Making jam is a hobby of mine. I first learned the basics when I attended 4-H summer school at Oregon State University when I was fourteen. I won’t tell you how long ago that was.
My interest in the art peaked when a dear woman from my church gave my husband and I a box of jam as a wedding gift. Touched by her thoughtfulness, I passed the tradition on for the next two decades, blessing new brides with the same gift.
I make jam every summer—usually four to five varieties, depending on the fruit supply. My son prefers strawberry, my husband raspberry. Jam doesn’t take much time and perks up any meal. The colors brighten my pantry.
One summer four years ago, though, I had an excessive amount of leftover peaches. Watching the fruit ripen faster than we could eat it, can it, or give it away, I knew the peaches would need attention soon. I asked my husband what he thought of me making peach jam.
He wrinkled his nose. “Too bland.” He shook his head. “No flavor.”
His resistance fueled my need to experiment. I knew he liked peach pie—cinnamon the only ingredient different between the pastry and the jam recipe. Why not just add the spice and see what happened?
I did. What I got was a batch of golden peach syrup. The jam didn’t set. The directions within the box of pectin states some jams need time to gel. I waited the obligatory two weeks. Nothing.
Not a person to waste anything, I decided to pour the peach whatever-it-was on my husband’s French toast. He thought he’d died and gone to heaven. My peach jam failure soared to the top of his favorites!!
That presented a new problem. How would I recreate a product that had originally been a failure? I tried. Honestly, I did. But summer after summer, the peach jam did what it was supposed to do—set up. I couldn’t fail, even though I tried.
My husband didn’t care. Though the mixture spread differently than the first batch I’d served him, he still liked the peach flavor on his French toast. I continued making it—success after success.
Often circumstances in our lives are like that jam. We set out for success, expecting results, and we crash miserably. God picks us up, dusts us off, and sends us on our way again. When I look back over the years of my life, I realize God turned many of my failures into wonderful blessings. In the process, I grew as a person. I learned to trust Him more.
Proverbs 3:5 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean NOT on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths.” The verse does not say we will always have success, only that He will direct us.
This summer I had leftover peaches again. I’m happy to report that after several years of trying, my peach jam finally FAILED! I have no idea how I managed it. But this time, I don’t care.