Have you ever gone on a God Hunt? A God Hunt begins when you teach yourself to look for God’s hand at work in the every day occurrences of your life. Here’s one of my personal God Hunt Sightings:
Because I planted tomatoes (from a nursery greenhouse, not from seed) a month after May 15th, which is the date gardeners mark here in the Chicago area as past the danger of frost, I have plenty of green tomatoes, and I am not sure there will be enough time for them all to ripen.
David and I leave for a ten-day trip overseas in two weeks. September is upon us and even with the slight chance that warm days will continue to October, I am projecting that I may have plenty of green tomatoes still on the vines.
Since I hate waste, I looked up some recipes for green tomatoes. Fried green tomatoes is one, of course, and has been popularized by the book and the film of the same name. My Joy of Gardening Cookbook, however, has some other suggestions as to how to use the not-quite-ripe bounty of tomato vines.
First of all, they can be harvested and stored. “If you don’t want to cook the tomatoes green, ripen them in a warm, dark place,” writes the author. “I put green tomatoes on a shelf in the root cellar and cover with a layer of newspaper. I check just about every day to ‘harvest’ the ripe ones and remove any that are starting to rot.” She also informs me that green tomatoes will not ripen well on a windowsill. The skin turns red but the insides stay green. The only recipes she gives for green tomatoes, apart from these instructions to ripen them, is the one for fried green tomatoes and one for “Andrea’s Green Tomato Chocolate Cake.” Since I am a sad and pathetic baker for the most part, I probably won’t try that last suggestion.
Also, we don’t have a cold cellar. I’ll see, however, if Cirillo will pick whatever green tomatoes are on the vines, store them on the shelves in the dark place in the basement where I keep extra supplies. I have no doubt he will clear away the debris in the vegetable garden before he returns to Oaxaca, Mexico sometime in mid-October.
Maybe when I come home from Europe (and then a side trip to Kenya to consult on our Africa bag project), there will be some bounty from my experimental foray into vegetable gardening that will remind me of the wonder that happens in the growing season right outside my front door.
Actually, as I think about it, nothing is really totally wasted, since everything green goes into compost piles. Sometimes I actually think, We don’t have enough weeds. I don’t have enough greens for the compost mix. Then, I am glad when we fill a wheelbarrow with the weeds I used to hate. I have more places to dump weeds than I have weeds to dump in them—but the month of August with its riot of growth, both planned for and unplanned for, helps.
When a mind is occupied with such necessities—What will we do if we have an abundance of green tomatoes?, or How will we make compost if there are not enough weeds?—there is not much room for mental anxieties. An evening in the garden when the setting sun slants, or an early cool morning of hoeing and transplanting, mostly, being at harmony with the natural world puts us back in a place we humans vacated too long ago and don’t even have the memory of missing. We just know that in some way we are dislocated.
I recommend thoughts about green tomatoes. I recommend soil on the hands. I recommend garden meditation. I am not the only woman in the world who says this is good for the soul.
And, in all of this, I spy God.
Award-winning author Karen Mains has long had an interest in spiritual formation and the obedient Christian walk. She has written about the God Hunt in her book by the same name, The God Hunt: The Delightful Chase and the Wonder of Being Found. A hardback copy can be ordered from Mainstay Ministries for $10.00 plus $4.95 shipping and handling. Contact Karen at firstname.lastname@example.org and she will be happy to autograph a copy for you.
Karen continues to write content for her Christian blog, “Thoughts-by-Karen-Mains.” In so doing, she desires to touch the lives of Christian women and men and help them find ways to walk closer with the Lord Jesus Christ. In addition, through silent retreats, spiritual teaching, women’s retreats, Christian vacation opportunities, and other ministry activities, Karen helps each Christian woman and man receive vital spiritual food.
Through her Hungry Souls ministry, Karen serves as a spiritual coach to many Christian women and men, and teaches a mentor-writing class. And, through the Global Bag Project, she is working to develop a network of African women who sew exquisite cloth reusable shopping bags, Africa bags. This micro-finance women opportunity helps provide a much-needed sustainable income for struggling African families. For more information on this critically important project, please click here.
For decades, Karen and her husband, David, have served God through religious communications—radio, television, and print publication. They are the co-authors of the Kingdom Tales Trilogy: Tales of the Kingdom, Tales of the Resistance, and Tales of the Restoration. To find many valuable resources for pastors and congregations at the Mainstay Ministries main website, please click here.
Likewise, pastors will find special resources to help them prepare effective, life-transforming Sunday sermons by visiting David Mains’ website by clicking here.