Ah…spring. The weather is the perfect temperature to draw you outside after a long cold winter. Or, in Florida, after a cool few days!! Our topic for this week’s Crew Carnival is Spring Studies. One of our major focuses this time of year is planting our spring garden. Although I grew up on a farm, I am ashamed to say I did not really get into growing things until recently. It just seemed like so much work!! But, with some encouragement from my mom, and a look at our budget, I thought that it would at least be worth a try. So two years ago we planted our first garden.
Now, our first attempt was a mixed success. We did well with our lettuce, green beans, and tomatoes, and not so well with broccoli, squash, and some other vegetables. Eventually we discovered that broccoli grows very well in Florida in the fall. The thing is, my mom told me that every time you plant, you learn a little more. And she was right! Each time we plant, we learn more about how to prepare the soil, how to nurture our plants, how to protect them from bugs, and how much water they need.
I find this a perfect analogy for our Christian walk in life and our relationship with the Lord. The Bible tells us that we reap what we sow. As we grow closer to God we learn about the things in our lives we need to nurture, and the things we need to weed out. We learn how to prepare our hearts to hear Him speak, how to protect our hearts from things that would lead us away from Him, and how to water, or support, those things that bring us closer to him.
Mondays are our gardening days. While my boys have the task of watering each day (in Florida, gardens require quite a bit of water, especially when its dry), on Monday afternoons we head outside to weed, feed, and check for bugs. I use these times for conversations about how what we plant and how we plant it and care for it dictates what we grow. If we just scatter seeds with no forethought, and water haphazardly, and do not keep an eye out for errant weeds and bugs, our garden will fail and our crop will be small. But if we put in the time to plan how we plant, to prepare our soil, and to weed, water, and eliminate the bugs, our garden will grow and our crop will be more substantial.
My boys are now almost 13 and 16 (gulp!). I feel that now more than ever it is so important that I work to deepen their understanding of God and faith. Yes, my boys have been raised in a Christian home, and yes, their hearts are fully turned toward the Lord (a fact that I am most thankful for!), but as they grow older, I know that they are going to face challenges that I am not going to always be able to influence or control. My son wants to start dual enrollment classes at a local community college in the fall. This is a great opportunity for him, but I know that he is going to face other students, and possibly professors, who will challenge his faith. Honestly, I only have a few more years until I release him to the world. At that point, he will encounter numerous people who may cause him to question what he has always believed, and to a certain extent, I realize this is a part of growing up.
However, I want to do all that I can to make him firm in his faith before he gets there. I want him to realize that there will always be people who question and challenge his beliefs, but that when he looks at the big picture, he can see the solid foundation of God in his life. In the way that our family has overcome so many struggles in the last four years, in the way God provides for us each and every week when money is tight, in the way the clouds move and the stars shine, and in the way these tiny seeds that we plant grow into incredible plants that we can eat.
So, we use the spring to focus on these topics. And I treasure my time in the garden with my boys!!
Do you garden? Let me know in the comments, I am always looking for new ideas!