Thursday, February 25, 2010

Cultivating the Soil

For the last few weeks I've been in somewhat of a funk (and by "somewhat" I mean "majorly"). I think it's a result of feeling stuck in our house and unable to move downtown. I was honestly (yikes to writing this down) feeling angry at God. Because why would He give us this vision for serving and living in the city, and then not provide a way for us to get there?

Not to mention that it was frigid-cold and I have been cooped up in the house for days on end with my defiant 17 month old. I felt like my ministry was non-existent. What I was doing didn't matter. I used to go downtown and volunteer and work with the kiddos 3 or 4 days a week at least. Now it's one day on a good week. So why would God be moving me AWAY from what I was certain He had called me towards?

But then this week, the Lord did an amazing thing. No, He didn't sell our house. Or provide us a house downtown. . . He changed my perspective and transformed my heart.

Sometimes we can get so overwhelmed by the size and abundance of our vision (or God's blessing) that we forget how much time and work it can take to get there.

Take, for example, the Israelites. In the description of the Promised Land in Numbers 13:23, the Word says: "They cut off a branch bearing a single cluster of grapes. Two of them carried it on a pole between them." Um hello? A single cluster of grapes that has to be carried on a pole by two people? Those must have been some freakin' huge grapes people. I mean, not even I'm that out of shape that i can't just pick up a cluster of grapes and carry it all by my lonesome.

For the Isrealites, the huge grapes were a promise of an abundance in the land they were going to inherit. But fear, and disobedience, prevented them from immediately laying hold of that abundance. In our lives, we see these ginormous grapes, this vision we've been given for our ministry in the city. And I'm all like: "well great, I love giant grapes, lets do this thing . . . "

However, I learned this week that grapes take a long time to cultivate. Three out of four seasons during the year, the vines aren't producing fruit. In fact, sometimes they look downright dead. Because maybe it's not the right season for fruitfulness. Sometimes you have to cultivate the soil. Or prune the vines. Or wait. . . But just because something looks dead, doesn't mean it IS dead. Because scrape the surface, and you'll the green that's germinating and hiding within.

I realized that even when my life might LOOK dead, and I might not be producing fruit like I want to be, things are happening. God is cultivating the soil and working under the surface to grow my roots. To prune me. To strengthen me. To prepare me.

With that realization, my heart and perspective were transformed. Because this season is just as important as the fruit-producing season. In fact, without this season, there would be no fruit. So I will rest in the work (which sounds like an oxymoron) that Christ is doing to prepare me. And I will anticipate and envision and pray for those big grapes, that promise, the vision I know He's given us.

What about you, what is He cultivating in you during this season of your life? I'm praying that you will remember that it's all important for the harvest. And those people who are in their fruitful season, they might LOOK more exciting and "good" and like they're doing more for the kingdom, but you never know what's happening and what God is doing below the surface to work in those who might LOOK like they're dead.

"I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing." - John 15:5


  1. And so many times, we're on the other side of the cultivating season, we see just how perfect His timing is. And how if things had gone our way they would have been so much less than perfect.

    But the waiting's so hard and some times I question if I got the mission right. Those are the days that I pray that if I was wrong about the mission that He'll change my heart and passion. And if I'm right, that He'll help me to be still and wait for Him and learn what I need to learn in the meantime.

    It's hard not to want to pick the grapes before they're ripe, isn't it?

  2. I totally needed to read that. Thanks so much for your honesty.

  3. Lovely post. I sometimes get so cooped up with college, essay after essay feeling like it's all in vain. I just want to be out there doing "ministry" all day long.
    But God told me today before I can get new wine, the grapes actually have to be crushed.
    thanks for this.
    For everything there is a season.

  4. WOW WOW WOW!! You don't even know how much I needed this today!!!

  5. Oh, Becca, what a beautiful post! Truly, He created the seasons in order to give His creations a time to grow, a time to produce, and a time to rest. I'm in a producing season right now at Adam's school, and I will tuck this post away in my heart to sustain me when the summer harvest is over and the cool winds begin to blow. And I say again about Jayci that she is WONDERFUL.. and perfectly normal. And that you are an awesome mommy... you WILL be able to look back and see that. Pinky swear. Except that I don't swear. ;<)

  6. What an awesome reminder of the seasons of life! Thanks for sharing and challenging and encouraging all at once! I think I am as addicted to your blog as much as to my diet coke ... and we all know that's intervention level!! Although I have yet to drink directly from the 2 liter bottle as one of my students did today ... maybe there's HOPE for me and my addictions!

  7. Thanks so much for writing that! I can sure relate - what a great reminder to be patient where we are!

  8. Thanks for sharing your heart Becca! What a wonderful post to remind me that God works in and through us in His own timing.

  9. AWESOME post. Thank you for this. :)

  10. And maybe during those times of growing, He shows how you can minister in other sharing from your heart and challenging and encouraging people who read posts like this.

  11. What a great word to your heart that encourages the rest of us, too. Great post.

  12. So true! It's hard to see how all the pieces fit into place until they do... and you see how His timing had everything to do with it. And how even our "waiting" seasons are not wasted.

    I love this post - thank you.


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