Planning a seed order in Maine in the month of March may be the ultimate act of optimism. Even so, I started dreaming about a row of basil back in February when my Colorado daughter-in-law introduced us to the wonders of pesto on pasta, initiating a string of questions for which I’m still seeking answers:
What will be the yield of fragrant leaves from one basil plant?
Is a 68-day germination even realistic for this crazy Zone 5b life, compared to, say, the 50-days for green beans or for 58-day cucumbers?
Would it be better to can or freeze the pesto?
While I’m busy with all this speculation, I’m mindful, too, of the fact that I’m not alone in my preoccupation with seeds in late winter. Last year’s dandelion seeds, the latent violets, and the dormant offspring of multi-colored clover all lay waiting for their moment, and everyone will certainly make its appearance at just the right time. It seems that it’s the human element—me and my own imperfect timing—that introduces risk to the planting process.
The snow-covered earth is teeming with life, life, and more life, whether I can see it today or not. In just a few weeks, I’ll be planting seeds in warm earth, mowing down and pulling out the weeds which will sprout unbidden from intrusive seeds presently lying quietly under frozen crust.
But today is late-winter. The birds shiver on the feeder and the world is gray. Today, we wait.
We plan for spring. We nurture dreams of green. We turn our faces away from death and look toward resurrection, for this is the lesson God has built into all seeds:
Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.”John 12:24
What dormant gifts, hidden capacities for service to the world are buried under the “snow” of caution or inattention? Do you dare to dream of a pesto-sized harvest of righteousness in your following life, even if it means something else has to die?
What a great loss to the Kingdom of God when we choose to remain a seed, safe in the package but never producing the fragrant harvest God dreams for us!
Holding you the Light,
We plan for spring. We nurture dreams of green. We turn our faces away from death, looking toward resurrection. This is the lesson God built into seeds: Unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies it remains a single seed.Tweet
And Now, Let’s Talk Books…
Brace yourself for a deep dive and a solid gospel orientation to the age-old dilemma of decision-making. In Demystifying Decision-Making, Aimee Joseph anticipates some of the most perplexing aspects of choice and then follows up with fear-fighting truth to counter FOMO, regret, and self-doubt.
Her governing principle is the necessity of good theology to carry into the decision-making process. Drawing on the work of John Frame, Joseph contrasts humanity’s narrow perspective with God’s ability to see all things from every possible perspective. Too, most of us are far too short-sighted in our concern over the will of God. God’s will for you and me is Christlikeness, a goal that far transcends today’s major purchase or this year’s career trajectory.
Four major points captured my attention and will stay with me going forward:
- God has invited us to “set all our decisions on the eternal timeline.” What appears in the present moment to be a colossal failure may turn out to have a hugely redemptive impact. The crucifixion is our pattern for taking this long view of our short lives.
- Our desires matter, but they are not the only thing that matters. Some of us have been trained by our Christian sub-culture to discount or distrust our desires, imagining that God will purposely send us where we don’t want to go or require of us what we don’t want to do. Of course, on the other end of the see-saw is Team This-Feels-So-Good-It-Must-Be-God’s-Will.”
Both ends of the spectrum get it wrong, for our feelings are not ultimate, nor are they irrelevant to God. Rather, “in prayer and meditation, we bring our desires into the presence of God and invite his searching gaze and shaping hands.”
- Wrong decisions are not fatal to our relationship with God. In fact, “we are always only one decision away from our heavenly Father’s arms.” No matter where you are today in your relationship with God, deeper intimacy is a choice which will be strengthened and supported with every successive Spirit-led decision.
- Make every decision with an eye on your destination. Created for glory, we will one day fulfill our ultimate purpose. Designed for decision-making, we draw near to our Designer as we trust his leading through every surrendered drop of our poured-out life.
Wrong decisions are not fatal to our relationship with God. In fact, “we are always only one decision away from our heavenly Father’s arms.” Aimee Joseph #DemystifyingDecisionMaking via @crosswayTweet
Life Is Sweet, Y’All
When one of God’s women pauses on her fruitful way, takes up a pen, and begins sharing the harvested wisdom from her faithful following, I’m all ears. If she happens to add a southern twang to the delivery, well, so much the better. In Life Is Sweet, Y’all: Wit and Wisdom with a Side of Sass, Maggie Wallem Rowe shares a collection of brief devotionals with a vintage look and a down-home feel.
Rowe manages to address weighty topics with a light touch, memorable metaphors, and solid truth with its roots deep in scriptural wisdom. For instance, who doesn’t need to be reminded that “we can’t always keep our names out of other peoples’ mouths, but we sure as shootin’ can hush our own when we’re tempted to pass on stories that aren’t ours to tell”? With recipes “just like Mom used to make” and a generous handful of helpful hints that range from getting rid of fruit flies and cleaning silverware to random cooking and cleaning hacks, Rowe has created a gift book that will appeal to a wide range of women.
Best of all, she’s done her homework in curating a spot-on Scripture verse for each entry and dozens of relevant quotations drawn from her years of reading and study. If you read and enjoyed This Life We Share, you’ll be “happy as a hound dog with two tails” to continue harvesting wisdom from Maggie’s faithful following life. (You’ll find my review of Maggie’s first book HERE.)
Life Is Sweet Y’All is a devotional gift book in which Maggie Wallem Rowe offers solid truth with roots deep in scriptural wisdom–and a bit of southern sass. via @TyndaleHouseTweet
Many thanks to Crossway and Tyndale for providing copies of these books to facilitate my reviews which are, of course, offered freely and with honesty.
And One Last Thing…
Right now I’m offering two free gifts to NEW newsletter subscribers.
First, I’ve developed a free guided meditation to encourage you in a deep dive into the truth of Psalm 46:1: “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” I’ve found that the surest antidote for the poison of the lies we tell ourselves is LARGE doses of truth, and I’m committed to the process of helping women to become confident Christ-followers and students of God’s Word.
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