It is January. The world is white and bare and cold.
It has been very cold. There is very little green in the winter world. The Fraser firs offer their color and a diminutive bit of lavender I put under glass blinks a frosty muddled hue. I look at pictures of the garden last year and it is hard to believe the transformation. I think about how I spent hours and hours everyday outside and now I drag myself out on the sunniest days for 15 minutes as I walk/jog the 2/3rd of a mile to the mailbox and back.
For the first time this year I pulled out my garden handbook. Storey’s Complete Guide to Country Living became a member of our collection when the library graciously allowed us to NOT return the book after a certain young someone “read” the book with salad dressing fingers. While that is not my favorite way of acquiring books, I am glad we have it.
As I read I saw the pictures of flowers and herbs and breezed by the vegetables.
I imagined starting seeds and growing things and watching my garden grow.
There is an awful lot of hope in a seed. A seed is a risky thing. It guarantees so little. It may grow. It may grow a little and die. It may grow and grow and grow. You may do everything right and tend carefully and blight may destroy the plant in its prime.
You may do nothing and a seed plants itself and takes over a space you did not intend for it to have. To plant a seed is to have faith.
“Faith is the substance of all things hoped for the evidence of things unseen.” Hebrews 11:1
Faith is an action. Faith takes what we hope for and plants it in the ground. Faith is undaunted by the fact that not every seed grows. It would be bad practice to stop sowing seed simply because not every seed grows. There is wisdom and timing in planting to be sure but we still SOW.
A Season of Rest
This year we are sowing seed a little differently. This year we are growing a new member of our family. The new member should arrive the beginning of July and keep us busy for at least a couple months :). This year we are changing the way we garden. This year we are resting. We’re planting sunflowers and a cover crop and maybe a few flowers for fun. We’re going to concentrate on building the fence, enriching the garden beds, and mulching the paths. Maybe we’ll plant the larger perennial plants this fall. I dream of raspberries and blackberries and maybe even put in that blueberry patch (I like to dream).
The garden will still bloom and need some tending but mostly what will happen is the garden and I will rest. This year our growth will be largely unseen. Although the harvest will be very small this year, I know in time, this time of of “redirected work” (rest) will bear beautiful fruit.
If we hope for what we do not see we eagerly wait for it with perseverance… Romans 8:24a
There is so much in life that threatens to steal our hope. There is so much that would discourage, distract and demand that we surrender hope. Every time we laugh in the face of those things we choose to grow young instead of old. The Kingdom of Heaven is for children. Children are full of wonder. Children believe they can plant rocks and their garden will grow. Children know that stones can be turned to bread- they don’t need to see it to believe it. They know it. Children believe the impossible and are not shaken when their seed does not grow. They plant again. Every day they plant in the same mud and they see– they see their garden bloom. They taste the fruit. Some call it imagination.
I call it faith.
Hope is not an outcome. Hope is a person. Hope cannot die. Hope does not run out. Outcomes are fickle. If we look at outcomes we lose Faith.
We lose Hope.
Whatever your season, whatever the hope you are carrying inside- plant it. When it looks like it may die, plant again. Do not lose faith because a seed has died. The only thing that is certain is that you will reap if you do not lose heart.
Thank you for January. Thank you for winter. Thank you for a season of faith. Thank you for the unseen treasures that You have hidden. Thank you, for inviting me to search out the mystery of You. Thank you for harvest. Thank you for fruit. Thank you that things grow. Thank you for loving children and inviting them to enter your place.