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Your Tewksbury Today

What's Growing in Your Soil?

Jun 07, 2015 02:21AM ● By Bonnie Lyn Smith

There is truly nothing about me that has a green thumb. I’m really proud of myself if I can keep a few hanging baskets alive two-thirds of the way through the summer. I’m not outdoorsy garden girl by any stretch of the imagination. I take my Vitamin D in a pill and sit outside only when I have to watch my kids in the pool. Summer sunlight does horrible things to my fair skin (trust me, I used to live in the South Pacific!), and pollen makes a beeline for the inside of my nose as soon as I exit my house to walk the dogs.

This is why it made absolutely no sense to me when a few weeks ago I felt a strong prompting to buy some pots, potting soil, and various seeds. I had no idea why I drove to Walmart one day with those items on my list, but I felt compelled to have them, as if someday in the near future, God would fill in the blanks for this assignment.

I went about my usual business for weeks, not doing anything about those pots—wishing I suddenly became Grow-It Jane but knowing I really was Read-and-Drink-Lattes Bonnie. Even my husband and children were puzzled when they saw the potting soil, but they know me well enough by now to just nod and move on with their day.

You would think that I would have learned how much I do not actually know after last year’s sunflower seed episode.

(After I finished rolling my eyes up in my head that my son, Little Man, came home with a sunflower seed to plant on the last day of first grade, we watched that 6-footer grow all summer—trusting it was more than a weed but not really sure for about 9 weeks. Know when it bloomed? First day of second grade. Yeah, it took a lot of trust not to toss that thing from its pot into the woods and assume it was another loss before it actually gave us beauty.)

God’s promises are just that: Ones we can’t see fully until they bloom. They are there, climbing toward heaven as if to give a holy nod to the Big Guy in the Sky until they reveal themselves to us.

Sometimes it feels like we go on blind trust, doesn’t it? 

So when the occupational/integrated therapist told me a few days ago to have my youngest son dig in the soil and work the ground to ease his anxiety and regulate his body, a bell went off in my head. A piece of the complex jigsaw puzzle that is my walk of faith—as well as my journey learning how to help my son—slid in and snapped into place.

I was skeptical how much working with the soil would help, and I certainly procrastinated doing this task for several days, but at 7:30 one evening, daylight was still insistent, and out we went. Work the ground and till the soil we did! We shoveled, scooped, and spread flower, veggie, and basil seeds into the soil, covering them and watering them. 

I watched joy come over my son as he abandoned the shovel to scoop raw dirt with his hands into the pots. His eyes lit up as he filled those up to the brim and chose which seeds to plant where. As he was digging up weeds and clearing the ground for some perennials, I watched in awe as he seemed almost soothed by the process.

All I saw were dirty hands and pants, but he saw promise, tending, caring, and future growth. I’m convinced, for a few minutes, that God let him see something more than just the task at hand.

When we came back in the house, I thought the blessing was over. Hopefully we’d see some evidence in 10-12 days. Mission accomplished.

This is where I’m so shortsighted and think in such small terms.

God had so much more in mind.

I reminded my gardening child that he had a persuasive essay to write. I expected that he would be resistant, have a hard time focusing, shut down, and/or feel anxious. It was a hard time of day for him to complete an assignment.

You see, I expected the ordinary and forgot my God is into delighting us with the extraordinary.

When I had built up enough courage to approach the homework assignment, I discovered that Little Man had written three pages without stopping for 15 minutes with absolutely no assistance or guidance. His ADHD mind wrote it perfectly in one draft without having to plan one step at a time. This is unheard of at the end of the day in our house. He didn’t shut down.

It's the unexpected things that grow us into who we are. If we look for the gift in each day, we can surely find it with eyes wide open and hearts ready to receive.

Little Man worked the ground with his bare hands that night, and something in his mind connected.

He touched and took care of the God-given earth, and the God-given earth gave back to him.

Just beautiful.

When the Corinthians were looking to “follow” certain disciples (instead of God), the Apostle Paul made some interesting statements about Whom they should really be following and Who really causes growth in God’s field.

1 Corinthians 3:4-9, ESV, Apostle Paul speaking

For when one says, "I follow Paul," and another, "I follow Apollos," are you not being merely human? What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each.

I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth.

So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. He who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive his wages according to his labor. For we are God's fellow workers. You are God's field, God's building (emphasis mine).

According to Paul, we are not only God’s fellow workers tilling the soil, but we are also His field.

Where can you trust the Gardener more for what He may be growing in your soil?

You may not see it yet.

It may just be a tiny idea, a seed, buried an inch under in layers of other lessons and trials in your life, but you can be sure, when you ask Him to, what He plants and waters will grow into something that nourishes you and brings your heart the very life it needs—

just when it needs it!


Author Bonnie Lyn Smith writes about parenting, marriage, mental health advocacy, special education, faith in the valleys of life, the healing cloak of Jesus, drawing healthy boundaries, relational healing, renewing our minds, walking with a Holy God, and much ado about grace. Join the conversation at Espressos of Faith.

Her book, Not Just on Sundays: Seeking God’s Purpose in Each New Day, offers anecdotes on all of these subjects and Scripture for each situation as well as Book Discussion Questions for deeper exploration.


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