Lessons from up in the Mandarin Tree

Personal Reflection by Iris Parr

Some of my favourite childhood memories take place in South America when, every few
years, we visited our family and friends during July and August. Although it was winter
south of the equator, the hot sand threatened to burn our tender soled feet as we ran
through the fruit orchard to the heavily laden mandarin trees. We each found a tree and
climbed it, finding a comfortable branch to perch on. There we would spend hours
catching up with our cousins while eating the sun warmed fruit right off the trees.

The winters south of the equator were much warmer than our winters closer to the
Arctic Circle than the equator and nothing would grow or ripen during our winters. Yet,
in this tropical climate, the citrus fruit ripen and sweeten in the fall and winter months.
God in his infinite wisdom knows that it is in the winter months that we need more
vitamin C, so the citrus fruits ripen and sweeten in the winter months, giving us the
nutrition that we need.

Over the years I am finding that it is in the winter months of life that God, in his infinite
goodness, ripens us and sweetens us up. I think we often view the winter seasons of life
as harsh and cold and we just can't wait until spring arrives. Yet it is in the winter
seasons of life that God is molding us and growing us and ripening us to be and do
amazing things.

“let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give
up.” Galatians 6:9

Oh how we long for spring, when God gives us those new beginnings he began to ripen
in us during that long season of winter. It is a time of renewed hope.
Sometimes the season of winter can last for years and this can be very discouraging,
but let us not give up hope, because spring is coming. The seasons are always
changing, just not always on our own timeline. Let's start viewing the winter months of
our lives as times of growth and ripening, of sweetening into the most wonderful fruit,
ready for the harvest God has in mind for us as we build His Kingdom.

For more reflections by by Iris, follow her blog: irisparr.com