This spring my daughter, Faith, turned nine. In her little girl imagination and romanticized ideals, she shared her birthday desires; she wanted to plant a garden. She wanted her own tools, her own gardening bag, a watering can, and some seeds. Oh and a sunhat. I mean you can't garden without a wide brimmed sunhat. She's into the details. What can I say? I was a little skeptical, at first. I mean not really what a nine year old usually asks for. So I pressed in. Her resolve was steadfast. Maybe because she saw her grandmother, who lives with us, passionately plant, tend, water and gaze at her garden beds. Gaze at the beauty that came from those seeds. The diligence she saw in the tending. I never really got to the bottom of the why's but her request didn't change.
As a parent often does when the request is heartfelt and innocent, we granted her request. She opened her presents that late spring day with pure delight and joy. A gardening trowel, a shovel, a little carrying bag, gardening gloves, a bright blue watering can, of course the straw hat and little packets of Zinnia seeds displaying pictures of bright colors, vibrant blooms and masses of flowers on the outside of the package. With eagerness and anticipation, a few weeks later, we set to work. She picked the spot. She watched the sun each day to see where it shone the brightest and the longest. She walked the yard examining the patches of ground and then choose the area around the mailbox. The expectant blooms something others could cherish, as well. A beauty that would greet whoever drove by. We set to work. As the seeds fell into the soft, toiled earth they were brown, tiny and hard resembling no life or vibrancy. The breeze that day effortlessly trying to carry them away. Into the ground they went covered by moist dirt and a sprinkling of water.
We waited. And waited. And waited. Nothing. No sign of life. Week after week. Day after day she would check. Then one day mid-summer what appeared to be soft, tiny, very tender green sprouts appeared. Not many, but a sign of life. Oh the joy she felt that day as she saw a glimpse of what was to come. It should be soon now as visions of fields flooded with flowers filled her head.
A few days later, that joy quickly turned to sadness. One of her older brothers is our lawn boy. With mowing comes weed whacking. You probably can guess where this story is going. That's right. The tender shoots peaking around the mailbox looked almost like weeds in his 16 year old mind. He was set on a mission weed whacker in hand moving his way around the yard. You guessed it, those tender shoots were in fact whacked. Lopped off and cut down.
Some tears later, an apology from her brother and gentle words of encouragement and her heart was mended. I tried as I could to speak hope into her heart. That even though those shoots were weed whacked something still could come. They would regrow. The seed was there. I think her resolve and vision was a little marred but she kept to watering and waiting.
A few weeks ago, we saw our first bud. The shoots had reappeared. The stem grew sturdy and the most beautiful yellow blossom appeared. I can't begin to tell you the glee and delight that came from my little girl the moment she laid eyes on that bloom.
It has been many months since those seeds were gently placed in the soil. The packet said the waiting period would be 30-60 days. It has been more like 90-120. But this is what I captured this morning.
It isn't a bountiful harvest or a field of zinnias, but it the product of a love, a heartfelt desire, tender care, waiting and a hope that never died even in the whacking and the sight of barrenness. It is faith. It is beautiful, steadfast faith evidences a harvest after the seed is planted.
This very website that you come to today is very much my (our) patch of Zinnia's. It is evidence of the faith seed planted by God many years ago into my heart and that of Brenda Harris. You can read our individual stories and our collective ministry story in the navigation bar on top. God saw what was to come. What He would bring forth. He asked us to be faithful in the planting, the tending and the waiting. It hasn't always been easy. Over the years, the weed whacker has come in our direction and to the work of the ministry. At times, it seemed there might not be a going forward and yet God, in His mercy, would give a glimpse of a tender shoot peaking through.
"being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ." Philippians 1:6
This website isn't the completed work but it is evidence of the work deep in the soil of my and Brenda's heart. It was a seed of desire and faith to bring the gospel to women. Women needing Jesus. Women needing God's truth in a world of lies and deceit. Women needing hope. Women needing healing. Women needing fellowship, prayer and support. Women needing to know they are loved and cared for first by the God of the universe and secondly by others. Women desperate for answers to the why's of this crazy world and time we live in. Women needing a sure footing and encouragement for each day. Jesus is the answer to the cries of our hearts. As the Lord brought forth the Delighting in the Lord ministry step by step, bit by bit, He has now brought forth this place for us to declare His name and share of His great love for each of you.
Welcome. We are so glad to meet you. May this be a resting spot for you along life's hard steps, along life's joyful leaps, along life's mundane. May you find encouragement, hope and God's love for each step.
I don't know what season you find yourself today? I don't know what seed has been planted deep in your heart and you're in the waiting. You are in the tending. You are in the whacking. You are in the harvest. Whatever season it is, God is working behind the scenes deep in that soil and through that seed. Don't give up. Keep pressing into the greatest Tender of that seed, Jesus. Keep looking for the sun. Keep watering. And don't stop looking for the harvest. It's coming, my friend. It's coming. He alone is faithful.
Much love to you,
Stacy (and Brenda!)