Will This Be Your Summer of Growth?
Does the sunshine and warmth bring to mind lovely gardens full of blooming flowers and ripe vegetables? If you are ready for some growth in your own life, why not begin here:
Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 2 Peter 3.18
Such spiritual growth is a process called sanctification — one that lasts a lifetime, and even into eternity. But along the way, great strides can be made, even if some days it feels like we are advancing in maturity “three steps forward, two steps back.”
Growth takes time. Patience.
And because we are each unique, it doesn’t help to compare ourselves with others. Or to try and speed up the process.
I’m reminded of two favorite theologians – Frog and Toad in Arnold Lobel’s books. In “The Garden,” Toad decides that he likes Frog’s garden and wants to have one too.
So Toad plants some seeds, puts his head close to the ground and yells loudly, “Now seeds, start growing!” Of course, when he looks, it doesn’t appear that the seeds are growing.
Frog comes along and encourages Toad to be patient. “Leave them alone for a few days. Let the sun shine on them, let the rain fall on them. Soon your seeds will start to grow.”
But Toad is convinced his seeds are afraid of the dark so he stays up all night reading, singing and playing music for his seeds. Still, they do not appear to grow. Exhausted and disillusioned, he falls asleep.
“Toad, Toad, wake up,” says Frog. “Look at your garden!”
Toad looks at his garden. Little green plants are coming up out of the ground. “At last,” shouts Toad, “my seeds have stopped being afraid to grow!”
“And now you will have a nice garden too,” says Frog.
“Yes,” says Toad, “but you were right, Frog. It was very hard work.” [Arnold Lobel, “Frog and Toad Together,”1979]
Like Toad I have tried to cajole my way into godliness. Impatient with my own spiritual growth, I practically shout, “Now Cindy, start growing!”
But God keeps showing me that it takes a combination of planting the right seeds in fertile soil plus resting in His love and care to produce fruit that will last.
During this Summer of 2021, I hope that you will enter a season of rest in preparation for the new that the Master Gardener has planned in the days ahead.
Benediction: My child, welcome to this season of growth. Of soaking up sunshine and drinking in life-sustaining water. Of rooting yourself deep into the soil of My love and wisdom. Of experiencing the pain of pruning, even though you know the purpose is for richer fruit. Take your time and be deliberate, yet patient. You will grow. And I will never leave you alone.– Lucinda Secrest McDowell in “Dwelling Places”
May the grace of Christ, the love of God, and the friendship of the Holy Spirit bring you comfort and strength, Lucinda
“Helping You Choose a Life of Serenity and Strength”
©2021 Lucinda Secrest McDowell www.LucindaSecrestMcDowell.com
Lucinda Secrest McDowell is a storyteller and seasoned mentor who engages both heart and mind while “Helping You Choose a Life of Serenity & Strength.” She has authored 15 books including “Soul Strong – 7 Keys to a Vibrant Life” and “Life-Giving Choices – 60 Days to What Matters Most.” She writes from “Sunnyside” cottage in New England and shares encouraging words at LucindaSecrestMcDowell.com
A great reminder for patience, not idleness as we are growing in God’s garden, I need to remember along the way the weeds are trying to spring up and some of them are appealing.
Read the word, absorb God’s teachings. I know that I am created for good and I am not finished growing – I am blossoming in the purposes I was planted to do!!!!
Thank you for this beautiful encouragement and a powerful lesson from Scripture AND Frog and Toad.
Thank you for your encouraging words. Hope to meet you at Camp of the Woods someday. I attend frequently.
Looking forward to summer growth!
I enjoyed your analogy of Frog and Toad to summer growth.
I loved this. I was reading Psalm 40 before I read this, “I waited patiently for the Lord; And He inclined to me, He heard my cry.”
So much in this one verse. Patience= a virtue I continue to need more of in my life. He inclined to me – what an honor that the Lord feels willing or favorably disposed toward me. He hears my cry – Oh Lord I need You!! Lucinda thank you for these wise words. I am thankful for the Frogs in my life. I relate to Toad.
Thank you for encouraging my heart. It came just when I needed it.
Thank you so much for this writing. It is right where I have been going – to be in the word and study during this summer. Thanks for your encouragement!!
Experiencing the pain of pruning now as I have to say no to opportunities I would dearly love to accept. Thank you for these wise words, Cindy. (Love the Frog and Road story!)
Great pearls of wisdom Cindy. Thank you. Like the pearl it takes time,patience and paiin at times but in time the fruit appears with great joy. All our pain and sorrows melt away.😊🙌👐🔥