Laboring to Enter Into Rest

A friend here in Kansas City posted these photos on my facebook wall yesterday:

"I took this pic when went shopping for Mother's day...the word labor came to mind then WAIT for it...."

"I took the pic AGAIN and the words laboring to enter into rest showed the complete pic and it was an encouragement as this school year is ending on one of the worst uphill climbs I've ever endured...on a side note I would like to come see your garden sometime & labor too!"

It was encouraging (in so many ways) and really speaks into this season we’re in right now.

It also reminded me of something the Lord reminded me of when we first began preparing our garden. We started with just a hoe, a hand-held trowels, and our own hands. We hacked away at the dirt and weeds for an hour….and cleared about a fifth of the (small) garden. Maybe not even that. A couple nights later we went out again for another hour and got about the same amount done. It was hard work.

As I tugged at the weeds, though, God reminded me of several things:

1) Before you can plant anything (much less harvest anything), you have to prepare the soil. And that’s hard work. There are unwanted and harmful things that have to be rooted out (and often you have to dig deep to make sure you get all the roots so they don’t grow back). You also have to began adding compost and nutrients to the soil long before you even think about planting the seeds (ideally all fall and winter and into spring). It’s time-consuming, but so necessary to later growth and fruit.

2) This step of preparing the soil is SO much harder and more time-consuming if you aren’t equipped with the right tools. If we had a rototiller, or even a garden rake and a second hoe, a job that took us hours would have been done much quicker. Perhaps this season of equipping that we feel God has called us to here in Kansas City will give us some of those tools for our spiritual gardening.

3) The labor of those before us and around us makes gardening a lot easier. We always had a garden growing up, but my mom always did the tilling an preparing of the soil so I never realized just how much work went into it before I planted my little plot of vegetables. Even with our garden here, the couple who lived in the house while Maria was in Africa dug the garden plot. Though we still had to battle a fair amount of weeds, it was nothing compared to digging sod out. I appreciate the work they did to prepare the spot. And in the end, we ended up hiring a guy to till the garden for us. You can bet I appreciated his help in this gardening process, too.

And now our garden is planted (and a few things have sprouted already, thanks to all the rain this week!). If we ever get a break from this rain, I may have to sit outside in one of the lawn chairs, look at the garden, and reflect some more about laboring to enter into rest….

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