Growing up my dad always had a garden. I had no interest in vegetables in those days but, since, have grown a deep appreciation. I have never been good at keeping plants alive. Give me a houseplant and within months it will have drowned or died of dehydration. But my father and brother have inspired me!
Last Fall I spent 6 weeks in California on my family’s property. My dad was recovering from surgery and my husband was working in Europe so I went to enjoy the company and support of family as well as assist, in anyway I could, with my dad.
He has a large garden he plants each season.
This past year my brother planted his own garden so that he wouldn’t have to walk so far from the kitchen (he lives next door to my dad) to get fresh picks. While there I was spoiled with organic tomatoes. I couldn’t believe how red they were and how much flavor they had.
Once home, eating the cardboard-tasting store bought tomatoes, I dreamed of planting my own garden. I got excited about picking and eating from a plant outside my kitchen door. I couldn’t wait for warm Spring weather. As soon as plants were for sale in the stores I planted these lovelies.
After a few short weeks I had to go back to the nursery to get something and saw a hanging basket of tomatoes. I was amazed how many little yellow blossoms it had. In fact, it already had small fruit growing! I thought my plants were doing great! I was so proud of my ONE yellow blossom. I couldn’t help but wonder what I was doing wrong. How could this basket have so many flowers and be the same age as my little plant?!
The woman who tends the plants at the nursery was walking by and I asked her. She said, “Greenhouse,” and pointed up with a smile, “Tomatoes don’t like the cold.” The warmth and protection of the greenhouse, along with the care of the gardner, allowed the tomato plant to flourish, full of fruitful growth. Sometimes we take something like growing a plant, that grows naturally, and think, “It’s easy – it just grows. That’s what it’s designed to do.” And yet things don’t happen quite as we think they should.
As another one of God’s creations, you might think that we just grow up into what we are to become – naturally, with little attention or guidance. Like the tomatoes, how well we grow and how fruitful we are is determined by many factors. But, one thing is for sure, growing up and being fruitful doesn’t “just happen.”
…like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.” Jeremiah 17:8
My hope is to be like that tree. I want to create a greenhouse for my spirit, providing an environment that causes me to flourish in all I am designed to be and do. I know it won’t just happen. Like my paint bucket garden, I must protect and tend to it, making sure it gets all it needs. I’m hoping for a great harvest!
Jesus often taught his followers about the Kingdom of Heaven using the example of agriculture. Like in Matthew 13:24. As I watch my plants grow I am constantly reminded of His truths. I look forward to sharing them as I continue to tend my little garden and apply its lessons to my life.
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