I toss a stack of weeds into the green waste bin and call out, “It’s time to plant seeds!”
Two sets of feet pound toward my husband and I as we get to work.
He pulls out the foot-long, gnarled remnants of last year’s carrot patch and I top off the soil in the planter. I mix the earth and form 3 furrows, drawing a line down each one for the boys to aim at as they scatter seeds. I have no idea if you should make furrows for carrot seeds (I’m just pretending to be a farmer, after all), but it looks neat!
The boys love all carrots, but multi-colored ones are their favorite. It’s a great adventure to pull carrots for dinner when you never know what color you’ll get! They love the dark purple, rosy red, and classic orange. White carrots have an almost spicy edge to their flavor, and thus remain the spoils of the adults. The yellow ones are tough and stringy, universally disliked.
But on planting day, all carrots are equal. The joy of getting their small hands dirty far outweighs any concern over how many white or yellow carrots will infiltrate dinner this summer. Lying quietly in their neat little furrows, the seeds give no clue as to their destiny. Today they are all bright pink!
I may have bought coated seeds on accident…
Our youngest runs out the next day looking for sprouts, but his brother knows better. He’s been around the gardening block a time or two. It will be months before they learn what kind of carrots they planted. During that time we will water the earth, squeal with excitement when the first sprouts come up, and do our best to decide when they are big enough to pull (not as easy as it sounds).
But the final result is not up to us. That’s part of the adventure!
In this season of fasting, we surrender something small to remind ourselves that we have, in reality, surrendered everything.
One of the hardest things to give up is our control over who we will become. We are born into contexts that try to define that for us, and much of our life is spent either going with that flow or pushing against it in order to define ourselves.
But on the day we surrender to Christ, we become someone new! We are no longer confined by the ‘inevitable’ paths, yet no longer in control of the divergent one either. Our new freedom is found in the paradoxical act of surrender.
How I wish I could control what kind of carrot I will become! I have so many ideas of what would benefit the world, my family, myself. But all of this is now held out to Jesus, hands open, to see what He will do with it. Likewise, all the faults and wounds I have grown accustomed to are held out hopefully, to see what Jesus can make of them.
When the first sprouts of New Life come up, we dance with joy! There is eagerness and excitement in watching something grow. And then come the long months of waiting. We hope for healing, and it doesn’t come. We desire to be the person we’ve come to believe we are and find that Jesus has a different vision. Life continues to be a mix of joy and pain. And we are left in the ‘neutral zone’, wondering what the goal of all this is.
“What [apprentices of Jesus], and God, get out of their lifetime is chiefly the person they become. And that is why their real life is so important.” –Dallas Willard (The Divine Conspiracy)
If we persevere, if we resist the urge to re-make ourselves again into the image of what we were before, we will see the final result of all this waiting. All along the way we see hints of what Jesus is growing us into, but on the day we come into the fullness of the Kingdom of God, our new self will be revealed in all its glory!
So we trust through all the surrender, knowing that we could not have envisioned anything half so grand, and Jesus will not settle for anything less.
Lenten Reflection #2
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