Bear Fruit

I have the blackest of black thumbs. I have loved the thought of a beautiful flower garden and made imaginary plans for rows of vegetables in neat and tidy upraised beds. But gardening requires time, patience, effort and some other skill I most certainly do not possess. Whatever this mystery skill is, I have not developed it in my attempt to maintain house plants of all varieties, a low maintenance bonsai tree (though, I have since learned they are not actually low maintenance), or an actual cactus. I have followed feeding, watering, and sunning instructions to a T… and every single leaf and petal shriveled and died. Even the all weather, high drought resistant bushes in front of our house died!

A gardener I am not, but I pray I remain spiritually fruitful for all my physically fruitless lack.

Colossians 1:9-12

And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to Him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; being strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy; giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.

The true test of remaining tethered to the Lord is His character blossoming in your life. The evidence of a life lived in step with the Spirit is His fruit manifesting in you. He is the gardener who provides Himself as the living water we need and the Son to shine His light in the darkness of the world. He prunes away all that is dead and causes decay, which leads to new growth.

The Lord has been pruning away more of my selfishness and developing in me His patience, goodness, and gentleness. I am still just as surprised as anyone that He called our family to do online school from home this year. There was a difficult transition period as we all learned the new expectations, schedules, and technology. There were tears and adjustments needed, most importantly attitude adjustments. One of my children particularly did not want to do school at home and his attitude spurred my own into thinking, “Well, I don’t want you home all day with me either!” But with time and practice, we have both learned the beauty and joy that is possible when we work together to grow and learn.

It is tempting to focus on what has been lost. We no longer had daily interactions with friends, the schedule of the classroom, or the comfort and familiarity of our old state. But after half a year of adjustment, we now know there was much we gained also. We gained a new community with new friends, new experiences in our new region and state, and have been blessed with extra time together as a family. There have been plenty of times where brothers and mom have been frustrated with each other, but the safest place to learn to resolve conflicts is within the home.

Despite my blackest of black thumbs, one of my sons was able to have a successful germination project. I was worried that the seed wouldn’t germinate properly, so we tried three different types of seeds. The assignment would not be a failure if the seeds didn’t sprout, but my son was so hopeful it would grow. Each day he checked his seedling and was so excited when some roots broke free from the seed! A little later, a green stem sprouted on the opposite side of the seed. Then two little leaves burst forth! I do not think military housing would appreciate our planting an apple tree in the backyard, but we celebrated the new growth.

I am thankful that God created the seed, He provides the resources, and He produces the growth. All He requires of me is a willing heart that is tethered to His truth and devoted to following Him.

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