Life is funny sometimes, isn’t it? Though I grew up in a green thumb family, it took me a long time to get out in the garden myself. Over the last seven years, though, it’s kind of become my “thing.” As an unlikely gardener who has learned SO many lessons in the raised beds outside of my front door, I love encouraging other women to get out there and cultivate, too. I’ve taught live classes and published podcast episodes on how to get started gardening, and over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what grows well in our climate and what my family most enjoys. In many ways, I felt like I had hit my stride as a gardener. Last year, though, I learned the garden had another big lesson in store for me …
2019’s garden started off rocky. With a sore neck and a full schedule, we were a month late in getting our plants in the ground. In fact, I almost didn’t plant anything at all – but then I remembered why I grow things in the first place. It’s not for the beautiful blooms or the bees (though I love both of those!) — it’s because the garden is the most impactful backdrop for memories and lessons for my kids.
Together, we’ve learned patience from waiting for petals to unfurl. We’ve learned hard work from pulling weeds and shoveling dirt. We’ve seen the beauty in little-by-little progress from toting our watering cans around day after day in the hot summer sun. And at the end of the season, we’ve grown in kindness from delivering fresh bouquets to our neighbors.
So, I (literally) dug in and got those seedlings planted. We rejoiced when they sprouted. And then … they just stopped growing. In August, I was looking at bare patches of dirt where the year before had been armfuls of zinnias and cosmos. I can give you all the scientific reasons for why this happened — why things went wrong. I certainly spent enough time thinking about it and trying to problem solve.
But. What if this was actually just right? What if it was exactly what was supposed to happen in this particular year? My husband, Ari, kept telling me, “Lara, can’t you see? This is a gift. God is giving you a year of rest.”
To me, though, the gift was the garden. The blooms. My time out here with our children planting hope and sowing love. I felt like we had failed, and I was sad and frustrated. Have you had one of those times? You do everything right, and yet things don’t turn out the way you thought they would.
Slowly, though, I began to listen to Ari. And I heard from God. There might not have been much growing in our garden last year, but my kids were still learning. They saw us relying on him more, in all that didn’t go as planned. They saw us believing in his faithfulness more. They saw us wrestling with disappointment and choosing to find the good. And they joined me in celebrating the few blooms we DID have as if we’d never seen flowers before!
I wanted to grow plants; God wanted to grow perspective.
Whatever plan it is for you (or your kids) that hasn’t gone as planned – whatever seed that hasn’t sprouted or flower that hasn’t bloomed – imagine this: what if this failure, this detour, is a time of ripening? What if you and your family will grow from this time like never before, even if you can’t see the fruit yet? Perhaps your disappointments and trials are the very things that will bring you to a day where you can’t help but stand in awe and say, “All of that time waiting — I was actually growing, even though I couldn’t see it above the surface. Thank you, God! Thank you!”
Check out Lara’s beautiful garden on MOPS Facebook.
Previously posted on www.ibelieve.com.
Lara Casey loves growing flowers and dreams! She is Gracie, Joshua, and Sarah’s mom and she loves getting her hands dirty in the garden just as much as they do! As CEO of Cultivate What Matters, Lara is the creator of the best-selling PowerSheets® Intentional Goal Planner and the Write the Word™ Bible journals, and she is also the author of Make It Happen, Cultivate, and her new children’s book Gracie’s Garden. You’ll often find Lara, her husband, Ari, and their three little gardeners marveling at the bees and blooms in their Chapel Hill, North Carolina, garden.