This post also appeared on My Big Jesus.
I’ve had an unforseen transformation over the past couple of years. As a girl who never had a green thumb or really cared about gardens of any sort, I’ve learned to really love growing things. I get excited in the early spring about planning out our vegetable and herb garden, readying the soil, building a new bed, perhaps, and buying the seeds and seedlings. It’s hard work, especially the preparation, but I’ve learned to really enjoy it. Last summer, I was one thousand months pregnant with my third baby, and I was shoveling fresh dirt into a new bed. I wanted to be a part of it that much.
I love seeing the first little glimpses of life coming up through the soil. I love smelling the fresh leaves on the herbs, especially after it rains. I love seeing the very first tiny, green tomatoes, and little yellow squashes. I even like trimming, pruning and deadheading to help send the nutrients to the good parts of the plant. I love the way my big kids want to get outside with me, dig in the dirt, and eat tomatoes right off the vine. My eldest can even name most of the herbs, and identify them by smell. Even as recently as five years ago, I’d never be able to tell you that I would love it this much, and incorporate it into my life so fully.
But I started growing something else, about five years ago. It was a big task, something that took the most energy, time, effort, and prayer I’ve ever given anything. I grew a child in my womb. I was the vessel as God literally knit a life together and helped it grow. Now, I am a nurturer to three such blessings, helping them grow. Yes, it still takes the most energy, time, effort and prayer I can muster. Yes, it even takes a little pruning of misconceptions and education after mistakes to help the best parts of my children thrive. Train up a child in the way he should go (Prov. 22:6), yes?
It may be a cheesy metaphor, but the love of growing things became so real to me when I was growing something of my very own. The love the God helps us grow, the love of parents help their children grow, and the love of a gardener helps her garden grow. Tending anything that grows requires effort. It requires the giving of nutrients and water. It requires protection from storms, literal or figurative. It requires a certain love for the thing to help it grow. We are not abandoned to grow on our own in the wild; we have a loving God, tending to our needs, and helping us grow into who He’s called us to be.