“Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds you plant.” Robert Louis Stevenson
As fall races towards winter, I’ve wandered and pondered a little more often. I take deep breaths of the fall air, and I feel a twinge. Winter isn’t far away – I can hear it in the howl of the wind and the clacking of bare branches. I can see it in the escaping seeds.
And the sweet juncos are back.
I will miss the bees, butterflies, and blossoms.
Mama taught me that this was the time of year to do a lot of cleaning – windows, walls, closets, cupboards, and corners received my full attention – every nook and cranny. But not this year. I can do those things when it’s too cold and slippery to go outside.
These days, I can’t seem to resist the call of the leaves blowing in the wind and the scent of fading wildflowers. They smell sweet and spicy and rich.
And I love watching the leaf landings.
In a determined attempt to do something in a dry writing season, I’ve focused on planning. Okay – on some days this involves intentional procrastination, but I do love my planner, pens, and doing some idea outlining.
And this planning involves a lot of walking with my camera because I almost always find inspiration in this brown and shimmering season.
These pondering walks often hold surprises. Like when I stopped to take a picture of a milkweed pod exploding I saw a milkweed bug standing on a seed. It was such a cool moment I forgot the longing for summer to last just a little bit longer. The vivid insect seemed so confident standing there on his tiny platform, and I wondered if there was a marketing lesson in that because that’s what the word most often means these days.
But I knew that what was coming was so much more than that. So I kept walking among the glistening, the fluffy, the crunchy, and the brown.
Everything held the promise of the coming lesson – even flower heads exquisite in their emptiness.
Standing by this one, I told God, “Lord, I’m kind of tired of this dry season – of no words. And planning for dreams that feel more dormant than alive.”
I waited certain I was very close to what He wanted me to know – it felt like His words for me were on the tip of my heart. That strange thought lingered, and then I heard myself say, “God – these seeds and the coming dormant season are evidence of Your plans for next spring and summer and fall. This waiting time isn’t wasted time. It’s me and You time. It’s part of Your plan.”
I felt jubilance explode deep inside me. It was like the sound of fajitas on a hot plate on my birthday and felt like a sip of iced water in my throat when the pico de gallo burns and makes my eyes water – smooth, powerful, and fresh.
At that moment my understanding about my plans and the work itself changed.
Each word on the page and each photo, and each attempt at marketing is a seed. The birds or the wind will get some of them, and they will get planted where I can’t see them, but someone else will. It’s the same with each prayer, kind word, smile, good deed, or I love you offered – God will take each one and use them as He wills. And then my thoughts got exciting in a relief-filled kind of way because, in all of these things, the results are His.
I’ve always known this on a practical level, but now, this rich truth snuggled deeper into my heart as if God gently pushed it into prepared soil with His mighty thumb and a spiritual spring took up residence in a season of creative drought.
As I took more pictures, a little giddy with the joy that always comes with a tender touch from God, I celebrated with some quiet although not silent praise. And I told the Lord, “I know I’m not off the hook – I want to do my best, with Your help to be a good steward of the talent and knowledge I have and Jon’s financial investment in the work I do. But I won’t try and rush or push through this season where the words feel shut up tight. It’s all part of Your plan.”
There is is a bursting on its way directed by God. And when you see it, the glory will belong to Him. All of it.
We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps. Proverbs 16:9 (NLT)
Until Next Time,