It’s gardening season, and the thing about having ADHD is that we go really hard into hobbies. We may spend an inordinate amount of time and money on something we might not be able to maintain for too long, but by golly, it keeps us busy and entertained for a bit. My hobby this year was gardening. “At least it’s useful!” I say to my husband as he sees another trip to the local nursery pop up on the bank statement.
More than what it’s providing for us physically, I am finding so much spirituality there too. Here are a few things God is teaching so far:
1. Remember when I moved the peonies? They did bloom wonderfully last summer, to my relief. But oddly, this summer they only gave me one round of blooms as opposed to three or four in years past. I stood over them wondering how I could have helped them grow better or what was going on. The thought occurred to me that sometimes grief shows up belated. They were traumatized from the move, they were doing their best, and this year just wasn’t their year to produce like crazy. I found myself having compassion for the peonies and their big move, not bitterness that they didn’t make enough flowers for me. I pruned and fed them, and let them just be. It made me wonder how attentive God is to us, how He isn’t interested in our productivity, but in our well-being. How He stands in the hot sun, with the shears and the nutrients, and compassionately understands why we just can’t be so useful and bloomy all the time. If I am like this over flowers, what is God like over me?
2. I started my cucumbers from seed this year. This is something I said I would never do because I wasn’t “good at plants.” The funny thing about listening to yourself is that you start to believe those words eventually. As it turns out, I am not bad at plants at all, I was just afraid of failure and afraid to try something new. Once I gave myself permission to give it a try, I actually loved it! My cucumbers are producing like crazy. Yesterday I pulled five off the vine and squealed with delight at how one little seed could make such a bounty. I was slicing them to make pickles and saw there were thousands of seeds in one cucumber. God in His very nature, down to our own vegetables, tells a story of His abundance. He doesn’t run out of seeds or goodness towards you. He is a God of abundance. It reminds me of the fishes and loaves story in the Bible: You bring Him a small thing, and He multiplies it a thousand times.
3. In past years, I never pruned my basil. I would only take leaves from the stem when I was cooking but that’s about it. In the summer heat, they would bolt up tall and flower and lose their steam. This year, I learned the proper way to prune and I was really nervous it might not work. But I did it anyway, scared. Now, I have a basil forest! I can’t make enough pesto and am begging my neighbors to come grab some. It reminds me of God pruning us; it doesn’t feel like it’s doing anything but feeling bad. It feels like He’s taking something away from us. But remember, we don’t love an angry, spiteful God. We love a generous and abundant God. And what I love about pruning my basil is that even the stems I cut off, when put in water, create roots and are used to make even more basil plants. Everything pruned is used for good somehow. For us and for others.
4. The other day, the tops of my carrots were huge and showy and magnificent. I decided they were ready to be pulled. I was so excited as I lifted them out… until I looked at the carrots. Short and stubby, and not even enough to make much of anything with them. I laughed and googled what went wrong. “Clay soil doesn’t give carrots enough room to grow. You must add sand.” Sure enough, my soil was really thick. I planted the right seed — but in the wrong kind of soil. Next year, I’ll know better and improve. I think about that with the dreams God has entrusted me with. Sometimes I plant them in the wrong kind of soil and when it doesn’t work, I quit. What those dreams needed wasn’t inattentiveness, or quitting, they needed more space, not less! Ask God if there’s a dream that needs more space in your life and see what He shows you.
Lest I bore you with more lessons (trust me, I have endless ones!), I mostly want to tell you:
“The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. Though it is the smallest of all seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds come and perch in its branches.”
Maybe you’re not a gardener, but the Bible is full of seed and garden language because it is something physical and tangible we can look at and say, “What is God doing with the small things? What is He doing with my tiny seeds planted in hope?” I tell you, nature is proclaiming that He is doing much with them!