And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so. And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good. And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so.
Genesis 1:11‭-‬12‭, ‬24 KJV

God made dirt, and dirt don’t hurt.

My great-grandmother

If you had told me at 14 that I would one day become a fairly avid gardener, looking into Master Gardener classes, I would have laughed in your face and rolled my eyes. Nature I love. Gardening, I did not.

Then, I decided to do a pollinator garden to help support the butterfly and bee population, while also giving my child, and hopefully local children, a place to see and explore the life cycles of caterpillars and butterflies.

But gardening became and is so much more to me. There was something about gardening that I felt truly connected me to God on an deep and personal level. He did, after all create man and put him in a garden. Adam and Eve were charged with maintaining it. Since I began gardening, it always felt spiritual to me. A way to worship and honor God in a creative and unique way.

A rare photo of me in the garden, taken by the toddler.

And then I became a mother. Somehow all of my days are remarkably the same while being remarkably different. Day in and day out I do the dishes, do the laundry. We vacuum the floor, clean the tub, make the dinner, read the books. So often I have talked with friends about how we do these monotonous tasks only for them to need done again by the time we finish.

One of the things I’ve loved about gardening is the tangible and lastingness of it. 20min of weeding and suddenly the bed looks amazing! And it will stay that way at least a few days. Finish the dishes and 20 minutes later the sink is full again.

It is a process that takes planning, one of my favorite things! I love that I can literally throw seeds in the ground and hope for the best, or meticulously plan foot by foot, and both options can be successful. There’s a wildness in the order, and order in the seeming chaos.

Recently, as I was checking my seed tray, I realized a ridiculous parallel between growing and parenting. You plant your seeds, and then it’s all a waiting game. 10,000 things can go wrong. 10,000 things can go right. We water. We feed. We make sure there’s good sunlight. We do everything we can to give those little microscopic seeds a fighting chance. We search daily for “signs of life.” We know they’re there, but we just want to see it! And then we do. That first peak of green. That first elbow to the rib. And it is JOY. We have reached a major milestone!

We continue to nurture. To love. To support. We do everything we can to help that little sprout mature. Eventually they get too big for their tiny cup. We move them to a bigger container. In some cases, they move out to the big, wide world. As parents, both of the plant and human variety, all we can do is our best to prepare our children for the world.

We can help them grow deep roots. Sometimes we have to prune or clip parts that do not serve the plant. It’s always a hard thing for me to do- remove early buds to help the plant build strength, thus producing better! We know in the long run it will be in their best interest but the present can feel brutal.

We watch our children bloom. We work our butts off to help them flourish. We weather all manner of legitimate and metaphorical storms and sunny days If you’re reading this, there’s a 100% chance you too have literally donated blood, sweat, and tears, into parenting your children. If you’re like me, you don’t go outside intending to garden, accidentally end up weeding without gloves, and come in with war wounds.

And thus, gardening has become more than the plants. It’s a parallel to my own life. It’s an act of worship. It’s a constant season of faith, no matter how tiny that seed is, that it will grow.

So go play in the dirt. Let your children run barefoot. Squish the mud between your toes. Dig in and find worms. Breathe it in. And celebrate in the beauty of the Earth.

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