. Sorry, Dad!

Here in North Dakota, I cannot seem to grow tomatoes successfully! It could be due to the shorter growing season or having less humidity… I might get a few tomatoes, but not nearly enough for my tastes.

Check out my poor tomato plant (pictured below). Knowing I enjoy tomatoes, my mom planted it for me the summer that Dave died (2013). As you can see it didn’t fare well!

I could have forgotten to water it in my grief…or maybe it was the mighty wind that knocked it over half a dozen times.

2013 Tomato Plant

I don’t know what is worse—its pathetic, withered look or the need to prop it up against my deck railing! Day after day, I would walk by it in a daze. I often failed to water it.

In some ways, it represented my life quite well at the time. Towards the end of summer, I took a picture of it, as a marker. Dismally, I thought, “I must look like this plant, down and out, a little worse for the wear.” I had no clear plan at the time. (Grief is like that.)

Soon, I noticed there was still fruit. Despite appearances, my poor tomatoes were still hanging on! As I waited on the Lord to renew my vision…even in my grief…I knew He would make something good (Jeremiah 29:11). In a sense this tomato plant brought me tremendous hope during those dark days.

Have you ever felt Life looked a little bleak? Has your hope withered as Life pressed in?

I’m so sorry. Like this tomato plant, we all experience rough times. Circumstances can change in an instant. I know. We get knocked down for many reasons. Whatever your loss or pain, will you let God handle it? He will make a glorious masterpiece, if you will let Him.

Lamentations 3:24 says, “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “Therefore I have hope in Him.” If you feel like a beaten up, wind-tossed tomato plant, there is hope!

Have confidence in God’s timing and goodness (see Psalm 27:13).

He loves you very much.

Father God, thank You for bringing me through, and giving me new direction. Your wonderful plan includes hope for today and a great future. The best is yet to come! Thank You for sustaining us with Your grace and power.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

2 thoughts on “Tomatoes and Better Days Ahead

  1. Natalie, God has really given you a gift of reaching others through your writing. Sometimes, a written testimony is even more powerful than the spoken one. For one thing, think how many more people you are reaching, and with writing, you can take your time, and wait on the Lord to give you the right words.

    Of course, these are some of the reasons you ARE writing this blog. I’m amazed at the maturity of your faith and hope in the Lord. You have far surpassed me! Imagine God telling you that the ordeal of Dave’s illness and death would help you to see how much He loves you!! And look, you have truly come to believe that. Strong words and strong belief indeed. My heart skipped a little beat (but my pacemaker was right there!) when I read those words.

    I am going to print Tomatoes and Better Days Ahead for my grief group which starts very soon. I have told some of them about your long suffering and unimaginable endurance in the face of pain and confusion. They will relate to this testimony.

    God love you indeed and uses you to help others know this perfect love without fear. Wow!!

    Much love and huge hugs,
    Aunt Maggie

    1. Thank you, Aunt Maggie. I smiled about the pacemaker comment…glad you are doing so well!
      Yes, God is often misunderstood…especially in times of pain. We wonder if He cares, or even if He is there.
      But, He is the ONLY thing that remains. When everything falls apart He is STILL THERE.
      I am glad you are able to share with your grief support group. Let me know if I can help in any way. 🙂


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