I have a hidden garden.
The garden I plant veggies in every spring is on the side of my house I don’t see every day. During the spring when I am excited to see the plants sprout and produce, I make a habit of peeking around the corner. But by July in Texas the plants are scorched and my enthusiasm for checking on my plants has burned out so I don’t check on the garden very often – or at all.
When I say I have a garden, you should know I pretty much grow salsa. I try to grow a lot of other things but it seems I am really good at growing jalapeños and about five tomatoes.
Today, I was in the back yard and something red in the garden caught my eye so I walked around the side of the house. Lo, and behold, there were tomatoes! More tomatoes then during growing season. So many tomatoes, that I had to go back inside for a bowl to put them in as I harvested them. Then I turned around and saw jalapeños and started picking.
I should’ve got a bigger bowl! I ended up with a bowlful and carrying the rest in my makeshift t-shirt bowl.
As I was picking the unsuspected veggies, I thought about the Mamas (and Papas) who sowed into their kids’ lives and are still waiting to reap the harvest.
I took a lot of time to prepare my garden. I bought good soil and made sure there was sufficient drainage in my raised beds. I was picky picking out my plants. My husband and I worked hard to make sure the garden was getting adequate water in the right amounts at the right times. I enclosed my garden in a fence to keep deer and other critters from eating the plants and veggies.
Just like I tended my garden, parents nurture and tend our children. We prepare for them before they are ever born. We make sure they have the nutrition they need to grow healthy and strong. We surround them with the best protection we have to offer in hopes of keeping the hurts and dangers away.
And we wait for the harvest. We wait to see if our hard work was worth it.
As I picked jalapeños, I grieved for the Mamas and Papas who haven’t seen the harvest – yet. And the parents who thought they were planting zucchini and got yellow squash instead (I might have done that); the harvest looks different than they imagined and prayed for.
I continued to pick and pick and pick jalapeños that were often hiding under the wilted leaves and my bowl overflowed with my harvest.
To the parent who is wondering if it was worth it, if you made a difference in your child’s life or if you’ll ever experience the “harvest” of carefully tending to your child’s heart and soul, let me say…never give up.
Your efforts are not in vain. The harvest might look different then you planned, prayed for or imagined. Or the “fruit” hasn’t matured yet.
I had planned to have a bumper crop of tomatoes, zucchini, cucumbers and jalapeños during the summer – not just tomatoes and jalapeños the week before Thanksgiving but I’ll gladly pick ‘em, can ‘em and eat ‘em.
For I have given rest to the weary and joy to the sorrowing. Jeremiah 31:25
And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns. Philippians 1:6
I’m off to pickle my crop of jalapeños.
And I’m praying for the parents still waiting.
Are you waiting?