It has been raining nonstop here and while the trees and grass are more lush than any Spring in recent memory, I fear my fledgling little garden has been washed away. It really shouldn't come as much of a surprise. I have never been gifted as either a chef or a gardener. I am simply not patient enough to do things properly to insure a strong outcome.
In the kitchen, I cut corners to speed up the culinary process. I put food in the oven before it is completely preheated. I pop things in the refrigerator to speed up cooling. I turn up the heat beyond recommended levels to shorten cooking time. I don't want to be bothered with reading a recipe book thoroughly or taking a class. I 'wing it' and the results are usually fine--but rarely stellar.
Similarly, when I decide to plant something it is always on a whim. Such is the case with my most recent pursuit. A quick errand to my local home improvement store led me to the nursery. Seed packets were 50% off, so I snagged a handful. Why not?
When we got home we had 30 minutes before church, so I decided to plant a garden. In my flats and colored jeans I hastily prepared soil along a fence line in our backyard. Seeds were scattered somewhat haphazardly by me and a trio of 8 year old helpers, before being quickly recovered in dirt and a little topsoil I had left from the last project. Watering cans were used to douse our 8ft x 2ft line of seeds. We hoped for the best and moved on to the next project.
In the 10-12 days since the planting, I have checked occasionally. The resilient skyscraper sunflowers are off to a great start. Bean seeds were planted on an incline (and clearly not deeply enough). All the runoff from the recent rain has unearthed them and left them exposed. The cucumbers have yet to sprout so their fate remains a mystery.
As I have thought about my slacker gardening approach, I've pondered the correlation to other things in life and their consequences. When impulses and desires are followed on a whim with little thought as we rush from thing to thing trying to cram life in along the way, the fruit (or lack thereof) often reflects it.
When soil is not tended and shortcuts are abundant, seeds don't take, roots don't grow deep and fruit does not appear. This is not the hallmark many would want to claim for their lives. Yet, we do this...with our finances, relationships, health, parenting...
I am reminded of an old Andy Stanley quote, "Direction, not intention, determines your destination."
It is not what I hope or plan that determines the outcome, it is what I do (or don't) do. Intentionality has become my mantra. I have only a decade left with minors living in my nest. Yet, I must admit I cannot force these children to grow and mature any more than I can the seeds out in my backyard.
When I was a sleep deprived mother of little ones I would hear older Mamas speak of 'a different kind of tired' as children age. They were getting 8 hours sleep and had kids in school all day...what could they mean by that?!? As we approach 9th birthdays I am starting to get it.
What keeps me up at night now is not crying infants, but gnawing concerns about character. Lord, what do I do with this precious one's propensity to blame others? That dear one's struggle with frustration and defeat? The impatience and approval seeking of another?
When I forget they are HIS, the pressure to guide these hearts and tend these souls wears on me...But when I rely on God, He is faithful to show where to water, what to fertilize and even where to weed. In the case of my babes, I don't even fully know what seeds were in each of their packets to begin with--but their creator does. As they grow they offer clues and delightful surprises.
Lord, I dare not take shortcuts with little souls. May I never see my children as simply a project. Strengthen me to tend young hearts with far more commitment than my impulsive gardens.
I commit to pray and their Creator is faithful to bring sunshine and rain as I (somewhat impatiently) watch expectantly for things to bloom.