The impatient gardener
I have a big love for a good porch. I think it’s the Texan in me… my southern roots. Actually, if you know me you know it’s hard for me to stay in one place. But if I have a good porch swing, you can find me there for hours.
When I first got my house in Greece, I realized I had the opportunity to create a good porch that could host me for hours. On one side of my view I have a view of the village Greek Orthodox church and on the other side I have the Aegean Sea with Mt. Olympus in the back.
I’ve been in the process of finding a porch swing (which I’m currently sitting on as I write this), and of course creating a little balcony oasis.
When I first started this search, I had this wild idea to have a garden.
I’ve actually never been in one place long enough to tend to a garden, but now that I have the gift of digging my roots deep in a city, I can grow tomatoes and cucumbers and basil and lavender (my favorite) and peonies (my other favorite) and oranges! Mind you, my balcony is tiny but somehow I’ve fit a little garden, a table with chairs, and a porch swing.
What do you need when you want to start a garden? Seeds.
Well, that’s until I found out you can buy plants already past the seed process and now in the growing and harvesting process.
So, I went to our local fytoria (garden center) and every plant I wanted was already growing!
Give me the lavender that has the fullest bloom. I want an orange tree with the most oranges.
Also they planted every plant for me at the garden center, with the soil and everything.
I hopped in the car, with all the rewards and fruit of having a garden without any of the work. And you know what, I love that. Because I’m by nature NOT the most patient person in the world. I want results now. I want answers now.
I grew up in a culture (which I’m so thankful for) where I saw instantaneous change- you share about Jesus, and you leave the people you were preaching to and go to the next place. Conference after Conference. You throw seeds out, hoping it falls on good soil, but you never stay long enough to see if the seeds took root.
The way I grew up is vital and a beautiful part of the Kingdom, not to be discredited or belittled.
but there’s another part of the Kingdom. One I didn’t know, but that the Lord had been leading me to. It was the part of the Kingdom where when you are sowing seeds, you are actually present long enough to see if that seed you planted will produce fruit.
At Abbahouse Thessaloniki we are working with children of all ages who have come from abandoned and abused situations.
How many seeds of love have we planted in their little hearts. But in this kind of work, you don’t see complete change the first day. Not the second, not even the third. And many times (usually after crazy cussing and fighting from a child you’ve been continually loving) you wonder if anything you have done has been worth it.
But you don’t leave, even if it feels like the seeds you have sown should have made some impact. You walk with them, you keep loving and one day you look back and realize that the places where you’ve sowed, the things you watered, God brought change in their lives.
But I’ve seen, now being on this side of life, the fruit that takes time to develop, the victories that you have the privilege to stay around and see…that fruit has an ingredient of preciousness that is different than something yielded instantly.
There are some things in life that happen in an instant. There are some things in life that take time to develop.
When I ate the first vegetable from the garden I “grew”, It was good, and a lot more exciting than just buying it at the store. But to be honest, it wasn’t the exciting moment I thought it would be.
Because I wasn’t around to see every stage…it didn’t take patience to yield the fruit so I didn’t appreciate the process.
My next blog will be continuing this thought, but I want to leave you with this: if you’re in a season where it’s taking time to see fruit, you’ve wanted to see change in people you’ve been helping but it’s taking so much time…
Keep steady. Keep close. Keep loving.
for in the right time you will see fruit if you don’t give up. (galatians 6:9)
Want to read more?
Love is not for the faint of heart: 3 things on loving difficult people
I'm writing to all my friends who have not quite figured out the virtue of patience. Listen, I know my patience should be bigger.