Farming is so similar to life.
Ecclesiastes 3 reminds us that there is a season and a time for every matter under heaven. God’s Word is wise with allegories, intertwining His creation and our lives. Like life, one season is full of rich, lush greens and yet in another, everything turns to muck, becoming bare and appearing dead. It is during these bare seasons that we can quickly forget that there is still a purpose at play. We forget that this too shall pass, and hope is not lost.
Can you relate?
Winter lingers a bit longer. The rain beats the windows and mud gathers under the cow hooves. The garden acquires all manner of manure, fallen leaves, old summer plants, spent straw and whatever the chickens won’t eat. On the surface, the muck is abundant. And below, the worms and microorganisms are making gold. In His clever wisdom, God has ingeniously made a way to transform this muck into vitamins and nutrients needed for future fruit, which brings joy and fuel.
I only hear silence and see death. He sees this critical season as necessary for what’s to come – healing.
On the other hand, there is Summer. The harvest and sight of hoped-for fruit. Those garden vitamins tower corn stalks over our heads and fill our hands with ripe tomatoes, ready for feasting and preserving. The pasture provides vigorous grass and full cows, chickens chasing bugs and a big farm dog napping in the shade. The flowers drip nectar and fruit hangs from the trees and bushes.
The work is heavy, but the gifted bounty is full of joy. Rich nourishing fruit for fuel.
Today, it’s Spring. The in-between time where I work, wait, trust and hope for what can come this Summer.
I delicately plant tiny seeds with a handful of soil, carefully trying to replicate God’s perfect combination of timing, light, temperature and air movement. I monitor, thin, transplant and baby these starts for the hope of Summer.
Outside, I prune the fruit trees and bushes, monitoring them for bugs & disease. I calculate the depleting hay in the barn and the increasing space in the freezers for the hope of Summer.
I plan our crop rotation and animal harvesting, then check fences and sharpen the tools. I squeeze the garden dirt and check the weather for planting for the hope of Summer.
I work. I wait. The unknown is massive. What will do well and give surplus? What won’t and leave us lacking? What will the aphids, birds or gophers eat? How will the rainfall and temperatures impact it all? It’s out of my control.
More working, waiting and trusting. And hoping. Such is life.
Winter lingers a bit longer. There is suffering, a distressing discovery, death, a painful diagnosis, hardship. Life feels cold, wet and full of muck. Some souls feel God’s very presence while others feel utterly alone and want to hibernate. God is still at work.
Summer is the hoped-for fruit. It is the time to dance, to laugh, enjoy the bounty of richer and healthier relationship and selves. The time to have peace in the place of healing that God has brought you. It is a time to celebrate.
And then there is Spring – the in-between.
It is the tension between the painful manure and the promised bounty. Sometimes with grieving and waiting. Sometimes with working, undergoing treatment or processing the pain with God and with others. The preparation is necessary and yet there is so much out of our control.
We work, we wait, we hope. And we trust.
Regardless of what season you are in, may you hold tight to the truths of God’s Word. Proverbs 3:5-6 reminds each of us to trust in the LORD with all our hearts and to not lean on our own understanding. In all our ways acknowledge Him, And He will make our paths straight. Romans 8:28 goes on to say, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose.”
Be encouraged. No matter what season your soul resonates with, God is in it all. Trust. He will produce the harvest in time.
Written by Beth Kershner
Courageous Girls Leadership Coach, Farmer and Mom of 3
Faith & Feast Farm outside of Portland, OR
For a deeper look at how God uses the manure in our lives to create richness, read chapter 2 in Courageous: Being Daughters Rooted in Grace by Terra Mattson or When the Heart Waits by Sue Monk Kidd.