Thursday, June 20, 2013

Mary, Mary, quite contrary, How Does Your Garden Grow?

This spring, some good friends offered the Paschalls and us a portion of their yard to plant a garden.  We, of course, took them up on it.  The week before Mother's Day we tilled the soil a bit and worked it into rows and mounds ready for planting.  Then we shopped for seeds and planned it all out, thinking carefully about which plants could be planted near each other without cross contaminating (onion-cantaloupes don't taste very good. Ick!) and also planning our strategy for dealing with the precious deer that inevitably show up and help themselves to our tender vegetables. 

Then, on a beautiful Mother's Day afternoon, we went to plant our seeds. 

Gardening is such a project of faith.  And, even as I read the back of those seed packets, learning how far apart to space them and how long I can expect to wait before I see any fruit, I find myself doubting it all.  When I look at tiny carrot seeds, how in the world can I expect them to become something big enough to eat? How can those tiny seeds in the tomato packet, the ones I see when I cut into a juicy tomato, come alive and produce not just one tomato, but a whole plant full of juicy tomatoes?  It seems impossible.  At the very least, it seems improbable.   And, once they're in the ground and covered up, the garden looks the same as before.  I soak them with water, but it seems hard to believe that anything will come of them...except that I've seen it before.  I know what can happen with time and a little TLC.

Two years ago, we started YoungLives in Canon City.  YoungLives is Young Life's ministry to teen moms.  We knew there was a need for something like this in Canon City, but we had no idea how quickly it would grow.  And now, here we sit, with almost 20 girls coming to club every month, and with 9 girls and 10 babies signed up to go to camp in 3 weeks.  We've been planting seeds all year. We know that our job is to work the soil and to water and to weed out the lies. We know we need to be faithful.  And even as we begin to see some tiny tender buds break through the surface, we know also that this is a project of faith. But it's fueled by the knowledge of what we have seen the Lord do time and time again. He grows the seed in his own time.  Rooting it in love.  Producing a harvest of joy.

And along the way, he increases our faith.  He gives us joy in the work and he uses this to work the soil of our lives and to water and to weed out the lies. Our leaves become healthier and stronger.  Our fruit becomes sweeter and ready to burst with more seed. Our roots sink deeper and become more firmly fixed on Him.  And because he is always faithful, we grow a little more.

"Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up."  Galatians 6:9

"I planted the seed.  Apollos watered it, but God made it grow.  So, neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow.  The man who plants and the man who waters have one purpose, and each will be rewarded according to his own labor.  For we are God's fellow workers; you are God's field, God's building."

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