Growing and Helping Grow

Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve always enjoyed the garden. I like the idea of helping to make the magic of a garden happen. My brother and I would have some really awesome dirt clod fights as we prepared the seed beds. We did have to put a size limit on what an acceptable dirt clod looked like, or else welts would appear after being pummeled by a hunk of Indiana clay that acted more like granite than dirt. OUCH!

Oh, and the fun times I had as a teenager, driving the tractor as my dad screamed “quit driving so crooked… straighten it up… what are you doing?” Have YOU ever tried to steer a hopping tractor in a straight line when it’s bouncing across ruts and valleys?? Well, it’s not easy. The stripping of the gears and popping of the clutch, the smell of the diesel spewing out of the exhaust that mixed with the smell of the nearby hay, these are but a few of my farmin’ memories.

But after we got through the hard part of removing any boulders or rocks or stumps, turning over the soil, plowing and then discing so that the soil became workable, then we would use the harrow and even out the topsoil. We three older kids got to ride on the top of the harrow on a platform to help weigh it down as Dad pulled it along. It no longer looked like the same landscape. The soil was prepared. It looked receptive. Ready to bear whatever we planted.

That’s when the real fun began. We’d take out the kid’s wagon full of supplies. Seed packets and a few seedlings we’d started inside to be transplanted in our new garden. Dad would lay out some twine between a couple of twigs and hoe a beautiful little furrow. He always knew just how far apart in childrens hand-breadths and how deep in kids finger depth to place the seeds. So we kids were entrusted with the responsibility of following those directions exactly for the crop he had us working on, while he went on to hoe another row. Seed down in the furrow, next seed, cover with dirt, press down firmly and a cup of water to drink… and so the pattern continued for most of the day.

Yes, my father did a wonderful thing in that family garden. He taught his children to appreciate good, hard work. The joy that comes from being a caretaker and a partaker of the fruits of personal labor and God’s gracious miracle of provision.

The Good Book talks about how a seed must die, before it can live. But once it dies in the ground, it sends out a brand new sprout which seeks out the light and pushes it’s way up through the soil. Then it stretches toward the sun and sends out branches and leaves, pods and beans, fruits, etc. All of these in turn, produce even more seeds!! Not to mention some delicious eating for some growing children.

I used to hate it, when Dad would make us go and pull weeds. Especially cutting down thistles that were as tall as I was. But I learned the importance of keeping the weeds down so that the soil’s nutrients would not be robbed from the crop that we desired.

To this day, I so enjoy the feel of the dirt when it is just right. The soil is warm and moist to where I can pull even the deepest dandelion before it sends up colonies of weeds. I love the feel of the dirt on my hands (I only use gloves for the hardcore stuff). Even dirt under my fingernails is not as annoying as it once was. I can smell the minerals in the soil, especially after a nice springtime shower.

As I relive all these pleasant memories, I can’t help but recall all of the similes that are found in a garden. God chose to start His creation of man in a garden. Provision and beauty abounded. There was purpose and fellowship, joy and love in that garden. Yes, the garden is a wonderful illustration of the Marvelous Master Gardener and His loving, nurturing care for me and those I love.

No wonder I love to garden so.

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