Monday, June 17, 2013

Lessons In The Garden

Several months ago, I decided to plant my first garden. I began researching the ins and outs of gardening. For example, I needed to figure out which type of garden bed I wanted, what vegetables I wanted to plant, and the various types of soils that could be used.  After a week of processing all of that information, I finally had a plan that I was content with. My husband David got the supplies and began building my raised garden bed. It is an 8x4 foot bed and stands around 14 inches tall. He placed it in our backyard near the deck where the vegetables can get just the right amount of sun. When he had everything done, I was one proud wife!

Several hours later, I, along with my two children, prepared the bed by filling it with humus and small holes in which to place the seeds. My 4 year old son Brody wanted to help me with the task of planting the seeds. Dressed in his Spiderman garden gloves, he began placing the zucchini, cucumber, butternut squash, tomato, green bean, and carrot seeds randomly. As he covered the seeds with the humus and topsoil, he immediately began looking for the seeds to start growing. I did the same thing.

The first few days were met with disappointment (mine, not Brody's). I just knew my seeds would show signs of growth within a day or two despite the seed packets telling me otherwise. When the seeds didn't sprout by day 5, I considered tilling the whole garden up and starting over. However, I dug up some patience and sat tight. I continued to water the garden and search it diligently (on my hands and knees) for signs of growth every afternoon. Finally, around day 12, I saw it - a very thin blade of bright green grass., about a 1/2 inch tall and was exactly where I had planted my zucchini. My heart sped up and I ran inside to grab my phone and call my husband. I was ridiculously ecstatic...him - not nearly as much.

It has now been almost two months since Brody first placed those seeds in the garden. Now it is bursting at the seams with enormous green stalks and leaves showing my zucchini is thriving. The cucumbers are beginning to bear fruit evidenced by the yellow flowers blooming on the vines. The butternut squash are overtaking the left side of my garden. The bean stalks are 6-8 inches tall as are the tomato plants. There is an over-abundance in the garden to be sure and while watering it today, it dawned on me how this little garden of mine is so much like my life....and possibly yours.

What if I had reacted out of frustration and tilled up my garden when the seeds didn't appear to be growing?  I would have missed out on all the vegetables that are growing and the joy that this process has given me. Just because I could not SEE what was taking place underneath the soil, doesn't mean things weren't happening.

For 4 years, I was in the winter season while I underwent multiple surgeries and over 30 rounds of chemo. I lived with emotions ranging from hope and profound faith to deep despair and anxiety. It's not easy to move past those intense emotions and do it gracefully. There are days where my bones hurt and I wonder if the cancer is back. There are times I have incredible fatigue while my friends seem to function like the Energizer Bunny. The natural thing for me is to go back to that place of "this sucks...I will NEVER be like I was pre-cancer."  But in those times, I am learning to cut myself some slack and remember that changes occur slowly just as they did in my garden. They may not always visible to the naked eye, but they are happening nonetheless if I will just remain rooted in God and His promises of an abundant life for me.

Remember the "bright green grass blade" sighting I mentioned earlier that caused a genuine elation? In that very moment I didn't care if it was grass or a seed sprout because at least it was something, and this is how I look at situations or opportunities way to frequently. At first, many things will appear to be good, and oftentimes they are. What if, instead of "good," the Lord has something "great" for me if I will just be patient and wait on Him? More than once, I have found that if I step out of "familiar" and into full faith and obedience, that that is where the greater is found. You know the saying "if it ain't broke, don't fix it"? Well, I think it's in our best interest sometimes to fix it and move on to greater things...even if the good isn't broken.

Finally, for my veggies, there is one word that describes their growth - abundance. The dictionary defines abundance this way: an extremely plentiful or over-sufficient quantity or amount, an overflowing fullness.
As I stare at and care for them every day, I look at the plethora of veggies that are growing and I am dumbfounded. I never expected any, and certainly not this many, to grow and thrive. Instantly, I think of how God has promised each of His followers an abundant life. Not just a life, but an extremely plentiful -overflowing with fullness- life.
God's Word also tells us that He is able to do far more that we could ever hope for or imagine. I'm living proof. I pleaded for healing of cancer and have received not only healing of my body, but also a renewed mind and spirit and an incredibly deep love for Jesus. I also asked God many years ago to use me to make a difference in someone's life, and now He is sending me around the world to Ethiopia to share the Gospel and show His love. He is making good on His promise of an abundant life and while it may look a little different than I could have ever dreamed of, it is way better than anything I could have ever thought to ask for.

So today, I am content with the many lessons that my sweet little garden has taught me. And as it continues to grow and evolve and produce vegetables, I pray that I too will grow, change, and that the fruits of the Spirit would be evident in me.

1 comment:

  1. Beautifully written Kelly. I've been thinking much about being called out of familiar into a life of faith. Wow, how God can cultivate, grow, and produce abundance beyond what we can imagine! Praise be to Him!