Tag: grow

Are you praying Apples or Potatoes?

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I’ve been praying a LOT lately – maybe you have too.  So many things happening in my life, my family, with Covid-19, in our nation, the world!

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And I trust and thank God that He hears all of my prayers, and your prayers too. Whether we are singing out in praise, calling out thanksgiving, whispering out our needs, or crying out in brokenness, I know that God hears and answers every time.

I love it when I can see God’s hand at work in the relationship or situation I’m praying about.  It’s so encouraging! It’s like watching an apple tree:  you can see the leaves appear, then the buds come, the blossoms open and then fall off, and you can see the tiny fruit form.  The apple grows and matures on the tree right before your eyes.

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An apple farmer can see his harvest before he ever starts collecting it.

Some prayers are like that. You get to see how God is working and preparing the answer for you right before your eyes. You can see change in the person or the situation, or in yourself.  It is so rewarding.

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Other prayers are like potatoes. We keep praying and praying for a person, relationship, or situation but see no change, no growth, no hint of an answer on the way. The potato plant is like that: the leafy vine can be seen.

But the fruit or tuber, the part we eat, is formed underground. The vine remains unchanged above the ground as we water and fertilize. All the while the fruit, the tubers are developing and maturing under the ground where we can’t see.

digging-for-potatoes-1319302-640x480It is only by faith that a potato farmer begins the harvest, trusting there is a crop there under the ground!

Potato prayers are harder because you feel like nothing is happening in the situation you’re praying about.  When the truth is God is surely at work answering your prayer, just not in ways visible to the human eye.

Both kinds of prayers yield an amazing and fulfilling harvest. Both have the same promise of an answer from God. And both will build our faith.  If you are praying an Apple Prayer, thank God that He is allowing you to see His hand at work in the person or situation. Be encouraged.

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If you have been praying a Potato Prayer, thank God for being at work beneath the surface.  And be encouraged!

Trust in God and in His timing and purpose. We are the workers but the harvest belongs to the Lord!

people-2604834_640And especially for those Potato Prayers, Father, help us wait and not fall into discouragement, self-pity or giving up.  Keep our faith strong and our trust in You solid; so that at the end of the waiting, we will sing of the wonders of the Lord!  Amen

“Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” Psalm 27:14

I LOVE gardening!

 

 

I LOVE gardening!

I love being able to work in an area and look back and see a difference in where I’ve been.

It makes me feel like I’ve accomplished something. Like I’ve made a difference.

I think it goes back to one of my earliest memories of my grandmother. This was back in the day before sprinkler systems. Heck – maybe even before sprinklers!

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When I was just able to walk, we would spend time every evening watering her flowerbeds. She would let me hold the hose and direct the water. I dragged the hose from one bed to another and watched the brown dirt around the flowers turn a deep dark black with the moisture, then make little rivulets from one plant to the next.

I even liked it when the water splashed on the concrete sidewalk, making a darkened trail where one could follow my movements from one place to another. Or when we walked through it and left visible footprints.

 

So many things I do on a daily basis are not like that at all. They don’t give me the satisfaction of literally seeing where I’ve been and how I’ve impacted my environment.

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For example, the laundry is never ending. Even if I wash every single item of clothing I own, at the end of the day, when I take off what I’m wearing, there’s laundry in the basket again.

 

I plan menus, shop for food, prepare and cook meals and present them to my family. Even if I’ve outdone myself with healthy, nutritious, great–tasting dinners, everyone’s hungry in a few hours and the pressure is on again.

money-256312_640Doing my taxes feels somewhat like an accomplishment. After sifting through bills, receipts, calendars and notes and placing the carefully calculated numbers in their appropriate spaces, I can sign the form and mail it in. But even while hopefully awaiting the refund check, I am organizing and sorting bills and receipts for the next year’s return.

Parenting has both worrisome and rewarding moments, but the job is truly never done. And you can’t even be the one to take credit when something goes right. There are so many influences on children, it’s hard to know all that might have had an impact on them.

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But when I have spent a day or even just an hour in the yard, I can wipe my brow and look back on a row that has been cleared of weeds and know that I had an impact.

Or stand tall, hands on my hips and see a newly planted bed of flowers and know that my effort has brought beauty to a previously barren place.

I LOVE gardening!

 

The Master Gardener

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I was looking at some packets of seeds today, preparing to start them growing inside to transplant into my garden when the danger of frost has passed. The instructions said some do best in full sun, some in partial and some only thrive in shade.

Also, some germinate in 6-10 days while some take 20-30 days before peeking their tiny green shoots above ground. Some can be planted a half inch apart, and some need more room to grow.

It started me thinking how caring for children is like taking care of plants. They are not all alike. In order for them to grow, we have to take care to recognize what the best conditions are for each of them to thrive.

Instructionsplant            1 – they grow at different rates. So what a 3 year-old is doing in one family may be totally different from what another 3 year-old is capable of. And they are both normal.

2 – they need room to grow. Some are very social and can play closely with other children. Others do best with parallel play, rather than so much interacting. They seem to need their space.

3 – amount of sunlight. Some wake up raring to go and can’t wait to get outside and run all day. Others need a more sheltered, protected, slower pace to their day.

The challenge is children don’t come in convenient packets, with labels that help you get all the conditions just right. It’s a matter of getting to know your child, and noting what circumstances and people seem to help them grow, and those that don’t. You can’t make a sunflower grow tall in the dark – or a begonia do well in bright sunlight. So parenting skills need to be developed and refined for each child.

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And what about that picture on the front of the packet that shows what the fully-grown flowers are supposed to look like? Wouldn’t that be nice to have for each of our children? If we knew what they would grow up to be like, we would have an easier time of preparing them along the way.

Our saving grace is that God knows. He has a special plan for each child, a plan to prosper them and not to harm them (Jeremiah 29:11). He loves them even more than we love them. And to provide them with a hope and a future, God has given them the very parents He wants them to have. When we don’t have the wisdom to parent them, He is willing to share His wisdom with us.

So be encouraged that if your child doesn’t look like another child, that’s okay. If they don’t grow at the same rate as another child, or have the same skills or interests, that’s okay too. Just like flowers are different, children are different. They’re supposed to be. Imagine if all the gardens only had one kind of blossom!

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So we water and weed, fertilize and feed, provide shade and sunlight as best we can. But not being sure of what we’ve planted can be hard. Yet, there is hope. Know that even when you’re at your wit’s end, God will help you and give you what you need to parent your child.

Ask Him now. He is the Master Gardener.

 

Spring

Today is my first day of yard work. What a mess! Spring brings new life, and life is messy!

It must be Spring. The calendar says it. The occasional warm day bears it out.

Winter lays down a coat of snow and keeps things covered up until Spring’s warmth melts the frostiness into a nourishing drink of water that encourages and promotes new growth.

crocus-2072985_640When new shoots and tiny blossoms poke their heads up, we begin to see crocus, grape hyacinth and the green leaves of iris, tulips and daffodils. A gentle raking removes the dead tree leaves that have blown into the yard throughout the winter and reveals even more new growth underneath. But for the new growth to continue, the old, dead brown parts from each plant must be removed. During winter, they cover the plants to protect from extremes in temperature and frozen snow.

But if left now, they would block the needed moisture and sunlight. So, one at a time, they must be selected and gently but firmly pulled from the emerging plants to make room for healthy new growth. Once sunlight and water have access, we need to provide fertilizer to feed the newly reborn plants, since over time, the ground’s nutrients are depleted and need to be restored.

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Some of the newly exposed growth is weeds. They have sprung up in the dark and taken root, looking just as green and eager to grow as the flowers. But they too, must be removed, as they compete for moisture, sunlight and space and would crowd out the desired plants.

 

Spring brings work with its new life. And it’s time we roll up our sleeves and get to work in our spiritual lives as well!

In the winter, we often pull back, almost hibernate. With the cold weather, and fewer hours of sunlight, we take our activities indoors. Much of what we do is hidden. We layer activities like we layer our clothes, so people don’t see what’s underneath our busyness. Even though we are growing in our faith, in our relationship with God, it may not be evident. Are we growing? Are we making and taking time to study God’s Word, listen to His voice of direction?                          crocus-590738_640

In Spring we need to uncover and let in the sun, water and nutrients that help us grow again. Has a weed sprung up in a mistaken belief that we don’t need to study God’s Word? Has the lie entangled our roots that we don’t need a small group of Christians to fellowship with – made us think that we can sustain obedience to God and spiritual growth on our own? Has a past hurt or unmet need become a dead leaf that needs to be gently but firmly pulled loose? Have we wrapped ourselves in layers of busyness and old excuses for not serving with our time as well as our pocketbook? These ‘dead leaves’ and ‘weeds’ will kill our growth. They block the sunlight and absorb the moisture we need to have life. They insulate us from the revitalizing ‘fertilizer’ we need to live, and our faith can slowly die, rotting away in our dark, suffocating, isolated, spot.

Life takes work. When we strip away the dead leaves, what will be left? Our faith. Our trust in God. Our saving knowledge that He loves us, has a plan for us and desires to know us better. We need to feed that faith. For it to grow, we need to ‘renew our minds’ and so be transformed into a blossoming, thriving Christian. We renew our minds by reading God’s Word, speaking and listening to Him in prayer, fellowshipping with other believers, thinking on things that are godly. We grow by stretching our faith by giving our money, our talents, and our time in service to our church body and to those outside the body who are physically and spiritually in need.

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God shows us so much through His creation. Let’s be sure we are gleaning all He has to say in every season of life.

To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven. Ecclesiastes 3:1 KJV