Tuesday, August 18, 2015

My Wild Church

My grandma always tells this story of the time I went out and picked strawberries. I brought them in, mud and all, washed them, removed stems, and put them in the fridge. All by myself. I was 6 years old. It is still my favorite fruit.

Dressed from head to toe for the wild blackberry patch, I will never forget holding my breath, on the edge of the field, as my grandma sprayed me down with bug repellent for the hunt. After a long cool shower with Dial soap, I would run up to my grandma's kitchen where she would have those berries all rinsed and ready to go swimming in a bowl of fresh whipping cream. It was magic.

My grandma taught me most of what I know about the land and it's ways.
I love to garden because of her.

I meet God in the garden; my wild church full of good fruit and a few unruly weeds - all jumping out of their pews, praise hands, guts and glory - alleluia.

Every day is Sunday here, and the congregation is full of all types; old, young, diseased, healthy, weak, strong, stubborn, lazy, and just ripe. All shapes and sizes fall in, represent. Tending, weeding, guiding, harvesting - a gentle communion - God coming to earth to do His work for us and in us.

I am drawn to the land. I think it's because it feels like He's been here, is still here; extending His hand to me and my family in the gift of fruit. Every visit a surprise. Color so alive you can taste it. I think it's because I feel close to grandma here; extending her motherly wisdom, taking care of me, so I can take care of my family.

We bought a home this spring with a yard big enough for a garden, but I chose to plant on my grandparents' land in the country instead. I didn't want to miss the chance for me, for my kids, to spend time with grandma and grandpa doing something so rich and life-giving. Tabby dog runs around the yard, happy to see us. Grandpa revs up a tractor or lawn mower to the delight of two little boys. Grandma drives around in her John Deere gator passing on her secrets, handing me a hoe, stopping to dig up some carrots for me or take baby Bella for a spin.

And I think it's important. I think it's vital that we step away from the rush of the American lifestyle and slow down, breathe a little, grow something outside of ourselves. I feel like I am suffocating sometimes as the to-do list creeps up to my neck. Someone always needs something, there is always something to be done. But in the garden we are on God's time, and I like that.

This year we are growing green beans, peas, brussels sprouts, broccoli, cabbage, kohlrabi, cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, carrots, sweet corn, zucchini, spaghetti squash, and lettuces! We've also been able to harvest apples, peaches, blueberries, black raspberries and strawberries! Thank you, Lord, for the land, for grandma and grandpa, for the life you've given to the generations that gather around the garden for communion with You. Amen.

For more #tlfgarden15 adventures -- catch us on INSTAGRAM!!!

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