Sowing Seeds

Our church took part in the nationwide 21-day Awakening Fast this January.  We broke the fast on Sunday, and most of us are happily reacquainting ourselves with the pleasures that we put on the altar for a time.  Meat.  Solid food.  Facebook.  Chocolate.  Movies.  Sweet nothings by the mouthful.

I’m relieved to have finished out the 21 days, but find myself reluctanct to leave this place at the altar.  This place where I couldn’t run to the candy bowl for comfort, so I opened my arms to my Savior.  This place where my time was better focused because I wasn’t checking Facebook 20+ times a day.  You all are  fascinating, you know.  This place where the Lord lit a fire in me to study Spanish so that I will be able to connect on a heart level with the beautiful people at the Home of Life in Costa Rica this summer.  Where I began to sort through our abundance of things and release them.

The journey that stretches before us is a marathon rather than a sprint.  My quality time each day with Rosetta Stone and StudySpanish.com is chipping away at the language barrier before me.  The skis we sold on Craigslist, the ski boots we still have posted, and the craft room piled with outgrown toys waiting to be posted are drops in the bucket of bailing out our home.  And the Lord whispers in my heart that this is planting time.  The Spring, if you will, of the new direction the Lord is taking us.  Each verb that I learn to conjugate, each one-time treasure released to a new home, each prayer lifted up to fill the bowls in the throne room is a seed sown into the field of His future for our family.

So I linger at this altar of 3 weeks that advanced His purposes in my heart, praying over what to let back into my days and with what boundaries.  Because planting time has only begun, and I don’t want to short the harvest He has for our lives one measure by underestimating the value of each seed sown.

Seeds

I spent an hour in the Burpee Seed aisle at Menards today. For me, it was a little slice of heaven. For my daughter, it was just short of purgatory.

My love for this time of year started early in my life. Each March my dad set up a table and lights in the basement and planted flower seeds. Marigolds, impatiens, and zinnias are what I remember the most, and are still what he supplies to all our local extended family. Once I took markers and drew flowers on the rough wood 1x2s that edged the table. My childish script can still be seen in his workshop “Planting, Dad and Me.” This was high entertainment. The fresh smell of the dirt. The sound of it sprinkling onto newspaper laid out to catch overflow from the planters. Dirty hands crunching up last year’s marigold blossom heads into individual seeds. Time with my papa.

Early on in our marriage, Matt got me a set of two grow lights, a board, and frames to make a platform. It only holds about four flats of plants, but so much life fits in there. It also makes a convenient salad bar for our cat, so we set up the Spring Preview in a small storage closet in the basement. There’s just enough room for a folding chair in there, so sometimes I escape from the busyness around the house to go sit and look at the flowers and vegetables growing. To breathe in the quiet and the vibrant shades of green.

In some ways it’s the best part of the growing season. My heart is full of perfect dreams as I plant seeds and plan. In my head, everything grows well. No bugs, disease, hail storms, or plant cussedness disturb my contentedness. Everything blooms beautifully and produces deliciously.

In reality, this oasis of perfection cannot last long. The plants themselves long to spread their roots in the earth and stretch out their branches in space and sunshine. They will not fully flower or bear fruit on my little table in my basement. I can give them an excellent start on their lives, but I cannot fulfill what they were made to be within the confines of my closet.

So too it is with my children. I plant in them the seeds of the fruit of the Spirit. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control (Galatians 5:22, 23a). I teach them to know the Lord and to trust Him with their lives. I water and care for them, loving (or trying to remember to sit down amidst my busyness, and love) this time of perfect dreams and the vibrant shades of their childhood. Because one day will come when our little home will be too small for the big stuff God put in their hearts.