I am finished with winter. I was once an avid winter lover, but then, I stayed indoors with children for days on in and the bouncing and restless hearts and running feet have cultivated within me a deep, deep love for spring. Not only do I need to let them release all that pent up energy, I need to see trees, hear wind, and sit below a maple on a swing with laptop in hand and drink sitting beside me. I need to see life and God and movement…not a wall. But, an early spring is creeping in. I just know it. I find it in the tiny clusters of buds on our maple tree that will soon become tiny “helicopters” and take flight, dancing and spinning their seeds to the ground. I see it in yellow flower buds that have pushed their way through muddy, cold earth to reach sunlight. I see it in a dog that spends hours lying in front of a glass front door, stretching in the length of sunshine on the carpet.
I don’t see it in my garden though. The garden. The one that has taught me more lessons in the last years than simply to never plant watermelon beside tomatoes and to protect early from giant scary bugs that burrow into squash. It has taught me about life and seasons and grace and growth. It’s still teaching me. I have never done a good job doing whatever you must do in order to make your garden look different than your yard by February. I open the curtains each morning in my bedroom and gaze out the back window to see a garden slowly being consumed by grass and weed. This morning, the two are almost the same, garden and yard. and I thought…I thought about sowing.
I thought about that garden and the seeds sown into it. Some seeds were carefully and cautiously sown and later, reaped a good harvest. Others, were sown just the same, only to reap no harvest. Some were bad seed. Some were different that I had thought, and once they had grown, I was surprised to find something different than what I had thought was planted. It is most unfortunate that gardens aren’t perennial. Then, you plow deep, plant seed, and then the plant comes back repeatedly and the grass stays away. The grass and weeds are strong, though. Stronger than, perhaps, that sown seed. And care for that garden is much like God’s manna, enough for today, but will need to be back tomorrow. Today, sow today, cultivate today, nurture today. Then again tomorrow.
What am I sowing in my life? Am I carefully and cautiously sowing good seed? Or am I purposely, unknowingly, or just carelessly sowing bad seed? Am I thinking that my effort and attention will reap one good thing, only to realize later that I was not equipped, and what sprang up in its place was not at all what I wanted to plant? Many people are currently in my life. More people are in my care than have ever been before. Souls that will live for eternity, drifting in for a night or day, then drifting out to go out into the world, only to drift back in again next week. Or the people that are here, day and night and day and night, listening, listening, watching. And I’m sowing. I can’t help but sow. We all sow. Even when we don’t mean to. but…what am I sowing? Will it last? Will it be stronger than the weeds and the grass threatening to choke it out and take over, or will I stand my ground, careful to be proactive in my cultivation and nurturing?
The whole of it causes a soul to be pressed down. Pushed against the floor on knees or face, overwhelmed at the prospect of responsibility you are unworthy and unequipped for. The heaviness of knowing that what you bring to the table will do little to sustain for a minute, much less to sustain a whole day and keep out the hunger. But, then I learned that the Hebrew word for God’s glory is kabod. Literally, it means heaviness. I take heart in knowing that the same feet that carried pieces of the Holiest of Holies from God’s Temple felt the same heaviness. Perhaps, that heaviness we feel is, indeed, the Glory of a Holy God, and that pressing that keeps us on our face with the knowledge that we can’t do it, is His way of making us understand, that…we can’t do it. Not alone. But the One we carry within us is the Creator. The Creator of wind and buds and gardens. He created the first garden. He’s also the Creator of souls and sowing. He also created the manna. He is sufficient, enough, and more than enough. El Shaddai. What and who are you sowing in? What is pressing you to your face with the knowledge that you simply can’t do it? Maybe that pressing is simply His Glory and with that knowledge, maybe the pressing isn’t so pressing anymore. Maybe it’s so good that it’s exactly where you need to be, because it’s exactly what you need. I know that’s true for me. Let’s sow good seed together. Let’s allow that heaviness that says we are not enough to cause our eyes to look upward with hands held out to receive more seed and not down in discouragement.