Journey towards Fruitfulness

pumpkins

The wind is howling in our backyard again.  Smoke from some distant, unnamed fire is rolling through our valley.  As I gaze out the window at my labor of love, I find myself envying the little plants that are growing in the garden.  They face trials and tribulations at every turn, yet they keep on producing in spite of their circumstance!  If we could weather the storms of life with half the resilience I have witnessed in my plants this season, we would truly be capable of moving mountains.

“Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” Matthew 17:20

When I was in 10th grade, my high school volleyball team won a trip to the State Championships.  Matthew 17:20 was our team verse and at the beginning of the season our coach had given each of us a mustard seed.  In my youth, I thought I understood the meaning of this verse.  Now that I am an avid gardener and have witnessed firsthand the faith required to grow a seed into a fruitful plant, I realize how little I knew back then.

Just like the plants in my garden, many obstacles must be overcome in order to reach the place of fruitfulness. Each and every step we make towards maturity is a crucial part of our own journey towards a fruitful life. | SarahKoontz.com

I used to be fearful when late February arrived and it was time to start seeds in my basement.  I worried that they wouldn’t sprout, or that they would mysteriously die without any cause or correction.  Time and experience has taught me that plants require very little to grow and flourish.  A base of nutritious soil, consistent watering, lots of light and a little love is all it takes to nurture a seed into a healthy plant.  All I must do is supply these things, and growth is all but guaranteed.

“And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19

In the very same way that I provide for the needs of my plants, God has supplied each of us with all that we need to grow.  The difference between a person who sprouts and one who remains dormant is whether or not there is any life within the seed.  The only way to guarantee life is to trust completely in the Author of all life.  This is the first, and most crucial step in our journey towards fruitfulness.

Just like the plants in my garden, many obstacles must be overcome in order to reach the place of fruitfulness. Each and every step we make towards maturity is a crucial part of our own journey towards a fruitful life. | SarahKoontz.com

Next, I must carefully transition my tender seedlings out into the harsh reality of garden life.  I do my best to protect them from the late spring frosts, gusting winds and intense sunlight.  No matter how hard I try, I always lose a few to the elements.

Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.” James 1:12

Trials and tribulations are a natural part of our earthly experience.  If we have a strong root system and the knowledge that the storms make us stronger, we can thrive in spite of our affliction. We have had such a troublesome growing season this year, and there have been many times I thought my plants would not survive.  They were broken, battered and bruised, yet they carried on. They persevered under trial and are stronger because of it.

When I face unexpected trials, I hope to be as hardy and unyielding as a zucchini plant.  Those things are nearly impossible to kill, and they just keep on producing in spite of dire circumstance.  They give more than you could ever want or need; an abundance to share with friends {and strangers}.  I want to be more like that.

Just like the plants in my garden, many obstacles must be overcome in order to reach the place of fruitfulness. Each and every step we make towards maturity is a crucial part of our own journey towards a fruitful life. | SarahKoontz.com

Finally, I must patiently tend to my crops until they have produced a harvest for me.  This is the most challenging part for me, as it requires patience. Patience is not my strong suit. It is the end of August, and my garden is full of green tomatoes and immature squash plants.  The weather is turning and I fear that all will be lost moments before it is ready to be picked.

“One gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want. Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered.” Proverbs 11:24-25

The purpose of a vegetable seed is to grow a vegetable.  We have all grown plants that never produced a harvest for us. What a waste!  It is as though they sucked up all that life and just kept it for themselves. Sadly, I have known  people who do the same thing.  They are so consumed with their own needs and wants that they have nothing to offer others. I wonder if these individuals realize how much they are missing out on.

Just like the plants in my garden, many obstacles must be overcome in order to reach the place of fruitfulness. Each and every step we make towards maturity is a crucial part of our own journey towards a fruitful life. | SarahKoontz.com

Just like my plants, I am coming out of a difficult season of life.  A season where I was beat down and unable to produce fruit.  I am grateful to the Master Gardener who patiently tended to my needs during that time.  He did not give up on me; He continued to believe that I was capable of producing a harvest.  I have been restored and I am ready to bear fruit!

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.”  Ecclesiastes 3:1

I am learning to accept the fact that there are seasons in life; seasons of restoration, seasons of fruitfulness, seasons of trial and tribulation.  We are not capable of producing fruit in each season, but we must always be conscious of the purpose of our existence.

We were created to produce fruit.  When we are not, we need to stop and ask ourselves some challenging questions.

~Why am I not producing fruit?

~Do I have a relationship with the Master Gardener?

~When was the last time I produced fruit?

~Am I in a season of restoration or tribulation where fruitlessness is acceptable?

~What can I do to move towards fruitfulness in my life?

Just like the plants in my garden, many obstacles must be overcome in order to reach the place of fruitfulness. Each and every step we make towards maturity is a crucial part of our own journey towards a fruitful life. | SarahKoontz.com

If you aren’t currently seeing much fruit in your own life, don’t get down on yourself.  As I look back on my life, the seasons of fruitfulness are few and far between.  Just like the plants in my garden, many obstacles must be overcome in order to reach the place of fruitfulness.  Each and every step we make towards maturity is a crucial part of our own journey towards a fruitful life.

Part of my own journey towards fruitfulness is writing consistently on this new personal blog.  It is something I feel I am supposed to do. Will you take a moment to leave me a comment; to let me know you hear and understand what I am trying to say?  Leaving a comment on someone’s blog is a great way to start a conversation, who knows where it will lead…..

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Sarah Koontz

About Sarah Koontz

 
Sarah Koontz invites Christians of all ages to explore the beauty of God’s design. She is a passionate storyteller who enjoys using illustrations to communicate deep spiritual truths. Sarah lives on 13-acres in South Dakota with her husband, two daughters and a rowdy flock of 30 chickens. She revels in their simple, uncluttered life.

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Read Sarah’s full Bio Here.

14 thoughts on “Journey towards Fruitfulness

  1. Sarah that was beautifully written. I can defiantly relate to what you are saying as a fellow gardener. I do believe we go thru stages of bearing much fruit followed by times of rest and restoration so God can replenish our souls. I sometimes feel guilt when I am not producing fruit. Those times I need to accept Gods love and enjoy his presence. Be still and know that I am God. When he fills my cup I have more to give and more love to share.

    1. Guilt is such a battle, isn’t it Connie? Learning how to rest and to replenish our soul is one of life’s most challenging tasks. I believe that there are times where God strips away our ability to give so we realize how much we need to receive from Him. I think of how long those tiny seeds sit dormant just waiting for the right conditions to sprout new life. My seasons of dormancy have always been followed by great fruitfulness, because…as you said….He fills our cup and then we have more to give!

  2. Sarah, you write beautifully and, yes, your message spoke to me. It is a comfort to know that hardship is a season that will change and with faith and fortitude the next one will be warmer and uplifting to the soul.

    1. Yes, Christy! One of the most disheartening components of hardship is the feeling that it will never end; that we will never be free of it! Seasons always change, whether we are ready for it or not. I just think it seems to take longer when we are eagerly waiting for it than when we are hoping it will never end. I don’t know about you, but I never truly enjoy the seasons of hardship which makes them feel like they last for ever (even if, in reality, they are quite short).

      1. Absolutely agree. In the moment it is extremely hard to be patient or see the blessings taking root.
        Prayer and wonderfully supportive family & friends have helped me through those times.
        Thank you for sharing this and your other personal stories. God has blessed you with many strengths, Sarah!

    1. Lauren,

      Fellow gardeners always make me smile! I am so glad you stopped by my blog to read this piece, it is one that is near and dear to my heart. I have so many other articles about gardening (and the life lessons I’ve learned from playing in the dirt) over at Grounded & Surrounded. I hope you take a moment to swing by and check them out. Here’s the link: http://www.groundedandsurrounded.com/?s=garden

  3. Reading your words have encouraged me. I also write. It is long and hard to understand but you have helped me press on.

    I have been hindered by health and struggled to keep hope but God has so kept me.

  4. Hey Sarah,

    Thanks so much for this. I appreciate you so much. In a world that is starving for true connection, I feel so blessed by your vulnerability and honesty.

    Blessed to call you friend even though we have never met in person.

    Ange

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