Do you fancy yourself a gardener? Have you ever planted something that didn’t grow? Or did you buy that popular plant you saw on Instagram and then watch as it struggled in your care? Have you ever thrown in the towel on these ventures because you decided it wasn’t your talent? If you answered yes to any of these, congrats! That means you’re human—just like me.
I would overwater, neglect root space, fail to rotate toward the light, expose them to the elements or ignore dead leaves. And when they’d die, I’d shame myself and quickly decide not to try that plant again. Then one day I was strolling around a gorgeous nursery and ran into a master gardener: a horticulturist, as they’re officially called. He shared profound pieces of information that illuminated God-intended Truth in the entire operation of plant nurturing.
“It takes many failures to become a confident gardener,” he said. “Pay attention to the needs of the plant, take into account the water, soil condition, dead limbs, temperature and light, and you’ll be well on your way to being a master.”
I laughed out loud when he said these things, but what did I have to lose? And what do you have to lose as I share this basic truth with you? That’s right, NOTHING! Grow with me as we creep toward the point of this message.
New things start with a tiny seed, an idea, a spark of hope, a confirmation by God in your spirit. You begin to water this seed with prayer and proper nutrients of information—not too much or too little. You make certain the nutrients of your spirit are properly balanced and make space within the soil of your family for additional upward growth. Lastly, you make sure that the light and air that you breathe are pure, filtered and true. And all of this happens below the surface, before a shoot of hope-filled life appears.
Once the process is started and many leaves have formed, a bud of a blossom will appear. Maybe you don’t know what kind of plant, flower or herb it will be. That’s okay, because we know ALL good things come from the Creator. He made these processes and plants before adding humans to this earth. And we know this to be true from the book of Genesis—humans were the last party guest at the greenhouse of creation. When all the right elements are in place, this bud will open and reveal its potential: its seeds, color, fragrance and beauty.
The adoption process is like gardening a relationship. We plant, water, pull up the weeds, cut off the dry parts, turn toward the light, absorb air and tend to the required growth elements of the root. All parts need to be maintained. But expecting a bloom without doing the work is unrealistic. Making promises of quick, unnatural blooms/growth might also be harmful—since cutting a plant back to its core stem causes shock and the inevitable state of dormancy. It’s best to utilize the natural progression of time-tested, truth-invested, God-ordained gardening. Co-labor in the adoption ministry with your mind on these best greenhouse practices. Strive to be like the Master Gardener and your adoption triad will grow according to His timeline. You will cultivate flowers, fruit, seed, harvest, shade, nest and stability for those in your ministry.
“I’ve got roots growing down to the water,
I’ve got leaves growing up to the sunshine,
and the fruit that I bear is a sign of the life in me.
I am shade from the hot summer sundown.
I am nest for the birds of the heavens.
I’m becoming what the Lord of trees has meant me to be:
A strong young tree.”
I learned I could not be a master without admitting my mistakes and starting again. I learned it was worth every bit of effort to pay attention to the details in the growth process. And when the growing period felt slow, I looked for ways to speak, sing and be grateful for how far I’d come.
As a birth mother and mom to adult children, I often reflect on the precious growth moments of the past, both the ones I missed and the ones where I was . In my adoption triad, we established a slow opening, which I believe made a difference in the outcome. There was authentic, genuine, organic growth that followed His timeline.
Psalm 92:12-14 NIV:
“The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon; planted in the house of the Lord, they will flourish in the courts of our God. They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green…”