This summer, I wanted to try growing some herbs on my back deck. I did this once when I lived in Indiana. It was easy; basil, cilantro, mint, and one tomato plant. I started too late in the game this year. It seems like everyone wants to grow a garden. I couldn't find plants anywhere, so I resorted to seeds. This was going to be quite the challenge, but I was up for it. My hubby and I ventured out and got all the supplies: pots, soil, and seeds. We did our sowing and placed the containers in the perfect spot on the deck. I woke up the first morning and said, "how are my babies doing"? Mark looked at me like I had four heads and said, "what"? "My babies, my seedlings." Once those words came out of my mouth, I immediately started thinking about the process of sowing and reaping, gardening, growth, and fruit. My eyes and ears were in tune with what God was trying to teach me.
I am reading Beth Moore's new book, Chasing the Vines. I just started, and in the first chapter, it states, "In Genesis 2:8, The Lord God planted a garden". Stop. "He could have commanded all trees, veggies, and herbs into existence, but instead, He planted." Why? "Because God likes watching things grow." I love that! Oddly, I get it. I woke up the next day from my planting and said, "how are my babies doing"? I have said it every day since. I go out and check on them. I oooh and ahh. I jumped for joy when I saw the first sprout. I love watching my herbs grow.
It is true with us. God likes watching us grow. He is the Master Gardener. I think He jumps for joy when we get it. Can I submit to my Gardener? Can I allow Him to do what He needs to do so I can bear much fruit?
I started looking at my life as a garden. Seeds are being sown daily. I have seeds from the past and seeds from today. Some seeds are being scattered by others who walk past my garden and other seeds I am choosing to sow.
Sowing seed means that you start planting seeds in a garden, rather than buying small plants. It's the growing process. I talked to a friend this weekend, and she said, "We are always growing, but in what way"?
I think good seeds can be things like serving, love, faith, a smile, kindness, forgiveness, encouragement. Bad seeds can be things like anger, unforgiveness, resentment, unresolved hurt, and pain. Both seeds will grow depending on how I cultivate that soil.
My garden has two sides, and sometimes the fruit intertwines together. I have some seeds from my past that started to grow into fruit I was not proud of. I had to do some gardening to dig deep into that soil of hurt, pain, and dysfunction. I had to find that root and dig it up before it overtook the entire garden like a rouge weed. I think there are some roots that I left behind that I still need to dig up. Then there is the other side of the garden. The seeds that have grown into beautiful fruit. The fruit of my marriage, ministry, my daughter, and friendships, to name a few.
I have given my life over to the Master Gardener. Hosea 10:12 says, "Sow for yourselves righteousness; reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground, for it is time to seek the Lord." In this verse, I hear that I need to do the right thing, and mercy will follow. But how? By breaking up the hardness of heart (fallow/uncultivated ground) and seek the Lord. The only way I am going to reap any harvest of good fruit is by spending intimate time with Jesus. He is the one who softens and cultivates the soil of my heart.
John 15 is my favorite! Verse 1 states that God is the Gardener. He cuts off every branch that doesn't produce fruit, and He prunes branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more. Jesus says we cannot be fruitful apart from Him. I must remain in Him. Apart from Him, I can do nothing. He is the Living Water in my garden, kind of like a sprinkler. When I am disconnected from Jesus, the Vine, I will produce nothing. The bible says that "anyone who parts from Him is thrown away like a useless branch and withers." Ouch!
I can give God all my seeds, and as my Gardener, let Him do the gardening. I can give him the seed of my pain. About 25 years ago, I gave Him the seed from when my family disowned me. It was so hard to turn this seed over to Him. But He took it and planted it deep into the fertile soil of His Son. This was when I grabbed onto the Vine and never let go. The seed broke in the darkness of the dirt. My tears often watered it. It took a long time, but that little seed of pain grew into a beautiful fruit, my testimony. The fruit of my story has allowed me to serve others who are walking through similar pain.
Psalm 126:5-6 states, "Those who plant in tears will harvest with shouts of joy. They weep as they go to plant their seed, but they sing as they return with the harvest." My life's garden is producing fruit; it is growing day by day. The question is, is it good fruit? Fruit for others to enjoy and feast on? Or is it fruit that is rotten and spoiled? Like my friend said, "we are growing, but in what way"? My fruit is my legacy. I want fruit that will outlast me! My words, my character, my service. I want it all to be the fruit of Jesus. I know God enjoys watching me grow more and more into the image of His Son, and He is proud of me. I know since He is the Master Gardener of my life, He will not let anything harm me or come against me. When I am struggling, I know without a doubt He is tending. He never takes His eyes off the garden of my life.
I have been enjoying some fruit from my little deck garden. The mint in my tea makes my taste buds smile. My pasta sauce is extra special with a sprig of basil. My "babies" make me proud.
I challenge you to look at the garden of your life. Look at the past and give God, the Master Gardener, one seed that He can plant into the fertile soil of Jesus and watch it grow into a luscious fruit for others to enjoy. It will take some time, and it will likely need your tears to water the seedling, but I have to say it is worth it. Give all your seeds to the Gardener!
Remember this, a farmer who plants only a few seeds will get a small crop. But the one who plants generously will get a generous crop. You must each make up your own mind as to how much you should give! 2 Corinthians 9:6-7 Think about that!