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  • Writer's pictureBrandi Bourne

Growing Season


At first, I thought this was going to be one of the short videos I’ve started making (see the social media pages for those), but I couldn’t quite get the message across in 60 seconds. I am also technically supposed to be off social media, so I decided to turn this into a blog post instead. I got home today, and I noticed that the seeds I planted on Sunday have already sprouted. I did not cover them or really do anything special like I normally would when I plant, especially outdoors. It’s also late in the season to be planting. But I had a plan. See I knew we were getting rain this week. I did not expect it to be the massive amount that we got (thankfully we didn’t flood but many areas are still flooded). But I knew that rainwater is extremely beneficial to plants, particularly seedlings. So, I as the gardener decided on Sunday that it was time to plant. Yet I was still surprised to see how fast the seedlings grew! Now the mission will be to nurture these plants, make sure they get plenty of water and make sure they end up in larger containers to sustain the growth. While some will flourish in a smaller container, some will do well in the raised bed and others will need a lot more room to grow. Now in the picture you are looking at corn, green beans, sunflowers, and basil. All those plants are summer to fall plants so they should do quite well, so long as I take loving care of them. I will need to find a way to protect them from the harsh sun should our extra scorching summer start earlier again this year. I will need to make sure to give them the right amount of water – not too much that it goes to waste and not too little that the plant dies from lack of water. My prior knowledge of gardening is what is going to help me take care of these and in turn, they will provide vegetables/herbs/seeds for us! So, some of you are probably wondering why you’re getting gardening lessons here. Now while I could talk about gardening all day and I am happy to give my free advice on SE TX gardening, this is not the place for that. As usual, this is a story that has a lot to do with our walk with God. Before I go any further though, I do want to be sure that I mention that some of this reflects what I learned in a recent sermon from a Pastor at our church. I believe in giving credit where it is due, so you can find that here: https://youtu.be/0k8cbA7jEv0?si=njzJK3hhOSecufBp But something that’s become a bit of a catch phrase for me lately is “teaching is just sharing what we learn.”



We all like to talk about growth. We all want to see growth in some area of our lives. It is usually right at the end of the year stepping into the new one too. Those New Years resolutions come out and we set these goals and have all these ideas of what the next year is going to look like. The whole “new year, new me” mentality comes out. I did it too this year. Though I am excited to say I’ve made progress in the majority of the areas, there’s still a lot of work to do. We love the idea of growth. If we could just lose weight and be healthier. If we could just see that promotion or that increase in finances. If we could just master some leadership skills or learn a new trade. Or maybe you are like me, and your focus is primarily on or centered around spiritual growth. Growth is not a bad thing at all. But growth is painful. Growth is uncomfortable. Growth can be lonely at times. And growth takes hard work. But nothing compares to that feeling when you make some progress. When you look back and you see all that God has done in you over a period of time. And most of the time it happens so slowly, so methodically, that you don’t even realize you’re miles past the starting point.


God is the gardener in our story. He is the one who determines the timing of planting things in our lives. He has a higher perspective than we do. Just like I could check the weather and see rain coming, He sees what is in your future. He knows when a storm that could damage what’s been planted is coming. He knows when there is something in your future that will accelerate your growth. There’s been seasons of my life that I think God dumped a lot of Miracle Grow on something because my head is spinning with everything happening so quickly. I’m in one of those seasons now, I think. But you know it’s not always like that. Sometimes you’re in the dark and you can’t see anything. You know you are where God placed you. But you feel alone. You may even feel “alone in a crowded room” because no one really understands at that deep level. There are struggles you’re facing that others aren’t walking though. But that might mean that you are the trailblazer who’s going to see others through. You may feel like you’re buried in this season. Here’s where I’m going to quote that Pastor that said it way better than I can.


“When you’re looking at it and you’re thinking to yourself logically ‘why is God putting something so valuable in such a dark place? Such an isolated place? Such a dirty place?’ It’s lonely. There’s layers upon layers of things on top. Some seeds don’t see the sunlight for months. Years. And if you’re not careful, and you’re not alert, sober of mind, the enemy will say things to you like ‘God’s buried you.’ You see, you bury things that you have no expectation that they will rise. But you plant things that you want to rise. You see burying and planting look like the same action…God has not buried you; God has planted you. And there is an expectation that you would rise. How does the seed rise? It struggles. The outer husk breaks off. The water and the mud and the dark and the isolation and the pressure start to push off the outer husk. And the seed…it struggles, it struggles, it struggles, and it struggles its way into the next stratosphere. You think God’s not with you because you’re struggling. But God wants to tell you today the struggle is the way to the next level. It’s not your enemy, it is your friend. Your enemy is the one telling you, God is not with you…the difference between burying and planting is that there is a plan, there is a purpose, not only for it to germinate, but for it to become strong, for it to bear fruit, for other people to benefit from it….” (Pastor Grant Hoyle https://youtu.be/0k8cbA7jEv0?si=JyyBv-R_oeAiEWBI 33:30-35:57)


This is the quote I thought of when I saw these pictures:

 





Now that you know God has planted you, or has planted something in you, know that He’s going to take care of that thing. It is our job to be good stewards of what He has given us. There is definitely some work we’re going to have to put in to see growth. There are going to be times that we must hold on to His promise for dear life because we cannot see what He can. Just as I will soon need to move the seedlings into bigger pots, God will move us in seasons of our life into places where He wants us.

You know it reminds me of my journey with the churches He’s placed me in. I started out in the East Texas, (now known as H-Town), Dream Center. That’s where I first got the water of the Word, the encouragement and teaching and all the things that a new “seedling” may need. It was there that we attended Lakewood Church, which was where I was saved. God placed me there for a season of my life for a reason. But there came a time where God needed me to grow in a different area, so He uprooted me from where I was and re-planted me at my last church, House of Mercy. It was there that I grew deeper roots, and I learned all the ways that the Holy Spirit can move. I learned order and honor and so much more. But eventually God saw that I needed to be moved to a bigger pot to grow. See I cannot put that corn in some little pot because those roots will outgrow it. Eventually the plant will become susceptible to something called “root-rot” which usually is due to too much moisture in a small or less than ideal environment. And do not think I’m knocking on small churches – those green beans I planted would not do well in a large pot. It would be a waste of space because of the way that they grow. God is the one who should be placing you in your church. It is not about “picking the right one” but that is a topic for another day.

Back to the story – God saw that I needed more room to grow, so He re-planted me again at my current home church, Faith Family Church in Baytown. And I am so incredibly grateful that He did because I truly have seen an enormous amount of growth in the last 2 ½ years here. Now let me note something particularly important here about my story – I did not uproot myself. I did not hop from church to church (there was a short season I did that, but I was quickly corrected and reminded that I was to be rooted in one house) looking for what fit “my needs.” I let God decide where to send me and now I get to be a part of serving our community at a level I never imagined possible. This journey was not easy. There are times I have had to say goodbye to people I cared about because we were headed in different directions. There are some people that left without saying a word. There are also people that I may be more distant from but are still family and I would be there for them in a second. Coming to this church was not easy at first because I didn’t really know anyone. It was uncomfortable at first to meet new people and start developing relationships. It was hard realizing that some there may never know me nor I them in the way that I knew people at my last church. But now, because I am committed to serving, I know most of my church family, at least the ones that serve. I’ve met countless people in small groups and through serve projects and a handful I’ve grown very close to. Not all of them know me well, but I am learning to make a point to get to know them.

But you know what has been my favorite part out of all of it? Watching people grow. Watching people discover and use their God-given gifts. I can look around the lobby and see people in the seedling stage and people producing fruit. I can see people who are in that dirt wondering what’s going on and I can see people who are standing tall, strong, and receiving all that God has for them and sharing that. I have people on my team that I have watched grow in their relationship with God so quickly and it’s beautiful. I am not the gardener, but I do get to watch fruit being produced for the Kingdom. But more than anything I pray that I have grown to the point of producing fruit that others can enjoy. But that is in God’s hands. Once I have done my part, I have to trust that God is going to shield me from the fire of the enemy (you know that’s a rather good description for the Texas summer too…. just saying). I have to trust that He is going to provide the right nutrients at the right time. Now as far as the water – I am responsible to make sure I am drawing from the source daily – aka the Word or the Bible. God does all the pruning and the planting in my life now. I have to trust Him to uproot the things that are not supposed to be there and on His timing. Lord knows if I try to do it myself, I’m just going to make a muddy mess.

Growth is not easy. It’s messy, it’s dark, it’s lonely at times. But it’s worth it. I don’t know what “stage” you are at in your growth right now, but I pray that you come through stronger. I pray you can “struggle” through that dirt and your eyes are opened to all that God has been doing this whole time. I pray God gives you His strength to keep growing and never stop. See the thing about plants is they don’t stop growing until they die. It is the same for us. Until the day the Lord calls us home, we should be growing. Of course we should also reach the point of producing fruit. Be encouraged reader, God is doing something new in you. God has a plan and a purpose for your life. He knows the timing. Seek Him. Follow Him. Keep your eyes on Jesus. And if you don’t know who Jesus is, let’s talk. I would love to introduce you to the man that saved my life and my soul.




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