Tuesday, December 13, 2011

lessons from broccoli.

One of the many things that I love about Jesus is how He related to the people of His day using stories {we call them parables}.  He used the things of everyday life, such as farming, to help people relate to Biblical truth.  All throughout the Gospels {Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John}, we see Jesus speaking in story form.  I think we all could stand to learn from His easy, conversational way of relating to others... regardless of beliefs about spiritual matters.  Instead of attempting to work so many "churchy" words and phrases into our sentences, we would have greater influence if we were just... real.  Being salt and being light {what Jesus said we should be like in this world} is less about words and more about relationships.  The most effective way to share the love of Christ is organic... it's natural, it's based on building relationships with people.

I find that God speaks to me through stories.  He uses the simplest, most ordinary things to reinforce the truths that I've read in His Word.  In the stillness, in the chaos that is my life, in the midst of laundry and dishes and potty breaks, {even as I type this, I had to pause when I heard, "Mommy... I need to go potty!"}He speaks.  Today, I want to share with you how God used broccoli.

Several weeks ago, we decided to try growing broccoli.  Let me explain how our first attempt at container gardening was a complete flop didn't go exactly as we'd hoped.  We bought tons of containers, planted all kinds of things, watered and fed the plants as we were supposed to, and harvested a crop {i.e., 3} potatoes the size of marbles.  I'm pretty sure that one pest or another {I'm learning to LOATHE snails} gobbled up any hopes of other vegetables we'd hoped to eat from our garden.  So, I suppose you could say I/we were less than optimistic about the outcome of our little broccoli-planting venture.  

Within a week or ten days, our broccoli plant began to grow... bigger, and bigger, and bigger.  On our front porch is this huge, beautiful, healthy-looking broccoli plant.  There was only one small problem... despite its huge green leaves, it lacked one single head of broccoli.  Oh, it was beautiful, and it gave me hope that we would actually get to eat the fruits... er, vegetables, of our labor.  Walt has been faithfully watering the plant and watching after it, and while it appeared to be "working", without a head of broccoli, all of his work was in vain.  What's the use in putting hours into a vegetable plant that has only leaves and no vegetables?

About 19 months ago, we started asking God to grant a specific request for our family.  While I know that God has heard my request, He has not yet answered in the way I've expected.  I am thankful that the power of a prayer is in the One who hears it, not the one who says it.  Not a day has gone by that I haven't pleaded with God for this one thing.  During an especially meaningful time with God a couple of months ago, I felt Him whisper to my heart, "I want you to want Me most."  So, perhaps, He has not answered this prayer the way I'd hoped because He just wants my heart to be completely His, completely surrendered to whatever He wants for my life.  As I poured my heart out to a friend, she imparted a bit of wisdom that wasn't lost on me.  She said, "Perhaps this is the way you learn trust. Not saying it's easy. Nothing worth it ever is."

Yesterday morning, we woke up and were going about our normal routine when Walt {who I thought had already gone to work!} came into Caleb's room.  He handed me his phone, which had a picture on it, and said, "We have broccoli!" 

Lo and behold, our broccoli plant is starting to sprout heads of broccoli!  

Oh, no, they're not huge, and we definitely have a while before they're edible.  

But we. have. broccoli.  

That's the main point.

All of Walt's hard work, all of our waiting, is paying off.  

I was thinking about our impending broccoli success while unloading the dishwasher this afternoon, when God said to me, "You know this other thing that you've been asking Me about?"  

I dried off another cup... "mmhmm?"

"Give it time.  Give Me time.  Let Me work.  What I'm doing, it's far bigger, it's so much more than you can imagine, and it's going to take time.  Trust Me."

And, so I will.  Because He. is. good.

Believe it: I have all I need for today.  The needs of our day are great, but God is greater and we call Him providence because we believe: He always provides.  {And when God provides, He should be praised, and if God always provides, shouldn't praise always be on our lips?}

Monday, December 12, 2011

5x7 Folded Card

Blessed Family Religious Christmas Card
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