Every early spring and early fall, I planted zinnia and cosmos seeds in the small beds that surrounded the two stately mesquite trees in our front yard. My hands would gently rake up the dirt, haphazardly spread the seeds around, and quickly cover them with the loose soil. Soon after, I would drench the soil with our water hose and repeat this process every sunny day.
As the seedlings and eventual buds emerged, my heart was so happy. And when the blooms opened up, I basked in all the color that now seemed to awaken our lawn. But one thing I did notice, our flowers never grew too tall, the blooms never spread too wide, and in a short time, the foliage often turned brown and crispy.
Our family moved this summer from our home near the Texas Gulf Coast to a spot in a growing city in the Texas Hill Country. When we arrived, my husband noted one of the garden beds in our new backyard. It was built for a purpose, dug deep and surrounded by wooden logs. The soil inside this garden bed was rich, nurtured and supported by other organic matter.
While we spent a week starting to unpack, we threw some zinnia and cosmos seeds in this garden bed, hoping for some fall blooms.
The flowers have opened, and they are magnificent. I am in awe of their size, their color, their freshness, their beauty.
Our seeds planted in our former home were spread thinly in soil that was full of clay, never fully tilled, and not punctuated with plant food and the like. But here, in our new home, the soil was ready to support new life with all its natural elements.
With this move, our oldest son has started 6th grade, middle school. My prayers were heavy this past summer as we tried to prepare him in making this transition in a brand-new school and in a brand-new town.
And praise God, so far, he is doing so well.
The other night as I was tucking him in, a precious time that I will hold onto as long as I can, I started talking about our flowers out back.
I told our son that I believe the reason they are abundantly richer is because of the more nurturing soil in which they were planted.
“And this is how you will be nurtured when you let your friends become your soil and truly enrich your life,” I told him.
Middle school has introduced him and us to quick changes. The school environment is completely different from elementary school, and the things he sees and hears on a daily basis tend to make me squirm just a bit. But we are also seeing a young boy growing up. He is taking on new responsibilities with ease and seems to relish in this newfound area of growth and independence.
“Mom and dad have tried to establish some roots for you,” I said to our son this one evening. “And now, you need to ensure that the soil you stay planted in is supportive, is encouraging, and is filled with friends and experiences that can continue to help you grow in your faith.
“You will encounter challenging rocks that stand in your way, and you’ll have days of drought, but focus on staying in good soil, so that you will continue to bloom toward Jesus.”
I am thankful that we have these blooms in our backyard to see and enjoy for a few more weeks, and for God’s perfect provision of setting some life lessons in place. As I think about each of our sons “blooming where they are planted,” I more so pray for that soil around them, that it continually sustains and enhances their place in our world.
The Parable of the Sower
“That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat beside the sea. And great crowds gathered about him, so that he got into a boat and sat down. And the whole crowd stood on the beach. And he told them many things in parables, saying: “A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seeds fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured them. Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and immediately they sprang up, since they had no depth of soil, but when the sun rose they were scorched. And since they had no root, they withered away. Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. Other seeds fell on good soil and produced grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. He who has ears, let him hear.” —Matthew 13:1-9.