Our family really loves Sundays. It’s just a feel-good-family day, all the way around.
This past Sunday after Mass, we all came home, and changed into our old clothes, so that we could get working in our garden beds. Oh, the butterflies I get this time of year! It’s almost time for planting, so we needed to get all of the winter rye that we had growing in the beds, chopped down, and turned into the soil. There is much to do, to create soil rich enough to produce well for us.
Whenever I’m working in the gardens, especially in the planting season, my thoughts most always turn to my faith in God. In my mind, there are many parallels, between the process of gardening, and one’s day to day faith.
The Dirt on Gardening
With gardening, we put so much into all we hope for. We cultivate the soil, nourish it, and plant our tiny seeds or little starters, where they will receive the proper amount of light. We water them daily, if nature does not send us sufficient rain. We wait and keep watch daily, with great anticipation. Our eyes seek for a sprout. Some sign of growth. For the fruits of our labor, to reveal itself. Although we may enjoy all we put into our gardens along the way, the reward is the great surplus each plant provides for us, whether it be beauty or food, from the little seed we began with.
Cultivating Our Hearts
Isn’t that much like how our faith begins? At some point in our lives, a seed of faith in God, was planted within many of us. Whether we were aware of that exact moment happening, or not. For many of us, that may have been as babies, and nourished throughout our upbringing, from our parents. For others, it may have come much later in life. Perhaps it began with circumstances in life, or one’s own seeking for something they felt was missing. But for all of us, our spirituality can only grow and bloom, when we have given our time to cultivate that most important relationship in our lives. When we have turned to Him, in times of thanksgiving and praise, and in times of need and despair, as well. When we have spent time daily, in communion with our Savior, Jesus Christ – in thought, in prayer, in praise, in a way that keeps our heart open to Him.
To Know God, is to Better Revel in Life
Our faith in God, and our relationship with Christ, we believe is what enables us to experience a more elevated state of joy in our days here on earth. Our eyes are open to the abundant blessings that rains down on us, and all around us. We know that all good things come to us, by the grace of His loving hand. Our hearts rejoice, for the love He shows us. Likewise, we have learned, we are wise to give thanksgiving, even for the most difficult trials and tribulations in our lives. Even they have great purpose, and bring forth blessings of their own. It is easy to question God, isn’t it? We want to know why, for each one of our sufferings. But we know deep down inside, God’s love for us is pure, and beyond measure. He is there to comfort us, He does only want what is best for us, and only He knows the big picture of ours lives.
God is good. God is always good!
Even on the Darkest of Days
Oh, we know friends, the devastation life can bring. Unexpected tragedies, life-threatening or terminal illnesses, lost lives of people we love, unemployment and financial hardships, betrayals and broken hearts….the list is endless. We know….it is touching the lives of people we know and love, all around us, too. Our family too, is not untouched by the hardships and disappointments of our own, that can roll in like the tide, leaving a mess on our seashore of life, that was so clean and beautiful yesterday. The memory of what was, leaves us longing, and we wonder if we appreciated it enough, while we had it. We wonder when the tide will ever come in again, to sweep the mess away.
Despite the time and attention we have invested in our gardens, or our daily spirituality, there is always the threat of damaging elements, that can come along on any given day, to deal with for a time. In both the daily lives we live, as well as the weather, there are storms. They must be faced with courage. We must persevere. We must stand on the greatest asset we have, which is our faith, in the most difficult of times, and believe that God will help bring us through our trials, to the other side of the storm.
His love for us is filled with many promises, that are grace….
Sticky Note This
It is easy to forget, for we get wrapped up in this physical life. But we would be wise to remember, and take comfort in knowing, that ultimately, we are not meant for this world. The greatest gifts of all, a life free of any and suffering, are promised to us eternally, beyond our earthly days.
It is the mustard seed of faith, from within our hearts, that we know as truth, that always offers the light of hope.
“The Light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it” – John 1:5
Pass It On, to the Littles
By our side, our children learn about the complexities of life. From the day they are born, they experience all of the happiness, wonders, and beautiful gifts of life, as well as the realization that the world is not a perfect place, and that bad and sad things can happen, even to good people. And the value of our faith, through it all!
Parenting is our beautiful opportunity, to build up in them character to live a life pleasing to God! Thankfully, as homeschoolers, we have that ability to navigate when and how our children awake to the challenges of life, and realities of this world. I can tell you that there are many raw, honest, and deep discussions that take place, with our children. It’s a beautiful time of connection, between us all. But as a parent, to see the revelations unfold within them, is such a heart-wrenching honor. We cannot shield them from all of the hurts and truths that life can bring. Doesn’t a piece of every parent’s heart, want to? But no, it would be a great dis-service to them, to keep them ignorant to the harsh realities of life, for long.
What we can do, is arm them well, with the tools of our never-failing faith, and a strong faith in our God, who never leaves us.
Expect a Mixed Forecast, But Take Heart
Life can bring the greatest moments of laughter and happiness. We cannot count the ways in which we have been blessed! Our days can be filled with such sunshine, contentment and peace. But when the dark storms of life circumstances descend upon us, our faith can feel diminished, to the size of a mustard seed. It can be very difficult to find solace in our faith, so small and buried.
But those are the times we need our faith, more than ever! If we have allowed ourselves to be filled with bitterness and anger, it can be difficult to bring ourselves to reach. To be humble enough, to express such a need, in the face of feeling abandoned. We must find the seed though, that we alone have neglected, shriveling again in the questioning of God’s love for us. Maybe we turn away from God in anger, confused, but He never leaves us alone. We must get back to the seed of our faith, and begin again. Because it holds all of the promises, and all of the strength we need to carry us through. So that peace and contentment can be ours again. In time, if we turn our face upwards to Him again, and open our hearts, we will see He was always at work within us, through the storm. God heals hearts. Let Him!
“You will grieve, but your grief will turn into joy.” John 16:20
Light Into Darkness, and Back Again
Maybe that is part of His plan all along…..to bring us to the point where we realize, we actually need Him. To make us seek His grace. He wants us to know the comfort of His love. He wants to help us see His face…..the Light, in the darkness. To truly know Him and need Him, so that we always walk beside Him, and realize that He only wants to lead us to something greater. Don’t we always appreciate the light shining on all that is beautiful, the most after we have experienced such darkness?
Are you experiencing darkness, in this period of your life? Are you resistant, or wrestling, to sense the great faith you had on better days?
Your hope and solace, is in the mustard seed, friend. Sometimes, when we have neglected all we have built up in faith, we must begin again. In doing so, God promises our gardens can not only flourish again, but bring forth more fruit than we ever dreamed for ourselves. His love for us, is that great. That is what He wants for us, and what we truly want, for ourselves.
So we must. dig. deeper.