Thursday, September 4, 2008

Gardening ~ Part 1

This summer has not been an ideal year in our area for gardening. We have had a shortage of sun and an excess of rain. It has been quite discouraging for this novice gardener.

With my father-in-law’s great help, I planted quite a variety this year. I have spent hours upon hours pulling weeds, as my garden patches are new and the ground is used to growing grasses and weeds—proficiently I may add! I have spent quite a deal of time searching the internet for planting/growing tips and fertilizers for each plant. I have spent an abundance of hubby’s hard earned dollars on miracle grow, slug bait, deer netting, plants themselves, replacement plants for the ones that the deer ate, pots, dirt, gloves and I can’t even remember what else right now. All that to say, I sowed much in time, money and effort to my garden, but the reaping has been quite sparse.

This is a picture of one of my cherry tomato plants this morning. Sad...sad...sad...!

I sent Jacob out to see what he could find to add to our days menu. To be quite honest, I don’t even like going out to the garden now. It frustrates me! He came back with one spindly little cucumber and a zucchini the same size. Now if you know much of gardening, you know that zucchini’s are supposed to take the place over and overnight quadruple in size so that one alone can put out enough for 12 loaves of bread! Not so this year with my garden.

For my garden, it seemed I constantly battled the lack of sun, truly obnoxious weeds, and the appetites of the deer and slugs. All of those factors, no matter my own attention to the plants, did little to alter the finished outcome of our horticulture experience for the year.

During some seasons on this journey, we struggle in the midst of the elements surrounding us. Perhaps these bring upon our world a feeling of fatigue or fear, anger or apathy, depression or dependence, hurt or helplessness, worry or want. Life’s circumstances come upon us and try as we like, we don’t always respond to them the way we wish that we would. We want to have hope in a situation that seems to be hopeless. We want to have faith in place of the fear we may be experiencing. Perhaps we are not worried about anything in particular at all, until outside influences change and we find our heart slips back into that place it habitually knows to go and once again we find ourselves wrapped up in worrisome thoughts.

I wonder today if my plants grow weary of the rain. They were created to grow. The rain definitely helps in that. Rainwater is far more superior for them than anything that I could give out of my faucet. So if their lack of growth isn’t because of the rain....that leaves the sun.

My plants would actually be thriving this year if only the sun was a much greater aspect of the growing season than it has been. My plants are left wanting not because of being watered, but because they are not receiving the sunlight that they need.

So it goes with me.

When the rains come, how I face them is dependant upon whether or not I am facing the Son...the Light of my spirit. His Words, His Light, His Life, His Sufficiency is all that I need to thrive during the downpours. I do not seep into despair because of the abundance of rain (or difficulties) but because of a lack of sunlight (or God).

The best way to care for a garden plot during the off season is to get the rototiller out to break up the ground in the fall and in the spring. Spread fertilizer, compost, and/or manure over it all to feed the ground nutrients. If the weed seeds go deep, controlling them during this time is essential so that their hold in the ground doesn’t take over and repopulate the area that you’ve been working to keep weed free.

Not too different from our own lives is it? In fact, I am chuckling right now as I write this at the awesomeness of God and how He so indelibly interchanges our lives with His creation around us.

Our hearts need to be broken up just like the ground does. We need the growing nutrients of the word of God. We must stay on top of any developing weeds of sin in our lives. And we have to keep the nasty critters out!

We cannot grow without the rain.

Some areas of the country are having poor harvests just for that reason—not enough rain. The trees, flowers and grass of this area where I live wouldn’t be so beautiful—we wouldn’t be called the “Evergreen State”—without the rain. It is because of the rain that we have the beauty, the bountiful crop. But we also cannot grow without the sun. We need both.

My garden is probably pretty much done for this year. The next 2 weeks call for cool days in the 60’s and several accompanied by sprinkles. I wish I could change those elements. I would so much like to get more out of the ground than I have for my investment over this summer. But I have no control over the sun.

In my own heart and in my own world, I do! I may not be able to control the amount of rain that my life sees, but I can control the amount of Sun that I give it. That Light makes all the difference! Whether I grow and thrive or stagnate, wither and die is dependant upon this Light.

If, as a gardener, I expect the most out of my patch of ground I must attend to it and let the rain and sun come and do what they do knowing that I have done all that I can for a rich harvest.

As a follower of Jesus Christ I can trust in the same!

I must attend to the garden of my soul and trust that whatever rain God sends will only cause me to grow and thrive because of the righteousness that has been cultivating in my life. I may not be in control of all of the elements, but I am of the most important—the time I spend with the Son!

It's time for me to go do just that! Spend time with the Son.

But please come back tomorrow. There is another plant that I want to show you--a happier plant! :)