the death of a potato
Over Spring Break, my kids and I journeyed to my dad’s house for a few days. One of their favorite things to do during the spring is get dirty together. And whey I say “they”, I mean ALL THREE of them: the kids AND my dad. They’re hilarious.
So, they planted peppers… which turned out to be sweet potatoes…
It was cold and muddy and a good time was had by all!
While we were there, my dad (manipulatively) mentioned harvesting his other potatoes in early June. (I got your number, Mister.)
Well, those kids have been talking and talking and talking about it.
And I get these weekly — and sometimes more frequent — texts and emails about the status of these durn potatoes. (I think Grandpa could be more excited about it than the kids. That’s quite the joyous accomplishment!)
So then last week, I get…
“The potatoes are starting the dying back process.”
Pardon me for being a gardening-illiterate suburban housewife, but uhhhh…. OOOOOKAAAAAAY….. “is that good?”???? (…Because I’m already mentally preparing myself to break bad news to the Stinkers…)
Apparently, it is good.
It’s good that the potato plant dies!
I mean… WHAAAAAA?????
In fact, farmers are supposed to “kill the plant” if the plant doesn’t die in time.
So, what happens is, when the plant dies, all the nutrients and good stuff that would normally go to the plant and root systems goes to the potato, causing the potato to grow to maturity under the earth (hello, unseen parallel).
And yesterday, I got this excited email from the Long-Haired Farmer saying that the potatoes’ plants had come back, but are now beginning a second dying process.
It’s amazing how that all works!
And, true to our patterns, the Holy Spirit speaks…
the death of a dream
My life looks, in no way, like I ever thought it would. Ever. At all. Like drastic. I mean, this educated, raised-by-a-feminist creative is a STAY-AT-HOME-MOM … and I LIKE IT!!! To talk about dreams and values dying and shifting is quite the understatement! I really cannot stress this enough.
There have been dreams in my heart that I’ve had to let die. Life just doesn’t go how we set out to make it go, does it?
There have even been values I’ve had to reevaluate and devalue. As my station in life has changed from “single girl” to “wife” to “wife and mom”, some things get forgotten or just matter less.
For a while, I painfully and stubbornly and angrily held on to my dreams for dear life while knowing they needed to be released. Not knowing when or if I’d ever see those dreams again; much less realize them.
There have been times when I thought those dreams were coming to life again and I got really really excited and distracted and tried to chase them down again and hold on to them for dear life again only to find that … nope … those potatoes aren’t mature yet…
Now, some of you have written me chiding me for not basing my ramblings on Scripture… so here’s somethin for ya. 😉
4 This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: 5 “Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. 6 Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease. 7 Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.” 8 Yes, this is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: “Do not let the prophets and diviners among you deceive you. Do not listen to the dreams you encourage them to have. 9 They are prophesying lies to you in my name. I have not sent them,” declares the Lord.
10 This is what the Lord says: “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place. 11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity.[b] I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.”
What strikes me is that, here, the Lord instructs His people to go about living their lives as they live in exile awaiting His liberation. He does NOT tell them to pursue a way out of exile! Instead, He tells them to seek peace and prosperity in the midst of their suffering. WHAT?? That just seems counterproductive!
Now, I know I feel as if I’m living in exile. Do you?
I’m not entirely OK with it.
But what I am OK with is the growth I see in myself. I have grown as a wife, a mother, a Believer, a human… in ways that I recognize would never have happened had I not laid down those dreams. I now know that my dreams are not who I am; they never were. They are merely some things I love to do and would love to see grow in my life. Things that I even love to do for my God. God created me to do those things! But they are not my identity. They are my skill set. Now, I’m getting to know myself outside of the context of these dreams that I thought were my identity.
As I learn to know myself and love myself as He loves me, I’m learning that He doesn’t need me to fulfill those dreams for Him to love me. And so I’m learning to find contentment in living the life that’s in my hands to live for today. And the crazy thing is, in this contentment, I’m suddenly finding myself more creatively inspired than ever before … and I’m finding myself inspired to effortlessly create my own outlets instead of fighting my way into outlets that others may or may not want me to inhabit.
Finally, I am recognizing that my “promised land” isn’t at all what I’d envisioned. You see, I was so caught up in my ambitions toward my God-given dreams, I created this false, self-centered vision of what my promised land would be like. My visions probably had little connection to the thoughts and plans God has for me; not to mention my disappointment in Him for some plans of my own making…
So of course I needed to let go of those dreams! And ever since, my mental and emotional filters are drastically changing. My values are entirely different now. My spiritual maturity has leapt!
Now, my dreams are to see Christ more clearly and to see myself more clearly through that “mirror of the Word”. Whatever else comes, comes. Whatever doesn’t… well, it just doesn’t.
And so, today, I encourage you. Let go of what you know you need to let go. It hurts! Mourn it. But let it go. And turn to behold yourself as you truly are through the light of His grace and mercy.
What are you having to let die so that you may learn to live?