In Kenya, and especially in rural areas, I always enjoyed how most people would grow crops no matter how small or large their land was. One time Lox and I offered to plant maize for his mum who lived in Nairobi at the time. We travelled 7-8 hours to her patch of land and got to work. I was thoroughly enjoying having a good dig when I looked up and noticed about 30 or more people were thoroughly entertained by watching a white girl ploughing soil! It was quite an occurrence to see a white person in that area, never mind a white person getting her hands dirty and working up a sweat! With his usual ingenuity, Lox soon had 30+ amused people helping out and by lunch time the ground was ploughed and maize was planted!
Our wild garden
This year I decided to give gardening a go for the first time! Back before the days of lockdown, Lox and I dug up the soil and planted all kinds of seeds in pots. We carefully nurtured them and watched them grow. Some had to come inside so that they’d be warm enough to start growing. Some didn’t sprout. Others went straight into the soil and pretty much fended for themselves. It’s been quite exciting to watch them grow and take over our garden!
This week has been especially exciting as I decided to harvest our potatoes. I wasn’t 100% sure whether or not they were ready but it was starting to become an issue of me vs the slugs and seeing as I wasn’t keen to put down poison I went for it and harvested them. All the while Josiea was helping out by harvesting worms and caterpillars-there’s nothing like mud and wriggly worms to keep a little boy entertained for an afternoon!
While I was harvesting I noticed a number of weeds which had been thriving under the pleasant conditions: plenty of sunlight, regular watering and the occasional dose of plant food. What more could they want!? And it got me thinking. I had put a lot of effort into growing my veggies and making sure they had what they needed to grow and thrive; and some did thrive while others didn’t even sprout. But I hadn’t sown these weeds. I didn’t bring them into my house so that they could germinate, I didn’t deliberately water them or give them food and yet they grew with no problems!
It made me think of how true this is in life too. There’s certain things I feel like I’m constantly trying to grow and cultivate like love and patience which I seem to have to intentionally work on and sometimes it’s really hard work. And meanwhile there’s things which I’ve not deliberately planted like anger and discontentment, which thrive if left unchecked. It’s such a pain in the bum! And I know I’m far from the first to get frustrated with this struggle as I read Paul’s words in Romans 7:15 (NLT):
I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate
Sometimes I get so frustrated with it all that I wonder what is even the point of trying!? But then I remember that it’s not all up to me anyway. I’m so thankful that God’s grace meets me at the point of my failures and shortcoming. If my life were a garden, I think Jesus would be there helping out & watering all the good stuff helping me to become more like him. He doesn’t leave me to struggle alone, He’s here with me to help me grow. And so I can keep trying and giving it my best shot because I know with God on my side and I will be victorious! I feel like one of my life mottos sums it up pretty well:
Do your best & let God do the rest
One wise lady once said to me that beauty when your young is a matter of chance but the older you get you may or may not become more beautiful depending on what you nurture in your life. If you do keep intentionally nurturing patience and kindness and good things those will come through & make you so beautiful. Unfortunately if you decide to allow anger or resentment to grow they will also show through and no matter how beautiful you are physically, it will fade if you leave those things unchecked.
So let me remind you of what I so often have to remind myself: keep going, keep trying, keep being the best you that you can be. Don’t be to tough on yourself or those around you, we all fail. Apologise, forgive, and move forward. Get back up, try again and choose to nurture those good things today so that at the end of your days your life will be like a beautiful harvest!