Monday, May 12, 2008

God and Gardening: Lessons in Submission

We are becoming more and more serious about gardening as each day passes. A month or two ago, we decided that one of our eventual goals was for our garden to completely sustain our vegetable needs. If all goes well, perhaps trips to the grocery store will be for meats and other animal products only (we would still have to buy grains, oils, etc. in bulk though).

Stock image - Veggies on Cutting BoardThis would mean that we'd have to submit our eating habits and desires to the seasons. We live in USDA hardiness zone 7B, which means we will not be able to have typical summer produce year-round. That would be foodstuffs like tomatoes, peppers, watermelon, and cucumbers, which are some of the things that are growing in our garden right now. Just my luck that those are some of my favorite fruits and vegetables. I've never had a great liking for most of the typical winter veggies like cabbage, turnips, and broccoli. But if we want to be self-sufficient in our produce needs, I am going to have to learn to like these things. Likewise, we are going to have to learn to go without our favorite fresh summer produce in the colder months.

We are going to voluntarily refrain from the urge to get tomatoes in the dead of Georgia winter. We have given much thought and consideration to long term produce storage, and have been buying seeds of varieties that keep well. We are also planning on buying a pressure canner, and we have a chest freezer and dehydrator as well. We are planning on setting up a root "cellar" in the garage or somewhere in the house. The fact is, though, that we are just going to have to accept that we won't be able to have fresh, straight-from-the-backyard tomato basil soup all year round.

Filler image - stevia

Last week, Harmony and I recognized that God might be using our desire for a sustaining garden to teach us a lesson in submission. There are seasons in life where we want this... or we want that... or feel like we really need this. I want red juicy tomatoes and sweet red bell peppers all year round, but cannot have them. We hope that our garden will produce enough so that we will have plenty of vegetables to can and freeze. But we can't be certain. We hope the Lord will bless our harvest abundantly, but He might not. Perhaps God wants us to eat lots of cabbage, turnips, and winter squash this year.

Before we got married, we had our own plans for what life would be like right now. In some variety of our plans, I wouldn't have time to be writing this blog post because I'd be chasing a toddler around, with possibly another baby on the way. In another variety, I might be catching up on sleep lost from midnight care of a few-month-old infant (read about what could have been). This is not the way life has gone for us though; in fact, sometimes it seems like the children are being given to everyone except us. Countless times have we prayed for God to give us the blessing of children, but almost always accompanying those prayers are prayers for God to help us be willing to submit to His (possibly contrary) will.

We will submit to His will, so cabbage, turnips, and winter squash will comprise a large part of our spiritual diet.
And so figuratively, our life harvest has not gone according to our desires. We wanted a proverbial bumper crop of juicy tomatoes, sugary sweet peppers, and light butter beans. The Lord gave us none, or perhaps what we received were vegetables that looked good initially, but spoiled very quickly (i.e. the joy of the positive pregnancy test, the crushing blow of miscarriage). We will submit to His will, so cabbage, turnips, and winter squash will comprise a large part of our spiritual diet. We will work to get the most enjoyment out of what are not our first choices when it comes to produce. We'll work to submit to His perfect will and find peace in those times when God just says "No," for His own perfect reasons.

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  • Ginny

    Good choice! Hit the garage sales and thrift stores for pressure canners. I have found many for next to nothing. Also, put the word out. Sometimes older people have them getting dusty in their basements or attics and when they hear that someone really wants to use one, they will dig it out and give it to you. Old ones are perfectly fine, they just need their gaskets replaced (hardware store) and their gauges tested, which you can get done at the local extension office.

    As for the submission, I understand. We had a stillborn son (two weeks overdue and weighing eleven pounds) 24 years ago and no sign of children since. It took a lot of years to accept it, but I am at peace with it now. It will come, if you seek the Lord, which you are doing.


    P.S. My comment on your post about changes on your blog was supposed to be funny. I guess I am not all that funny most of the time. I'm sorry.

  • JunkMale

    Thanks Ginny. I never would've thought to look at garage sales and thrift stores for pressure canners. We did happen upon a garage sale last week that had garden tools...we stopped and bought :D Perhaps I'll put out a Wanted notice on my local Freecycle list, seeing if anyone has a pressure canner to give away.

    It's good to know that you have come to peace with your path in life. We're struggling to come to peace, although we have not given up the hope that we will have biological children.

    P.S. - No reason to be sorry for your last comment. I took no offense, and figured that it was a tongue-in-cheek moment.

  • Thehotrod5

    Oh yes, life in some way shape or form will go in a different direction than what you planned. I too have shared our struggle (8 losses) and yet, I still have faith that I could quite possibly carry a child full term one day. If I am not blessed with that, I think I will be ok with that, after all the Heavenly Father knows what is best.

    As for the food....I go through serious withdrawl in the winter for tomatoes. There is NOTHING out there that tases like a tomato fresh from the garden. After we started growing our own....I just couldn't buy store bought ones anymore. On top of canning, freezing, and dehydrating, you may want to check out some fermentation too. One book I have really been getting into lately is Nourishing traditions. So far it has been an excellent read and excellent cookbook!