I love this time of year. As the days transition from the cooler, wetter spring ones into the warm, fragrant, lovely ones of early summer, you often hear the sounds of lawn mowers buzzing and children laughing, bumblebees humming and birds chirping. There is much to celebrate and much to rejoice.
And this year, I’ve gotten to plant a garden of my own.
Growing up, my grandmother had two huge gardens that were always so filled to the brim with fruits, vegetables, and flowers. My cousins and I, in our summer adventures at ‘Nana and Papa’s house’, were often sent to the garden to collect produce for the day’s needs, whether it was for meals, for selling to local markets, or for Nana’s canning. And if we ever complained of hunger, out to the garden we were sent again , feasting on purple and green beans, snap peas, cherry tomatoes, and even broccoli or cauliflower right off the ground. In fact, one cousin and I in particular had a great affinity for garlic chives, and my Nana would lovingly tease us about having to drive with the car windows open from the smell of our breath.
I learned a great many things in that garden, but one thing in particular was that gardening takes great care and patience. You don’t just get to sow your seeds, leave your garden for a few months, and return to a vast array of healthy produce.
And this last week, as I was busy tying up my snap peas that had ended up as not much more than a tangled mess on the ground, I began to realize how much I stand to learn about motherhood from my time in the garden.
My pea plants, while very determined to grow quickly, are not nearly strong enough to stand tall on their own. They require an able hand to oh-so-carefully guide them up a trellis and in and out of the spaces that are safe for them, to hold them steady so they can continue to grow well. And in some places, they need to be safeguarded, or tied, in order for them to thrive. And with this gentle guiding, eventually they grow tall and produce a delicious crop for us all to enjoy.
Much also like I said before about seeds, you can’t just toss them onto the dirt and walk away, to find a beautiful crop at harvest time. For the best results, it takes you getting down on the ground, hands into the dirt, and doing the messy hard things. It’s not always pretty, but that hard work is totally worth it in the end.
Our kiddos take that kind of diligence from us. The efforts of planting and guiding, tending and tying, are sometimes messy and hard, and can seem fruitless. But if we are guiding them closer to the Father, sowing seeds of grace and love, tending to them carefully with examples of humility and apology, and tethering them safely to truth, then our efforts our never in vain. And as we water our children with the Word of God, we will see them grow.