The other day my offspring discovered crabapple jelly. A revolution for breakfast, perfect for peanut butter sandwiches and who knows what else! Made lovingly by someone who loves us, not that I remember who. But it is quite obvious that if you’re giving crab apple jelly, there is definitely some love happening. In my house, this previously unknown delight has gone from anonymity into absolute fame.

Meanwhile, I’ve been working on a puzzle. Finally figured a few things out. At times it seems so ridiculous how desperately obvious some of things these are. Especially on this side of it. However, on the off chance that you are on the other side of it, I invite you to wonder and wander with me through a delish dish of jelly and jigsaw.

So what goes into crab apple jelly anyway?

Let me tell you. Crab apples. Some sugar and a bit of cinnamon. Water if you need. Crab apples have everything they need right in them to make the perfect jelly. I find that fascinating.

The process, however, is not so pleasant for the crab apples. You see, they have to have all the inedible parts removed, then they get boiled so that they’re softened. After that, it’s not even close to being over. But it’s closer than it was before.

The apples and juice created in boiling get strained until the liquid is pure, transparent even. The pulp is discarded.

More heat now and any foam that shows up here is skimmed right off.

Then we add sweetness and perhaps a bit of spice. Along with that comes more heat. In fact, a blistering temperature and not just for a few minutes.

After this, the jelly gets poured into sterile decorative jars with a little room at the top. Some headspace. It’s processed in a hot water bath to seal it.Great crab apple jelly is a beautiful pinky, transparent colour.

 So. (you may even be thinking, so what?). Well, there’s a huge SO WHAT that I won’t wait any longer to tell you. You are so going to love this. I’m not sure how you couldn’t!

Let’s get to the point. Rather, let’s get to the puzzle. And enjoy some jelly later.

Who do I think I am, anyway? How does that play out? What does transformation look like? Do I stop being me when I change? Do I lose me when I change? Do I lose when I change?

These are all questions that have rattled around in my soul for way too long. But I kicked them out awhile ago and there’s a lot more room to breathe now. To become. Now.

Get ready, I may even jump on the highest soapbox ever to preach this simple and very sweet truth. I needed someone to open this jar for me. And so, I’m kinda thinking you might, too.

You have an identity. It’s probably time you not only figured it out but you embraced it. Once you do, no one will ever be able to take that from you. Who you are is who you are as heaven sees you not as the world sees you. So quit going to the world for information they only have slight clues for.

Who you are is not what everyone else has predicted of you, this is not your fears or your insecurities labeling you. Fear and worry cannot be the basis of the assessment of who you are. This is also not some crab apple pie in the sky ideal that you get to choose according to the whim of your tastes. The core of our discussion (not apple, mind you – though we will get to that parallel right away) is the true you, the really real you. With a heavenly perspective lived out in the natural with delight. Living in delight. In celebration. This is not a puzzle with missing pieces or impossibilities. That’s a lie, a pit. We don’t eat pits – they crack our teeth and we can’t digest them either.

Now is the time to ask some really great questions of the only Person who can actually tell you what you want to know. Then, once you’ve received that truth, start giving back what you received without any effort on your part. Grace and mercy and thanksgiving – I like jelly with thanksgiving!

 You’re a crab apple – mysteriously and delightfully made with everything you need in you to make the perfect jelly. You grew where you were planted. And now you’re a crab apple. So now what?

What about that more that you are wondering about? Well, to get to that sweet and delectable more, transformation has to happen. And during this marvelous process, you will see beyond the stems and leaves and pulp, that the spirit of who you are, is an extremely delightful essence.

Life is not easy. If you want jelly, there’s going to be hot water. Quit searching for the right store to purchase transformation. Stop wishing you could sit in a bowl and positively choose to become jelly. End the avoidance of transformation. It’s not only unrealistic, it’s boring. Worse yet, the alternative is to become mushed into an indistinguishable mess and out of the uniqueness that is you. How about cease striving? Rest is quite the commodity these days – you might just be the right person to set a new trend.

Don’t you want a few great stories to tell your grandkids? How about the big story? You know – the one where you were chosen, because you were. The one where Someone loved you enough and not just you, that He underwent the most difficult and sorrowful and joyful and glorious transformation on our behalf. That’s certainly not boring. It’s pretty awesome. Terrifying at times, but totally terrific! And the best story ever.

The good news is that you are not alone in the process of transformation. We are in this together. And, when we’re lonely, we are not alone.

First, we have to agree to the process. Here are the steps…

  1. Be called (that’s easy, this was done before you even became an apple).
  2. Be chosen (you are invited and not forced, but I do hope you are compelled.)
  3. Submit to the process (not so easy, but so worth it.)
  • Repentance – Allow all the inedible parts of you to be removed. You don’t need them. If you did, you would have them. Romans 3:23
  • Soft Heartedness – Continually watch your heart of stone become a heart of flesh as you realize the depth of the Love that surrounds you. That will never leave you. Ezekiel 36:26
  • Trials and Tribulations – Don’t look for these, they will come your way. All bubbly and boiling. Be strained by weathering these storms until all the foam is skimmed off, and everything that remains is everything that is needed for jelly. Romans 5:3-4
  • Discard – toss out the pulp and anything that is going to get in the way of you living in the delight. This includes fear, unrealistic expectations, and a whole bunch of other things. You’ll figure it out. Hebrews 12:1
  • Sweetness – There’s no law against kindness, love, peace, patience and all of those sweet things. It’s not just me that needs a little sweetening – we all do! Galatians 5:22
  • Spice – In order to be effective, spices need to move throughout all parts of the recipe. This is freedom. Move freely. Start moving. Acts 17:28
  • Perseverance – The heat doesn’t get less. In fact, in this stage, it can be downright persistent. So, the only option is to count it all joy. Because it all is. You’re just about jelly, now! James 1:2-8
  • Sealed – this is not about location. It’s about your identity. You are jelly. Seal that! For now you may be in a jar, but you may be somewhere else shortly. Flexibility is key for good jelly. Who wants a solid clump of jelly? Ick. John 15:4
  • Rest – cool down and get ready to be used. Walk in rest. Matthew 11:28
  • Transparency – by the time you get to this part, this is an identifiable quality you have. And it will be obvious if little crumbs or bits of stuff get tossed into the mix. Just scoop them out and maintain the quality. Romans 6:11
  • Spread the sunshine! This is the fun part. The essence of you can now be added to all sorts of places. In a sandwich, on toast, in thumbprint cookies, maybe even just on a spoon. The adventures are endless.

Here’s an excerpt from a poem I wrote on identity, part of a poetry, music, art presentation entitled Puzzles & Adventures.

When you’re on an adventure, you don’t have time to waste.

You just do what’s next.
When you’re on a voyage, you have to pack Light.
Discover with delight.
Capture the sunsets.
Bask in the sunrise
Gulp now and again, and gasp a few times, too.
There will be tears and there will be laughter.
That’s certain.
Everything else will be revealed in due time.
When you get back, you’ll have a great story to tell.
Isn’t that part of any glorious quest?
It’s part of mine!
It can be part of yours, too.
Just carry your ID with you.
Don’t forget your identity.
Of course, you’re going to need that wherever you go.
You can’t go far without that.
I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know.
© 2016 09 Sandy Foster

Let me summarize. You are a delight. Maybe in the raw form. Maybe part way through transformation. Maybe you are downright already jelly. Regardless. You are a delight. Find out how heaven sees you. Walk it out. Embrace transformation. Don’t stop being you but begin becoming the full version of you. It’s impossible to lose. You’ll walk from victory to victory.

Remember, preserves not puzzles.