Sometimes life moves at a challenging pace. The past several weeks have been particularly swift and challenging; thus, my lack of recent posts. Amidst all of the family drama over the past few weeks (much of which I have previously written about), a week ago our church hosted a large national conference which kept us all very busy. The conference also included some pre-meetings and post-meetings for me…all good, but tiring nonetheless. On the last day of the conference (actually more like the first day) I felt a level of tiredness than made it difficult for me to function with a sense of alertness. I was also shuttling back and forth to a downtown hospital during this time, where my daughter is still “holding” in preterm labor. She’s been hospitalized for 16 days now, and many of those days I’ve had the wonderful privilege of keeping her 20- month-old son. He’s been wonderful, even though it’s a confusing time for him.
This last day of the conference as I awakened with a terrible cold, I stared with dismay at my bag containing a fruit- designed apron, a headband draped with plastic fruit and a pile of large foam fruit heads. I wasn’t ready to face the task this bag represented, and would need help to get my heart into what was to come later that morning – an action-packed song and dance- filled hour of “Fruity Tunes”, a performance for about 200 children. I prayed that morning to claim the promise in Colossians 1:29 – the energy that God promises he can mightily inspire in me. For this I toil and struggle with all the energy that he powerfully inspires within me. Col 1:29 (NRSV)
I’ll share a short synopsis of the simple message of “Fruity Tunes”: “Fruity” introduces “Loving Lemon”, “Joyful Juicy Juice”, “Peaceful Pineapple” and “Patient Peach” to all the children. These “spiritual fruits” all have messages and songs to deliver to the children. After each introduction with songs and dance “Rotten Apple” appears, bringing his terrible messages and dreadful songs – all threatening to take away the love, joy, peace and patience that is being offered by the fruit. “Fruity” helps the children chase “Rotten Apple” away with scriptures and songs. “Tippety Teapot” gets involved in the action throughout as she helps the children continually pour out their love, joy, peace and patience. In the end, all the fruits and teapot unite the children in pouring out all of their love, joy, peace and patience onto “Rotten Apple.” This turns him into a happy, loving, repentant apple!
This simple message was just what I needed that morning. Before we started I really didn’t feel like giving, loving, or being joyfully excited or animated. Satan, whether by circumstances, ill health, or various tempations is always trying to steal our love, joy, peace and patience. However, God, through his Spirit, continually pours these qualities into our hearts. I’m so grateful for this promise!
Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance;  perseverance, character; and character, hope.  And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.
Fruity calls for the children to read a Bible verse and sing a song to make Rotten Apple go away. Funny, I find the same things help me!