Last night we put the last round of carrots in this year's garden. This section of garden you're looking at has about 1200 carrots planted. So yes, you'll be seeing carrots at this year's potlucks - don't complain, it will give you a break from all the green bean dishes I usually bring.
The boys and I like to work barefoot, feeling that soft, freshly tilled soil under our feet. They've helped us in the garden for years. When they were younger, we'd put them in charge of simple tasks like making the holes with a stick or just pushing dirt over the seeds. Now that they're older, they actually help us work together by pairing up with Mom or Dad and having a race to see who can plant their row the fastest (John & I are the current team to beat).
Each year, we plant the seeds. We make sure the ground is tilled and fertilized. We put up the electric fence to protect those delicate plants from deer and rabbits. We pull the weeds that threaten to choke out the good plants that we want to grow. We prune the suckers off that are diverting the nutrients from making good strong plants. And we pray for a good harvest.
You see, plants aren't the only thing in this picture that we're growing.
Every day, I'm planting seeds in my boy's hearts. And as the electric fence keeps out the garden's predators, it's mine and Ronnie's job to protect them from predators - not only people, but things they shouldn't be listening or watching. It's our job to recognize those weeds of anger or to prune off those suckers like selfishness so that their hearts can remain a fertile ground for the Holy Spirit to work in their lives.
But mostly, we pray. And just like we've prayed for these seeds to become plants that produce vegetables that we can use, we pray that these boys will become Godly men that will be used by the Lord for His purpose.
Gardening isn't necessarily a lot of skill. It's diligence. It's patience. It's hard work. It's staying the course and doing your part, knowing that the seeds are doing theirs.
Parenting is diligence. It's truckloads of patience. It's definitely hard work. It's staying the course and doing your part, knowing that God is doing His.
Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary.