I’m no farmer.
I’m not even smart enough in the area of growing plants to be called a “gardener.” The most that can be said about me in this arena is that I have bought plants to put in the ground and have only killed some of them. While parenting feels natural and intuitive to me most of the time, gardening feels awkward; I have no instincts about how things are supposed to go. This doesn’t stop me, of course, but it makes for some great “a-ha” moments. Two examples…
This spring, Rob and I planted sweet potatoes. Our friends who really are gardeners told us about how the plants shoot out “tubers” and that sounded cool, (also, we found we quite enjoy saying,”Tubers!”) so we bought a 6-pack of the pretty plants and put them in the ground. Sure enough, the plants started shooting out vines like crazy! My understanding from the words I’d heard was that the vines were going to take hold of the earth at points along their lengths and put down roots, thus enabling the shooting out of tubers. I inspected them from time-to-time and found that, though the vines seemed very healthy, they were not putting down roots anywhere. But they were beautiful with their dark green and purple leaves, so it was all good. Then there was the day the deer ate the vines down to nubs and I lost all hope of tubers.
The vines grew again, though, and we enjoyed their beauty all summer long. A few weeks ago, I thought I’d check for tubers one last time. As I approached the side of the garage where the plants were, a thought crossed my mind…”What if the tubers grow from the base of the plant and not from the vines.” I’m not sure if it was Divine inspiration, or whether common sense had finally taken hold, but it seemed right to call for Rob to join me. We poked around the base of one plant and found a huge, softball-sized sweet potato! We dug some more and eventually found about a dozen that were suitable to eat. Oh, did we laugh when we realized we actually had some tubers! They were there all along, we just didn’t know where to look.
Then there’s the pink muhly grass plant we bought last fall. It was past its peak when we bought it, so we cut it way back and planted it in the ground. I’ve been eyeing it since spring. As the grass grew, I’ve been watching for the pink “fireworks” to shoot up from the base. For months, nothin.’ But a few days ago, I walked past and they were suddenly there! Guess what?! The pink fronds don’t grow out from the base of the plant like I had thought – they emerge from inside the green grass that’s been there all along. The beauty has been trapped inside the grass leaves, all this time – waiting to pop out at just the right time.
Why am I sharing this? The past several months have not been the easiest for me – I’m guessing that maybe they haven’t been the easiest for you, either. (If you’ve been in a season of ease, Hallelujah for that – tuck this away for later!) It’s nothing major, but I’ve been praying and hoping and watching for some relief – know what I mean? And now that it has shown up, just like with my sweet potatoes, I realize that I had let myself grow discouraged simply because I wasn’t looking in the right spot. And just like with the muhly grass, the beauty and relief were there all along – and have appeared just at the right time.
I’ve found that sometimes, uncertainty and discomfort are not signs that something is wrong. They can be signs that something really good is growing – something really good that God knows we’ll need for the next season.
Here are some verses I read this week that have encouraged me in the process of emerging on the “heaven side” of this struggle. If you’re in the middle of a difficult season, I’m praying they will speak to you as well!
Pray dilligently. Stay alert, with eyes wide open in gratitude.
I Thessalonians 1:6
Although great trouble accompanied the Word, you were able to take great joy from the Holy Spirit! Taking the trouble with the joy, the joy with the trouble.
I Thessalonians 2:3-5
God tested us thoroughly to make sure we were qualified to be trusted with this Message. Be assured that when we speak to you we’re not after crowd approval. Since we’ve been put through the battery of tests, you’re guaranteed that both we and the Message are free of error, mixed motives or hidden agendas.
I Thessalonians 3:11-13
May God our Father himself and our Master Jesus clear the road to you!
And may the Master pour on the love so it fills your lives and splashes over on everyone around you, just as it does from us to you.
May you be infused with strength and purity, filled with confidence in the presence of God our Father when our Master Jesus arrives with all his followers.