Dreaming of Tomatoes

Women in Leadership //

weekly refill welcome

By Jennifer Lee
It’s not quite tomato season, but already I’m dreaming of garden produce-especially the tomatoes.
I have an insatiable appetite for garden tomatoes. I love them sliced, diced, pureed. When paired with mozzarella, tomatoes are divine. When drizzled with truffle oil and sprinkled with goat cheese? Heavenly.
I am the boss of the BLT, … and, as a result, the queen of the canker sore. I could make tomato-eating an Olympic sport, but truth be told: my brown-thumb often fails to support my appetite. Take last summer, for instance. Green orbs weighed down my vines, while neighbors hauled in their own ripe tomatoes by the bucket-loads. My Instagram feed revealed friends grinning wildly over their pressure-sealed jars.And then, behold, one day, a hint of orange peeked shyly from beneath the leaves in my garden. Just one … little … tomato.
I plucked the tomato, and served it next to a pillow of cottage cheese.
Days later, I spotted two more. Our family ate thick slices of tomatoes on hamburgers.
That’s how it went for weeks, getting only a few here and there, but always enough for us, always enough for just one day-a sort of summertime manna.
But in life, how often am I really satisfied with my daily manna? If I get honest, I often think I’ll find true contentment if I have just. one. more.
One more blog subscriber-then I’ll be a “real” blogger.
One more friend in my corner-so I won’t feel so alone.
One more assurance from my husband-so I feel a little bit better about myself.
There are a thousand ways to measure value. Just as the gardener measures by the produce, the book author watches book sales. Pastors count people in pews. Rarely do we say: “I have enough money in the bank, enough people in my church, enough followers or friends or (_________).”
We measure, to see if we matter.
We’ve all done it-whether we’re viewed as real “somebodies” or whether we think of ourselves as the “nobodies” sitting in the back row of life. We want to be known, approved, liked. And we might envy others’ proverbial tomato crop of success, acceptance and affirmation.
I often ask myself: Does my need for being known eclipse my need for God?
If everything else were taken away, would I be satisfied with my “one tomato”?
I want to know it deep: That I am not what I do. Whether my life is a bumper crop-or a bit of a famine-I want to know that my worth is not in the crop, but in the Master Gardener himself.
Lord, Help me desire you, the Giver, more than the gifts you so graciously give.


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About the Author

Jennifer Dukes Lee is a grace dweller and a story teller at www.JenniferDukesLee.com. She is author of Love Idol: Letting Go of Your Need for Approval and Seeing Yourself Through God's Eyes. She and her husband live on the Lee family farm in northwest Iowa with their two daughters, Lydia and Anna.