Harvest. Our garden provided abundantly throughout the summer and still keeps giving. Lettuce, spinach, beans, peppers, carrots, tomatoes, squash, cucumbers, cantaloupe, pumpkins, raspberries.
Each summer, this garden reminds me of the same truth—I can’t out-give God. I plunge seeds into the dark earth in spring. And then this. So much blessing. Too much blessing. I have to give the goodness away or it rots and smells.
Sometimes, I don’t get what I plan. Like this year.
I wanted nine pumpkin plants. I opened the pumpkin seed package and poured the contents into my hand. I planted, watered, and waited.
Turns out I got six pumpkin plants and three zucchini plants! The seed pack was contaminated! I vowed last year I’d plant only one zucchini because I couldn’t keep up with the harvest of three plants that produced a bag of green baseball bats before I had a chance to pick. I swear those things grow a foot overnight!
So, this year again?
Less pumpkins. More zucchini. Either way, we’ve had more than we need of both and our harvest has blessed more than just us.
Isn’t that the way with our whole life?
~ ~ ~
Twenty years ago, this week, Todd and I were in St. Petersburg, Russia sitting on an orphanage couch with the sun glinting through white laced curtains hanging long from the windows behind us.
Anna (then Alla), her hair chopped short to keep lice at bay, and Zachary (then Sergei), his face pale with dark gray circles under both eyes, wearing a pink, Lion King sweatshirt/pants combination, ran across a red-hued Oriental rug in the room where we waited, anticipating meeting our new daughter and son. Then, they appeared on the threshold of the room. The orphanage director leaned down and spoke softly to Anna, pointing to me. Then, Anna broke away and ran full-steam.
She landed in my open arms and settled on my lap. Pulling away just enough to look me straight in the eyes, Anna’s brown penetrated my blue. She uttered something in Russian. Our translator helped me understand.
“I’ve been waiting for you for so long, Mama!”
He translated back my words.
“I’ve been waiting so long for you too!”
I was 38. She was two months shy of six.
Anna hugged me again and began scavenging through my purse, pulling out the red apple she ate whole—seeds and all—and a banana I helped her peel. Of all the interesting items in my purse, she wanted the food? Was she so starved? I’d never felt hungry like that. But I had felt hungry, even starved, in another way.
~ ~ ~
Infertility and unsuccessful interventions had stolen my dream, so I thought.
And then, God planted another kind of the seed in me, one I never anticipated. The adoption seed grew in my heart—our hearts—until we plucked three, a half a world away, and began growing a forever family together.
Then, some more surprise seeds.
Todd and I expected developmental delays when we adopted from the orphanage. After all, our kids were nearly six, four and two. Surely, poor nutrition and lack of stimulation would slow their development. But we thought proper interventions would help them catch up eventually.
Until they all started showing signs of challenges professional testing confirmed—multiple, permanent, invisible disabilities most likely stemming from fetal exposure to alcohol—in all three.
Suddenly, we knew our garden wasn’t going to look like any other we had ever imagined.
Suddenly, our family of five became a “family” of eighteen.
Over the last 20 years, we’ve met regularly with 13 different specialists helping all our kids’ needs.
We never knew all these “seeds” would be intermixed in our “pack”. We never knew the dear friends we would make and keep, even 20 years later.
And God just keeps on giving!
Every time we have a need, God answers our prayers with perfect provision. Of course, not always in the time I used to think was best. But I know better now. God’s timing is always perfect for producing His harvest in our lives. God always comes through when ready.
So when the days get hot and muggy, when the rains don’t come when we want, when the water doesn’t seem like quite enough, when the ground cracks and cries, we hold on. And He holds us.
Harvest is coming.
Remember, my soul.
And the harvest will be beyond abundant, always giving more than was planted, blessing many.
Today, September 20, we celebrate Zach’s 24th birthday. On this day, 20 years ago, we feasted on his first birthday cake, on this 4th birthday. We celebrated then this miracle child, a failed abortion attempt (he knows). God had a plan and purpose for his life—for all our kids’ lives—for all of us.
Today, we celebrate our great God who plans, plants, provides and harvests more than any of us can ever imagine.
Praise God from whom all blessings flow.
Praise Him all creatures here below.
Praise Him above the heavenly host.
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.