I Prayed for Zucchini; God Sent Me Lilies
- Monday, August 01, 2011
Zucchini is the gold standard of my summer garden. I can eat a zucchini, by myself, every meal, every day, for a month and enjoy every squash. This spring, as we began to plan our garden, the best squash took priority. We would raise them from seed and have 3-4 different varieties, different colors, to extend that gold standard season.
This became the year of the unexpected.
I didn’t count on a spring of rain.
I didn’t anticipate flash floods, including the afternoon our backyard had a foot of water in it.
A cold May, with wet ground, that delayed our planting season, surprised me.
The seeds that were started needed to get in the ground. But we couldn’t walk in our garden, let alone till it, because the soil was wet. Even so, the leaves of our resurrection lilies sprouted in May were in full force the whole month. By the time the garden was dry enough to plant zucchini, the lily leaves were already brown and ready to be mowed down.
Finally, the young plants were in the ground. I counted the days to the first crop. This would be the year when I could eat a zucchini every single meal for a month.
It was still cold. While I waited on our zucchini, our normal lettuce season tripled. We had no zucchini, but we had salad 2 meals daily. I prayed give me this day my daily squash, but instead the Lord gave us our daily greens.
The plants started to look good. Except when the kids mistook my precious zucchini for weeds and hoed them down. So we had to start all over again.
Our garden looked ok but didn’t bear much fruit. We did soil tests and learned the spring flood had washed away most of the soil nutrients. That wouldn’t stop us. We learned to side dress. And we fed the plants weekly. We learned to make manure tea and spread the wealth. The garden was the best weeded we had ever had. Our daughter won a garden contest.
It still bore little fruit. And no zucchini.
Friends and neighbors who know of my zucchini addiction gave us their spares. Still no zucchini.
We had a nice crop of cabbage and broccoli – with an extended season because of cooler weather.
Still no zucchini.
Friends invited us to pick extra produce from their gardens – cherries, blackberries, corn, peaches, and more. When gardener friends know you love to preserve food, they are more likely to share extras; we’ve been more than blessed.
It is now August, and despite all our hard work, we haven’t harvested a single zucchini or squash from our best-laid garden plans. Now is the time when all good gardeners are swamped with fall harvests. Add homeschooling to the mix, and those first math lessons are occasionally done while ketchup simmers on the stove, the canner pressure is being watched, and a tub of cucumbers are draining, waiting to be made into pickles.
Since our award-winning garden that wouldn’t produce much food still isn’t, I don’t visit it every day. Would anything ever bear fruit in our garden?
Then last week, as I washed squash given to us by a friend, I looked out the kitchen window. There, beside the garden, was our annual row of surprise lilies. They were tall and thick with pink flowers.
Our garden finally bore fruit. In the form of flowers which I did nothing to cultivate or help grow.
Surprise lilies are also called resurrection lilies because they look promising in early spring, with beautiful green leaves. After they die down and we cut them away, we often forget their early promise. And then, in the heat of summer, when we least expect it, they return.
This year, the lilies gave me a resurrection of my hope. With rising prices and tight budgets, we make tough choices. The year I wanted our garden to supplement our food budget, it hasn’t. My gold standard for squash wilted. No matter how hard we worked or what we tried, nothing we had done before bore fruit. I had to learn one more time that what we have doesn’t come from my talent, work or effort. It instead is a gift from God.
When the resurrection lilies appeared with their pink blossoms, they reminded me that God sometimes helps things grow where we least expect them. I didn’t get the bumper squash crop of my dreams. God gave me something different from what I thought I wanted.
When I pray for zucchini, and God sends me lilies, I must remember He will provide a way for us to be fed – not just physically but spiritually.
We can work hard, play hard, and pray hard in life but do not need to worry hard too. Jesus told us, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Matthew 6:33-34) Perhaps instead of praying for zucchini, I should pray more for discernment.
We could call it Resurrection Eyes – to see the glories He gives us every single day, in countless ways.
And thank Him for them.
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