I have a black thumb. Not from banging it on something or in a door. No, this is more of a metaphorical black thumb. Anything that is in a pot or needs planting, I tend to kill. I can keep them alive for about three good months, then whoosh something happens and everything dies.

Even the simplest of veggies to grow in an urban environment, I have killed.

This spring I was determined that I would grow something, giving it time and attention. So after several long months I have one big ol dead tomato plant and these beauties.

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Oh they are small, but when you urban garden you get smaller plants from a smaller pot. I had just picked these the night before I read this passage in Mark.

“The kingdom of God is like this,” He said. “A man scatters seed on the ground;  he sleeps and rises—night and day, and the seed sprouts and grows—he doesn’t know how.  The soil produces a crop by itself—first the blade, then the head, and then the ripe grain on the head. But as soon as the crop is ready, he sends for the sickle, because the harvest has come.” Mark 4:26-29 (HCSB)

As we enter in to a new season of school starting, fall coming in and many harvests coming to bear out their final fruits, I cannot help but look at the life of the church. It’s a season of growing, of planting seeds, of doing the work of the sewing even in this time. We are working night and day with the seeds, unsure of whether something will sprout…

But then months later someone understands a passage, someone hears a Word of Truth and it springs up for their life specifically. They are introduced to Christ in a way they would never have done had we not taken time to seed. To nurture and place time and effort into caring for the ground it was planted in.

Then again we may not see the sprouting, it may not be ours to pull fruit from the vine they produce. But others will see the seed in which is planted today, in the next week or the next month. But we plant anyways. We water regardless of what we will or won’t see. We do it all as a means of the kingdom work we have been called to do. We don’t kill the seed, or choose to hold it only within ourselves. That’s not what seeds were meant to do, and not what we are used for.

So in this new season of fresh perspectives, rest and investing in groups may we support and nourish the work of seed-planting. May we diligently work towards gardens planted across the community that ignite feasting on His Truth. I think that’s a garden I could be fruitfully planted and working in.

 

 

 

Learning in Relationships and in Singleness

There are days when I wonder what God is up to in me. Then there are ones like the one I had a few weeks back, where I get a glimpse at the top of the page of the story He is writing for me. All I can do is smile and rejoice.

I rejoice because my singleness is not in vain. It is not some struggle or war God has given me to endure. No, it is a gift. He is preparing me-He’s working in me already. He’s gifting me with time and space to grow in Him, to reveal areas at which He is at work in me that I did not know needed work. His expectations of me are to love Him and to love others. Why can’t those be enough for my own expectations of myself?

As I was driving home a few weeks ago I realized how all of the ones I have dated previously have molded me. I have learned something about who I am because of who they were. Various relationships didn’t work out but it has taken me to this point to see how they are inherently linked. Dude 1 taught me that I cherish a man who values me completely, and not just in part. Dude 2 taught me that men can be romantic, but that a man should not make me his world. Dude 3 broke my cold-heartedness to reveal that it’s okay to cry in front of a man and need him to be the rock at times. He also showed me that a man’s ego can get in the way of his heart if he allows it to do that. Dude 4 taught me that I can be open to having feelings sooner than I thought if I put down my guard. He also taught me that I do like to listen to problems, but I cannot solve them all in an instant.

I have needed this time to reflect, to see what it is that I truly desire in a partner, in the man that would be my mate. And also to see what God’s desire for me in a companion is as well. Most of all, it’s given space for me to fully believe and trust that God must come first or there can be no relationship. If He’s not at the center of my heart, how can I expect Him to be at the center of the relationship?

I have needed time for God to work in me in a way He could only do on His timing, in this time. He was at work in me all along, just as He is now…I just needed to be quiet, be still, and listen.