A few years ago, we had some landscaping issues in our yard that were becoming problematic. Water wasn’t draining in the right direction, rocks and roots were poking up above the ground making it difficult to cut the grass, and there were dangerous holes on the property. To solve some of these issues, we began creating islands of plants and shrubs to beautifully disguise our problem areas and protect ourselves against any liability.
I have to admit that I loved the whole process!
Together my Mom and I had a blast designing the spaces, picking out plants, and watching our visions come to life. Plus, it was spring so watching the flowers bloom was SO pretty!!!
There was just one problem: Plants and shrubs can be expensive.
To help save money, we bought the smallest plants we could with the assurance that they would grow.
Still, as we put our baby plants into the ground I have to admit I felt like they looked pretty pathetic. I mean, in my mind, I’d envision the beautiful gardens I’d seen in others yards, in books, or on television. The reality was a lot of much with just these puny little bushes filling in just a little space.
That’s how it was the first few years---small.
Yet, even though they were small, they required a LARGE amount of work.
The baby plants needed to be fed and Miracle-gro’d, and watered. They needed pray to keep bugs away. And the weeds!!! Because there was more mulch than plants, it seemed like we were constant pulling weeds out of the gardens. Even though we were assured the plants would grow, I have to admit that for the first 2-3 years all I could do was think, “GROW ALREADY!!!!”
And in their own time they did.
Over time with the proper care and nutrition, each plant grew.
Today, we have some very lovely gardens that honestly require less maintenance.
In fact, some areas have even grown so much that they now have to be pruned and trimmed to keep them from overgrowing their boundaries and taking over the yard! Even as I remember the days when I wished they would grow more quickly, I now sometimes think: Just stop growing and stay the way you are!
This month, as I’ve been thinking about small things, my beautiful gardens reminded me of Jesus words in Matthew 13:31:
He told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. Though it is the smallest of all seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds come and perch in its branches.”
You see, the truth is that so many things in spiritual life model our physical world.
In these verses, Jesus says that the kingdom of heaven is like a very very small seed.
Even though it starts off small---with the proper care---it can grow large, strong, and healthy.
That’s what happened with my plants---and it can happen in every one of our spiritual lives.
You see, when we come to Jesus we feel small. We have dreams and plans of what we what to be and what we want God to do in our lives, yet we look at our actual situation and feel puny. We wonder, “Will I ever grow into the woman of God I want to be? Will I ever step into my true calling and purpose?”
Yet, as we feed on God’s Word and soak in His presence spending time with Him, as we allow the Holy Spirit to pull the weeds of sin out of our lives, and do what is necessary to protect our hearts from the things of this world, we continue to grow.
Over time, our roots become strong in Him.
As we grow, we become more and more a reflection of Jesus able to fulfill the plans and purposes that He has for our lives.
Day by day, year by year, we grow. Until we ultimately look around and say, “I’m amazed at the work God has done. His plan really was amazing!”
Perhaps today you feel small.
You wonder if you will ever become the woman you know God has called you to be or fulfill the calling God has on your life.
Today I encourage you to remember the mustard seed and don’t lose heart.
Remember: the real issue isn’t when you’ll get where you want to be but whether or not you are growing.
Are you feeding yourself God’s Word?
Are you spending time in His presence?
Are you consistently pulling weeds of sin from your life?
These are the things that help you grow spiritually.
I promise you, if you are being faithful in these things, you will grow---spiritually, mentally, and emotionally.
Like all things in God’s kingdom, growth takes time. Little by little as you are consistently faithful and obedient, you will grow.