Want a crash course on patience? Try gardening. I admit patience is definitely one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit that I need lots of work on so I can see why God has put the idea in me to start planting. Having spent ten years in the sunshine state, it never occurred to me to plant something there mainly because we lived in a property that never had a backyard. Our view was the lake but it was condo regulation not to grow flowers. I tried growing garlic outside once and to my disappointment, maintenance uprooted it. I never attempted to plant anything after that. Being in the Pacific Northwest has somehow inspired me to grow things again.
I could have just bought potted seedlings ready for transplantation but where’s the patience in that? So, I sowed my seeds exactly a week ago, I did try germinating the Russian Sunflower seeds doing the paper towel method at first but decided the next day to just plant them right into the pot.
It’s only been a few days since the seedlings started to sprout (no green for the first couple of days) and even though they are far from looking like the beautiful flowers that I am promised as pictured on the seed packet, waiting for any signs of development is quite exciting and I am looking forward to care for and wait on these flowers to bloom. This is truly wondrous when you think about how some flowers have a specific season of the year to bloom. I happen to be in Zone 3 (this includes parts of the Midwest and the Pacific NW) so I started planting just in time to expect my blooms by Summer.
I don’t consider myself a newbie when it comes to growing plants (I’m no Martha Stewart either) though the gardener in me had been dormant for quite some time. Gardening was part of the curriculum in Home & Livelihood class (like Home EC) when I was in elementary school quand j’habitais en Asie. We were graded dependent on the growth of the crop we planted which was Bok choy in that class. The trade came home with me and at a young age, I was fond of growing bitter cucumber. It truly was fascinating to witness the bitter cucumber, a vine plant growing to maturity as it coiled to the Sugar Apple tree which was right outside our kitchen window. It was especially satisfying when the fruits of my labor made its way to the dinner table in the form of a vegetable omelet.
I picked out Helichrysum (main pic), a.k.a. Everlasting Strawflowers, Mammoth Russian Sunflowers and Zinnia. Out of the 3, I could see more of Zinnia seeds sprouting quicker than the sunflower and so far, only a few sprouts from Helichrysum which makes me question the viability of the seeds I got to begin with. I’m not sure exactly what colors I am getting out of the Zinnia and Helichrysum seed packet but I’m hoping it would have pink, purple and orange blooms and not just white and yellow.
The backyard still needs a lot of work and while the whole family pitched in to remove the weeds that grew over the mulch, maybe having the weeds cover the ground is not such a bad idea. Honestly, I’d rather see green grass than mulch. How about you? Of course I’d have to make sure the area where I am going to plant my sunflowers are clear of weeds. I might just keep the Strawflowers and Zinnias in pots since they are not projected to grow over 8 feet.
“For as the soil makes the sprout come up and a garden causes seeds to grow, so the Sovereign LORD will make righteousness and praise spring up before all nations.”
As God disperses His good news of salvation to all people, the same is true that the enemy sows weeds as an attempt to counteract God’s message with a counterfeit gospel. We can learn the inner workings of God’s kingdom through gardening principles (Jesus frequently used imagery pertaining seeds and planting) especially when it comes to weeding out whatever it is that stifles our spiritual growth and maturity. At this time, the internet happens to be a fertile ground for weeds to flourish. As Christians, we are pretty much primed on the tell tale signs of who the weeds are (Matthew 7:15-20), people who preach a gospel contrary to God’s standard of righteousness, who try to reconcile unrighteous mindsets with Scripture. If you encounter any professing Christian whose main concern is to do damage control on what the world thinks of Christians, someone who says, “We don’t want our Christianity to scare people away from Jesus,” that person is oblivious of the verse that Jesus warned us that we are going to be hated because we follow Him (Matthew 10:22, John 15:18-25). If we stay true to the gospel, being mocked, ridiculed and hated comes with the territory. No amount of damage control or walking on eggshells will fix that.
We are to beware of them at all costs since fraternizing with weeds can compromise our own spiritual walk if we are not careful. And yes, weeds can choke real believers by influencing them with carnality, a hindrance to do God’s will. We would be wise to heed Jude 1:23, “save others by snatching them from the fire; to others show mercy, mixed with fear–hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh.” This is not an act of anathematizing them but rather an act of vigilance since the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak (Matthew 24:61).
We also learn to wait for the fruition of our hope, for the right season of whatever it is we’re praying for in God’s timing. It teaches us that our faith is cultivated and made to flourish by way of pruning especially during seasons of drought, a dark night of the soul. Speaking of pruning, I’m going through such a time though not severe, I know that God is dealing with me and spiritual activity even when it can be miserable (varying degrees depending on how stubborn we are), is proof that we belong to Him as evidenced in Hebrews 12:7-8,
“Endure suffering as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? If you do not experience discipline like everyone else, then you are illegitimate children and not true sons.”
[Image Credit: All images except for the seedling picture were search engine results. Special thanks to the respective OPs.]