Grow Greener Spiritually
Posted on 02/15/2021 by Rebecca Wetzler
Purposeful overcomer sharing the fruit of faith
Author Masterminds Charter Member
Spring is still a ways off, but it’s nice to know the bright time of the year will be here soon after several months of the dark cold. As temperatures increased, my grandmother used to search the barren, snow-covered trees for the first pussy willows; a sure sign winter was on its way out. Once found, she would collect a few in a vase as if they were flowers. Though she’s been gone over 25 years, I still think of her and smile when I see those soft, gray buds appear.
A little while after the pussy willows bloom, I start watching for my favorite signs of spring: the day I can almost see a tinge of green on the trees; a few days later I can see the tinge of new green leaves; and then, almost overnight, the trees burst forth with fresh, lush green everywhere. It seems like nature imperceptibly peeks out, and then leaps into full bloom shouting spring’s arrival. I love to see that transformation from gray to green, an annual affirmation of Genesis 1:11, ‘Then God said, “Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.” And it was so.’
It is amazing how small gardens, farm crops, entire forests begin as small seeds buried in the soil. I admire people who have the green thumbs to tend beautiful yards, grow colorful vegetable or flower gardens, or work on farms producing our food. As for me, I was only successful with one plant, because it was hardy and survived my forgetting to water it half the time. I did not kill it. Years ago, one of my nephews lived with me off and on, and one time he had a small kitten. I noticed my plant withered then died not long after they moved in. Turns out the kitten chose my plant as a second kitty box; my poor plant couldn’t handle being used as a bathroom. I was very bummed since it had lived several years under my poor care.
I think part of my problem is there are many things about growing plants I do not understand. One, in particular, is a little hard to wrap my mind around – organic fertilizers. It would never occur to me that plant and animal waste combined into a smelly stew would then be stirred into the soil used to grow crops. I cannot help but grimace, realizing I most certainly have unknowingly eaten vegetables plucked from such an unsavory mixture.
I have always thought waste is just that, waste, the unusable residue. While the title of one of Erma Bombeck’s books is The Grass is Always Greener over the Septic Tank, I thought it was merely a tongue-in-cheek[ metaphor rather than an actual phenomenon. Turns out it is a real thing, demonstrating residual plant and animal waste actually have recyclable nutrients.
A caveat, though, is that the greener grass can mean something good or something bad. It may just mean the leech field is providing the grass above a little more water, nitrogen, and phosphorous than the rest of the lawn; or it may mean the septic tank is leaking rather than leeching, and it will gradually create a bio-hazard swamp which will be unpleasant and expensive to deal with.
The bottom line for me, I will still eat my vegetables. Even if I try planting something again, I will be buying my fertilizer at the local home improvement store instead of making it myself with a backyard compost pile of smelly goo.
Figuratively, our lives’ backyards have personal compost piles which may be filled with broken dreams instead of crushed eggshells, heart wounds tossed in like orange peels, leftover relationship hurts added rather than dinner scraps, or stewing unforgiveness and anger akin to a co-mingled waste residue.
How we care for our unsavory private mixtures determines whether it leeches growth and wisdom or leaks hazardous consequences into our lives. To successfully use my personal compost, I need the Lord’s guidance. In Matthew 13’s ‘Parable of the Sower,’ a farmer spreads his seeds on various ground surfaces, but only one is prepared to sustain growth.
The parable begins with seeds falling on a pathway where birds quickly eat them. Meaning if one lacks understanding, the seeds of God’s message are quickly swept away by worldly disbelief. Secondly, flipping seeds onto rocky ground may resemble where one initially starts understanding, but when believing causes trouble, the growth quickly withers, as it has no sustaining roots in faith. The next handful of seeds fall onto unkept ground, where thorns of worldly worries and desires can choke out hope and trust in God’s Word. Finally, seeds are planted in good soil; soil prepared to hear, understand, believe in following God’s Truth; soil that remixes lessons learned from unpleasant, challenging, and tragic events back into existing faithful soil, continually strengthening the unwavering belief in God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. He is the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End, and the Way, the Truth, the Resurrection, and Creator of Life itself.
I am thankful I have chosen to tend to my spiritual compost pile versus abandoning it as I would poor plants. A lifetime of experiences mixed in with deliberate growth in knowledge of God’s Word and faith in Jesus Christ has shown me that, though I may at first feel only imperceptibly hopeful under challenging circumstances, as I pray and seek His face, my hope blooms full and colors my gray view with the light of His Truth. Then I can say with the Psalmist, ‘The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.’
May I suggest you cultivate growing greener spiritually?
Grow Greener Spiritually was first published with Readers and Writers Book Club: https://readersandwritersbookclub.com.