I went huckleberry picking early Saturday morning. I had flown into Lakeside, Montana a few days ahead of our Bible conference, so I could assist with the set up. It didn’t take as long as we anticipated, so one of my friends invited me to go pick huckleberries on a little dirt road further up the mountain. It sounded like a really unique experience, since these berries only grow for a short season in this region of Montana. I knew going into it that I might not be able to pick a lot, since they are small bushes that like the steep sides of mountains and I have knees that don’t always cooperate. It was the experience I was going for, and I knew the view overlooking the valley would be spectacular.
Of course, the bushes with the best berries were just atop a steep climb over shale rock or down the other side where the drop off made my toes tingle. I didn’t have enough confidence in my body to attempt the first spot, so while my berry-picking buddies each took their section, I continued walking down the road, looking for a spot more within my comfort zone - like, right on the side of the road, if I’m being honest. I didn’t want to have to struggle for the berries. But, since we were well within the season, all of the berries within easy reach had been picked over.
I quickly realized I was letting my insecurities over my body’s abilities hinder my experience. So, I found a spot where I could climb - well, crawl might be a better word. I was on all fours trying to get up. But I did it! I picked a few berries, attempted to move around to find more, but after about 15 minutes, my ankles and knees protested the angle they were positioned in. Looking down, I saw the incline and knew I would need to sit and slide down the rocks and dirt in order to get to the road. I did it, and with wobbly legs and a dusty backside, I triumphantly walked back to where my friends were.
After a few minutes of chatting, I decided to walk down the other side of the road, just to explore. I felt accomplished, like I had conquered something pretty special, so I wasn’t looking to do any more picking. I wanted to soak in the beauty of the Montana mountains - the crisp morning air and the peaceful stillness that was all around me. It was the perfect time for reflection. And then I noticed a small clearing on the hillside, with a simple slope and more huckleberry bushes than I had seen yet. It was an easy, grassy walk to get to the berries and there was a wonderful mixture of sun and shade. I placed myself in the center of the bushes and picked to my heart’s content. There was such abundance! I loved being in the spot, with the sun shining, and the squirrels bickering back and forth - even the bees buzzing around the bushes didn’t bother me. After a long while, I meandered my way back to my friends, a huge smile on my face and about 2 cups of berries.
Later on, as I was snacking on my hard won huckleberries, I saw the significance of the trip. The Lord uses the most interesting things to teach us lessons. I had to be willing to push past my insecurities, to not let past experiences color present possibilities. To be victorious in the little things, because it strengthens you for the bigger ones to come. To soak in the moments of beauty and abundance, being thankful for each season that the Lord gives us. And to always remember that He is our provider who sees our needs and takes care of us.