Let’s Go Morel Hunting

photo by Randi Perry

My family has roots in morel hunting. My uncle puts his treasures on homemade morel mushroom pizza. My Granny fries them in butter and they are the most delicious thing you’d ever eat. They are melt-in-your-mouth good!

Since moving to Milwaukee I have been eager to find these delicacies in the forest. I have yet to find them.

It’s a challenge to spend 2 plus hours in the woods with my 3 children, ages 5, 3, and 1.5. My good and faithful husband every year tries his very best to fulfill my dreams. He helps carry the toddler when he gets tired. When they start the “I’m hungry” chant, he gets out the snacks. Soon after, the “I’m thirsty” parade starts.

My kids and Rob, yes even my hubby was napping this time, in the car. I couldn’t hold back my anticipation to get out in the woods. So I went ahead of my tribe.

In the woods I started talking with God. The warm Wisconsin air hit my face as I sat on a green moss covered log. (the morels are supposed to be there.)

I began to question God.

Why doesn’t everyone find what they are truly longing for?

We try to fill our days with busy schedules and seek out thrills. When they come to an end we are back where we started. 

Since Covid19 we are told to stay home and stay safe. In doing so we are bound to the fact that there’s a hole in each of our hearts which we can’t ignore. 

Matthew 7:7 says, “seek and ye shall find, ask and it will be given you, knock and it shall be opened unto you”.

As I was still keeping my eyes peeled for morels,

He said in a still quiet thought, “They aren’t looking in the right spots”.

We need to know where to find God. We should start with His Word. His Word is alive and true. The Bible is His written Word.

I felt impressed, “They don’t go deep enough.”

For some, the search is a short lived fad. Only when they are hurting. Just when they are bored.

The deeper you venture into the woods, the thicker it becomes. God may reveal things in our hearts that He wants to purge. He always reveals and then waits for our permission to remove. He is a gentleman. He doesn’t take it without our consent and submission to Him.

While hunting with my Granny, when I was a child, she would tell me “Sometimes you need a different angle. You need to get down on your hands and knees sometimes. You’ll get dirty. It’s work, but some mushrooms are so tiny you won’t see them otherwise.”

We need a different perspective. We need to humble ourselves before God. James 4:10 says “Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you”. 

We are not doormats. That’s not it. It’s about humility and meekness (for the record, meekness is NOT weakness.) We can not be too high minded and prideful. If our noses are up in the air, we think we don’t need God.

We have a nice job, nice clothes, a nice house, nice cars, good health. What do we need God for? We need to humble ourselves; if we don’t do it on our own, God will do it eventually to get our attention. 

The next thought He gave me was, “They ask direction from people who think the same way they do.”

I asked my Dad for tips and tricks to find morels. He told me where to look. Mossy shaded areas on the south side of the hills.

My Granny taught me the time of year they pop up and which trees they tend to grow beside.

My Mom cooked them growing up. She would dip the Morels in egg wash, roll them in crushed saltine crackers, then pan fry them in butter. She told me, ” If you eat too many your belly will hurt.” (she was right.)

In searching for Jesus or striving to go deeper with Him we should not only talk to Jesus Himself, but also surround ourselves with people who are on a greater level with God. “Mentors” if you would, who have more experience with God than us. That’s part of being humble, like I stated before.

The thing about the journey is that there will always be people ahead of you and people behind you. We are all in it together. We need each other. 

Distractions keep us from finding God or growing closer to him.

Finding morels can be nearly impossible if you are not focused. It can even be a “good” or “okay” distraction. But nonetheless it’s still keeps our eyes off God.

When my kids are whining and having to stop and go potty; then I think “wait, I know I packed hand sanitizer in this back pack somewhere, oh there it is.” They find their treasured rocks and sticks. They pick weeds and proudly present them to me, So sweet, really. Nonetheless all these things are distracting me! They are keeping my eyes from finding these forest delicacies! 

The next thing I felt him say was “They’re impatient”.

A relationship with God doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time to build trust. We need determination and a desperation for God. We need a strong hunger for him. We need him all the time. Not just when we are hurting or at a dead end. That’s selfish of us. We should desire Him when life is good and peachy too.

I felt like giving up trying to find morels after 2.5 hours of trampling through the woods. My thought was what if my next step is when I find a hill side full of them? Even though I would have been content finding just a single ONE!

I wish I could tell you I found a mushroom hotspot that was gorging with these sponge bodied vegetables. Oh! That would have been quite the ending. I could have made up “fairy tale” happy ending, but I’m all about being real. The truth is I am still on a quest to find my morel. I haven’t been able to spot them the last few years.

It doesn’t help when my cousin sends me a pictures of her 2 FULL bags of her prized mushrooms, she found them in half the time I searched.

I guess it goes to show we are all unique in the process. We reach milestones at a different rates. We can easily compare to each other, but that’s harmful. Just simply keep striving after Jesus. For you will indeed find him! He will reveal himself to you. I know it.

What childhood traditions did you keep to share with your family? How did your children or spouse respond to the idea or adventure? What is God working on in you?

I’d love to hear from you in the comments below. Thanks for reading!

4 thoughts on “Let’s Go Morel Hunting

  1. Kristin C says:

    Yes! We are gatherers. We love to search and collect whatever we are passionate about. As handmaidens of the Lord, It has been impressed upon me…our need to be like Mary. Following close to Jesus, seeing and hearing what He sees and hears. Learning His Heart. Reading and memorizing and speaking His Word. Just as you learned from your family “morel hunters” …we learn by example of those gone before us, how to truly seek after the Lord. (Yes, Tonya, thinking of your dear and beloved mama) She KNEW where to find Jesus! I want to be more like Jesus! Lord, help me find you! I want to seek you, Lord, with my whole heart! Beautiful days searching for Jesus, Tonya! We love you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are always so kind Kristin. Thank you. You ALWAYS find a way to mention my mom and I love it.
      I am reminded to be like Mary while sweeping my kitchen. To have that continual spirit of worship. And Oh to have the mind of Christ. You’ve blessed me.
      Thanks for sharing. Love you!


  2. Mark Dahlke says:

    Really enjoyed this. I am a “lay” minister, if you will, and give a sermon about once a month in our church. I am not ordained, nor claim to be learned in Scripture, but I enjoy diving into the word of God and trying to make it presentable to the congregation. Thank you for a wonderful analogy to morel hunting-your connections made me jealous (as in, I wish I would have thought of that!). Good luck with the morel searching . . . expand your territory. Look on DNR website for “open MFL” land–private land that is open to public due to owner getting tax breaks. Waukesha Cty., etc. Peace, Mark Dahlke

    Liked by 1 person

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