Nothing Planted, Nothing Gained

SeedThere were no “ideal conditions” to garden in this year.

Our plan of action was to keep throwing seeds in the ground in hopes that something would grow.

So I sowed abundantly – despite the mud and the weeds and the nasty weather.

If I had veggies for every seed I put in the ground this year I could have started my own farmer’s market.

But many didn’t germinate.

And some of the ones that did were drowned out or overtaken by weeds.

But at least they had a chance to grow.

Unlike the many seeds still in packets that never even got planted, like the herb garden that never got expanded and the new flower bed that didn’t get dug up.

I had every intention of planting them.

But those seeds are still sitting here – at the end of July – with no chance of growing because they were never sown.

This week, as I worked my way through the forest of grass that is my garden, I thought of all the other “seeds” that I have not sown.

The note of encouragement that never got written.

The get well gift that never got delivered.

The offer of help that was never extended.

The word of counsel that wasn’t given.

The time in prayer that wasn’t taken.

The invitation that was never extended.

All those seeds that will never have a chance to produce fruit, because they were never sown.

Good intentions.

Noble thoughts.

Seeds of kindness and love and faith.

All waiting for ideal conditions that never came.

There can be no harvest when the seeds are never planted.

So I ask you – what seeds do you need to sow today?

Sowing Seeds Part 2

DSC_0097Buddy and I have been watching our flats of seeds very carefully to see any signs of life.

The broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and eggplant came up quickly, followed by the tomatoes.

But the entire flat of peppers remained barren.

There was no change.

A niggling of concern entered my mind.

Another week passed.

No sprouts.

Concern turned to worry as I envisioned an entire year without jalapeno and fresh peppers.

Every day we studied the dirt filled holes searching for any signs of life.

Finally – today – we saw our first tiny sprout.

And then another, and another.

Such a relief.

I was powerless to make those seeds sprout.

I had done all I could do. I planted. I watered. I kept them warm. And I waited.

It’s the waiting that’s hard.

God understands.

He said in Mark 4: 26-29 – “…This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. All by itself the soil produces grain—first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head. As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come.”

“All by itself the soil produces grain.”

I can’t break open each seed and force the spouts out.

I can’t pull each sprout into a stalk or create a head.

I cannot create or ripen one piece of fruit.

But I can plant.

I can prepare the soil.

I can water.

And I can wait.

Because the soil itself will produce the grain.

Everyday we have the opportunity to sow seeds of kindness, of love, of grace, of forgiveness.

But we cannot make those seeds sprout.

Or grow.

Or produce fruit.

Sometimes we want to dig in the soil a little and see if there’s any life. We want to force growth, create change.

But we are powerless.

We plant the seed.

And wait.

 

Sowing Seeds

I’ve been sowing seeds this week.

Hundreds of seeds.

Seed

Tiny little bits of black, white, or brown.

Tomato, pepper, cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage.

The first of thousands of seeds that I will sow this season – beans, corn, radishes, lettuce, kale….the list goes on and on.

Not every seed will grow.

Seed flats

Of the ones that do – not every one will produce.

Some will be eaten by varmints, ravished by bugs or destroyed by weather.

But still I sow, knowing that some will grow and flourish and bear much fruit.

I sow in faith, believing that in these tiny seeds there is a potential for an abundant harvest.

Tomatos

These aren’t the only seeds we sow in life.

Everyday I have the opportunity to sow seeds of kindness, of love, of grace. Seeds that could have eternal impact. Seeds that could change lives. Seeds that could bring the gospel to hurt and needy people.

Not every seed will sprout.

Not every seed will grow.

But still – I must sow knowing that some will grow and flourish and bear much fruit.

And I must have faith, believing that in each seed of kindness, each seed of love, each seed of grace, there is a potential for an abundant harvest.

Galatians 6:9 “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”

Storm Damage

We had quite a storm blow through last week.

Black skies. Strong winds. Horizontal rain. Flying shingles.

When the worst of it had blown over,  we ventured out to survey the damage.

Shingles littered the yard.

Corn stalks from the neighbor’s fields hung in the trees.

One skylight on the workshop was broken.

Branches and sticks were everywhere.

And one huge silver maple tree was ripped from the ground by the roots.
DSC_0134

Wow.

That storm left a mark that we will be cleaning up for sometime!

But as we started to pick up sticks and sharpened the chain saw, we noticed a common theme.

The shingles were all from the old house. They were old, worn and not well attached. The limbs that had blown down were mostly dead branches.

And that big old silver maple? It was totally rotted inside.

The storm did the most damage to those things that were not well grounded or secure.

But the tree didn’t look rotten from the outside. It was big and beautiful and fully leafed out.

And we never saw all the dead branches and limbs hiding in the foliage.

But when the storm hit, it didn’t matter what they looked like on the outside or how well hidden they were.  The strong winds found and destroyed them.

There’s a lesson here.

The storms of life will come.

The winds of adversity will blow hard and you will feel deluged by the realities around you.

And when they do – will you stand firm?

Is your faith solid to the core?

Can you stand secure in your heavenly Father?

Dig your roots down deep into the bedrock of His faithfulness and let it rain!

 

Fire at Midnight

We were sleeping hard when Dagmar woke us up last night. It was almost midnight.

“Hey Dad – they just called the ambulance out. There’s a fire at Heartland.”

The news took a minute to sink in.

Heartland is the small wind turbine company where Jan works.

We laid back down – in shock.

Mentally I gave Jan fifteen minutes to decide to drive in and see what was going on. He only took twelve and half. As soon he jumped out of bed – so did I. There was no way I was letting him go to this fire alone.

We scanned the horizon as we drove through the blackness of midnight. The last time we were speeding through the dark at that time of night – I was in labor. We both wondered if this event would be as life-changing.

The smoke was heavy in the air as we pulled up to the building. No flames could be seen – just thick heavy smoke and lots of flashing lights.

The fire was in the second building, where the blades are manufactured.

Volunteer firemen from 3 different communities were there.

Yes, volunteers. Risking their lives with no pay. I will never again look at the firemen tossing candy from the pumper truck in the local parade the same way again. Those guys are heroes. Just saying.

We carefully maneuvered our way through the labyrinth of fire trucks and hoses to the small huddle of Heartland employees, watching the scene with shocked expressions.

It was a little surreal.

And sad. Very, very sad.

What would this mean?

How can a small 6 year company recover from a blow like this? How much damage would there be – not just to the building but also to the equipment?

This is special equipment – much of it designed and made by the guys themselves. Six long, hard years of labor.

As we watched the firemen cut a hole in the roof and lower themselves down – I had to take a deep breath and remind myself that God was still in control.

And there was peace in the midst of the chaos.

We managed to get a few hours of sleep last night but Jan was back at Heartland early this morning when the firetrucks were called back in to put out a flare-up.

Before he left, he held my hand and prayed over his hastily prepared breakfast, “Lord, we know that none of this is a surprise to You. We know that you are in control. We trust you.”

And there is still peace.