“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34-35
By Tammy Noteboom
My husband came home with walleye after a successful evening on the lake last week. Because he was going out of town the next day, we gave it away to friends who love to eat fish, but can’t seem to catch any! When they returned the cooler, they didn’t think it seemed right to return it empty, so they included a fresh peach.
A lonely peach in a blue, soft-sided, promotional cooler seems like a small thing, but it started an avalanche of memories—the first peach of the summer and memories of my dear grandmother.
When I bit into the peach, I was instantly transported back to my grandmother’s kitchen, and peaches. When peaches were in season, Grandma always had at least one crate on the kitchen counter and another in the refrigerator (wrapped individually in paper so they wouldn’t ripen before we could eat them).
Because I lived with my mom, dad, and little brother less than a quarter mile away, I could walk to Grandma and Grandpa’s. My brother, Mike, and I were there nearly every day during the summer and Grandma always made sure we didn’t walk away hungry. Mike loved her malts, and while they were delicious, it’s peaches that evoke my most delicious memories. Peaches—cut into bite-sized squares, smothered in cream—real cream, skimmed off the top of the bottle of milk from our dairy cows—with just a dab of sugar.
Peaches and cream, which are sweet and rich and delightful, seem like a fit metaphor for my relationship with Grandma. When Mike and I walked into her house, her face lit up like we were long lost loves she hadn’t seen in years. It didn’t matter if we’d seen her yesterday, or just a few hours before, the look was always the same—joy to be in our presence.
As I grew older and got busy with friends and the drama of being a teenager, I didn’t visit Grandma’s house every day. But she was still there. She was still loving me, praying for me, and waiting patiently for me to reach out when I needed her.
In her love for us, Grandma lived out God’s commandment to “love one another.”
Thousands of people live out this commandment by supporting the Ranch, and praying for our kids. Their dollars and prayers enable us to be here for troubled, complicated and amazing kids. Because of them, we can love them, care for them, and keep them safe, even when they seem unlovable. We wait patiently, knowing that God has a plan for them and is working through us to show them what it means to have “a person,” a person like my Peaches and Cream Grandma who never stops loving.
That is exactly what God does for each of us (me, you, and our kids)—He loves us with abandon. Every single time we go to God—to praise Him, petition Him, or cry out to Him in despair—he is thrilled to be in our presence.
The next time you bite into a peach, remember that God is with you.
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