Garden and Trust

The last month has been one of the most taxing and one of the most rewarding all at the same time. I’ve pushed myself harder physically, emotionally, and mentally than I have in a long time. And it feels good! It also hurts…a lot!

Our pasture, before

Last summer, God gave Andrew a vision to start a CSA garden on our property. When he came home and told me about it, I was skeptical to say the least. He was so excited and all I could think was, I didn’t hear that from the Lord! But over the next three weeks God clearly confirmed it to me and I caught the excitement.

Over the years of our marriage we’ve learned the hard way that if God speaks and we don’t listen there are consequences. Sometimes those consequences are really hard to take and make for very difficult times in our lives, sometimes it’s simply a removal of blessing. Either way, we’ve come to discover that it’s a whole lot better when we obey. It may not be an easy road, but there are abundant blessings on it!

So we chose to obey. We’ve been at work all winter researching and learning. We chose a no till, no dig gardening method to transform our pasture into a workable plot. The reason we chose that is because the grass is so think in the pasture that we knew we’d be fighting a losing battle all summer if we didn’t do something at the outset to combat the grass. And we definitely didn’t want to spray harsh chemicals.

One thing we’ve learned over the last few months is there is so much we can’t control. We can’t make spring come faster, no matter how much we want it to, we can’t make the rain hold off until we’re done setting all our plots, we can’t make the sun stay up longer, we can’t force our bodies beyond a certain point, we don’t even have control over when the seeds sprout.

Grow little plants!

I don’t think we could have imagined how difficult this process was going to be! And I’m thankful God didn’t reveal that part to us! He has been so faithful to give us strength and stamina for the day and has helped us to not worry about tomorrow.

He also provided in a big and unexpected way, like He’s so good to do! A month ago, a good friend called and asked if she could move in with us for a couple months. “You’ve got a bedroom free, I hear.”

Our bonus adult, Steph. We love you!

We’ve lovingly dubbed her our “bonus adult” and I’m telling you, if you have a large family and God gives you a big vision, you just plain and simply need a bonus adult. God is doing a big work in her life this year and I hope and pray we can support and encourage her while she’s with us. And I’m so thankful she’s willing to jump in on our crazy adventures.

Our pasture, in progress
2 lines of rows done, 50 planting rows

I knew this was going to be hard, especially on my out of shape body! But I had no idea how difficult it would be spiritually. There are so many things you can’t control when it comes to gardening! And I’m seeing how little trust I have in God. I’ve had to come face to face with my lack of trust, repent and all the Lord’s help over and over. I’ve had to walk myself through past experiences where the Lord has proven faithful and remind my heart and mind that He is still faithful. He has been growing my faith so much in the midst of this!

I’ve also been surprised at who is for us and who is against us. We’ve had so many amazing people support us and pray for us and walk with us. We’ve had people come and spend a day here working with us to help us accomplish this vision. And we’ve had those who tell us to quit and that is never going to work. Even in that we just have to keep going back to God and confirming that He wants us on this path. And He’s so good to do that every time!

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6

Finished product photos to come!

Worry Into Prayer

As we’ve been dreaming and scheming over this winter, I’ve felt more anxiety than ever in my life. There are so many unknowns and I love to know. There are so many what ifs and I don’t like to play those out in my mind. There are so many new experiences and my mind has tried to process it all. There’s so much new knowledge and as my sister told me, “only so many plates can fit on the table before they start falling off the edge”.

Through it all God has been so faithful. There have been quite a few moments where Andrew and I have looked at each other and said, “Should we just quit? What in the world are we doing? This is too much. I don’t think it’s going to work.”

But God.

Every time we find ourselves at that breaking point, God steps in. His words are life-giving and He shows up in big ways. And I’m always humbled and always awed. At this point in my life I probably shouldn’t be. I mean, he’s come through for the last 42 years. Why do I think He won’t this time?

And, yet, I keep finding myself worrying and fretting. I keep getting to the point of giving up. Someday I’ll learn… maybe.

This latest habitual cycle surrounded newspaper, cardboard, and compost. Sounds ridiculous when I write it out, but there you have it. Who knew you could have anxiety over finding enough trash and poop, but turns out you can!

But God.

I was chatting with my milk guy about starting a CSA and he got so excited. He was thrilled and wanted to tell all the other families that get milk from him. As I drove away from his house, I was feeling so anxious. I should feel excited when people want to sign up but I wasn’t feeling it that day. So I prayed as I drove. I asked God to provide the compost and newspaper we needed.

It was a 30 minute drive to where I was headed. When I got there I checked my phone and I had a couple texts from my milk guy. One said, “hey, you can use my tractor anytime you want and I have a huge pile of compost and a couple farmers I know have compost too.” The next said, “my wife can get pallets and pallets of old newspaper if you need it.”

I mean, could God be any more visible than that?? Here I am worrying and God has it all lined up already. I even told God one day, “if you really want us to do this, then you have to provide what we need.”

God’s like, yeah, I know. I already have it sorted out.

I’m not usually a worrier. But this has often seemed huge to me. I’m guessing you have something in your life that seems huge too. Maybe you’re trying to launch a business, maybe you’re facing some serious difficulties with your spouse or with a child. I don’t know how this is going to all turn out, for you or me, but I do know God is here, ever present and ready to hear our prayers and answer them.

I remember a pastor once tell a story. A man came to him and said, “I don’t know how to meditate. You say meditate on the Word but I don’t know how. What does that look like?” The pastor replied, “everyone knows how to meditate. Do you worry?” The man answered, “yes, sometimes.” The pastor asked, “what does it look like when you worry?” “Well,” the man replied, “I usually can’t stop thinking about whatever it is that’s worrying me. I go over and over it in my mind, thinking through all the possible outcomes.”

“Then you know how to meditate”, the pastor told him.

Did you know you get to choose what you spend your time thinking about and worrying about? You really do. It may seem impossible but you can take captive every thought. I’m not saying it’s easy but it is possible.

And when I find myself worrying, mulling something over and over in my mind, I know it’s time to pray. I can turn those worries into prayers pretty easily by focusing them upward instead of in a speak in my mind. I’m not perfect at it, but I sure have had a lot of practice this winter!

Guaranteed I’ll have more opportunities to practice this. But I’m not going to worry about that! (See what I did there?;))

Winter Workings

We’ve been hard at work here on CSA stuff! Even in the midst of frigid temps, blustery winds, and ice pellets, we’re thinking and working on spring plans!

First and foremost, Andrew has been building new shelving and hanging grow lights. Before long there will be lots and lots of little seedlings under those lights, hopefully growing happily in our basement!

In the dark and cold of winter we can feel a little tired and unmotivated. I don’t know about you, but I kind of go into hibernation mode and have to force myself out of my rocking chair and away from the fireplace to get things done. But before we know it, spring will be here! Even the other day I went out early and the birds were singing loudly and cheerfully and it brought vivid images of spring and warmth to mind.

So much is happening here and it always seems as though we’re running low on time. But I have to keep my mind on God’s promises that He is the one leading this charge and he won’t leave us alone, not even for a moment.

Here’s a great praise I just have to share! I’ve been worrying (I know I’m not supposed to worry but I was) about a specific aspect of the garden. Since we’re trying this weedless gardening method, there are certain steps we need to take to set up the land. And we need certain items for that.

We’ve been collecting newspapers and cardboard (thank you to everyone who has contributed) and we’ll keep collecting that. Did you know newspapers are really hard to find? Everyone reads online now. If you have attacks of old newspaper let me know!

The other part is mulch for the walkways and compost for the planting rows. The thing I’ve been getting over is the compost. We’ve called a few places and had no luck or it’s been so ridiculously expensive it’ll take any profit we try to make.

In the midst of this worrying I forgot to pray about it. I should know to turn worry into pray but I’m not always great at it. I shared with my milk guy that we were staying a CSA and asked if I could put a flier at his place. He was so excited about it and was happy to help.

After I left his place I had to drive about 20 minutes so I started praying about our CSA and specifically that the Lord would find us compost.

I bet you can guess where I’m going with this! I got to my destination and had a text from my milk guy. “Hey I have a bunch of compost and a friend of mine does too. I’ll check with a few more people if you want.”

Thanks, God! Not only for the compost but also for the reminder that when move and prompt us, you’ll provide every step of the way. Thank you that you answer prayers!