After lying fallow for six years, my garden is part of life again. The feel of the soil is soft under my bare feet, warm from the sun. It was soothing to level the surface, plan the layout, and envision the harvest in later months. Beans, peas, herbs, lettuce, carrots, tomatoes, peppers, squash—all familiar favorites.
Growing up with a garden spread across acres, my 9×12 plot is just enough to reminisce without the commitment of canning jars. To this day, I can remember peeling the tomatoes for what seemed like days to a child, but was probably only a handful of hours. Raising crops was not a favorite pastime for a nine-year-old, though now, many moons later, I am grateful for the lessons learned from the rhythm of raising our own food.
As I have watched punishing winds take a toll on tender new plantings and whisk away freshly tilled soil, an analogy about parenting began to form:
Planting the seeds is the news that you are pregnant—the anticipation begins.
Tender shoots appear with the excitement of the first ultrasound.
Recognizable leaves sprout; the baby is born.
Roots develop a firm foundation—your toddler becomes more stable and self-sufficient.
The growth cycle indicates the need for fertilizer and the tending necessary to prepare little ones for more independence from age four to six.
By now, the weeds are more noticeable, starting to crowd the young plants, so your diligence is crucial in giving room for good character from six to twelve.
Pests discover the sweet blossoms that are the promise in the life of a twelve to fifteen year old—have no mercy on those that seek to spoil budding potential.
Wind and hail come most unexpectedly, tearing fragile leaves, bruising fruit still on the vine of those fifteen to eighteen—shield them when possible, give extra care as needed.
The mature plant is now ready to produce abundant fruit in the life prepared to yield in season.
Planting, tending, protecting a garden, as well as teaching, nurturing, launching our children, all takes time, knowledge, prayer, wisdom, and work. Ah, but the anticipated harvest! Each will generate a different yield, various kinds of fruit, yet all is received as blessings, giving thanks to God for his faithfulness as the Master Gardener.