What We Sowed
My pastor talked a couple weeks ago about how good it is that God designed the world to be an example of the idea that we reap what we sow. God also wove grace in there, which both complicates and simplifies the farming metaphor, but truth is truth: The world is designed for us to get out what we put in.
I’ve been wrestling with the concept, and spent a lot of time thinking about what we are sowing right now, right here in our normal days in our tiny house. What things, good or bad, will we reap in one, two, or ten years based on the life we are living today?
When we got married, we talked a lot about trying to set ourselves up well in the future. We knew that the first year we spent together would be building foundations, creating patterns, good or bad, that would be hard to break after they had been formed. From the beginning, we wanted to do everything we could to create good habits that brought life and peace, and not bad ones that destroyed those things.
So, here we are, after a year, and driving home from church, I found myself wondering out loud to Paul- Did we do what we said we wanted to do? Did we build intentional patterns?
Or, a rephrase: Here, at the end of our first year together, what are we reaping now that we sowed throughout the last twelve months?
Because if we are always sowing something, good or bad, then we must be reaping something, good or bad, in this place.
Just a second after I finished asking the question out loud to Paul, an answer to my own question popped up in my mind.
It’s our marriage, I thought, and sitting in the car, tears welled up in my eyes as I reflected on how true that statement was.
If Paul and I have intentionally sowed anything this past year, put greater time and energy into one thing above everything else, it has been our marriage, and for that, I am beyond grateful.
Especially because it wasn’t our idea- in all our big, grand choices of this year, between a month long honeymoon overseas, turning into a three month period where we barely worked but spent tons of time drinking hot chocolate and watching the snow fall from our Colorado townhome, to going to Cuba, to coming here, we have truly just been following the Lord’s guidance. And it is a beautiful thing to stop, almost at the end of our first year together, and realize that it wasn’t our decision to make time together the biggest theme in our first year: it was the Lord’s.
What we have spent time digging and planting for future reaping was time together. Time to play and have fun and learn to start seeing each other as teammates and friends. What we have been watering this year is the mingling of our souls, letting ourselves become one flesh.
What a beautiful gift it has been.
I was talking on the phone to my friend Davis, and since we hadn’t caught up in a while, I was filling him in on the whole story- Cuba, North Carolina, the works, and then suddenly, mid-story, I felt my attitude change: All at once, I wasn’t sitting on a bench outside the YMCA, but I looked down and found myself on a soap box.
“You know what, Davis?” I told him, feeling my tone become more matter-of-fact than when I was telling him stories, “I think what I learned this year is that the whole world is going to tell you that after you’re married you have to settle down and buy a house and make lots of money and be responsible, and I think that maybe that’s not true. I don’t necessarily think those things are bad, or that the way we did it is the way that everyone should do it, but I’m glad that instead, we followed the Lord to Cuba and spent all the money we could have used for a house down payment to not work for a year and just be together. For us, it was awesome.”
For us, it was God’s perfect plan.
Out of all the months, it's hard not to believe that December was built for reflection. I think maybe it was made to be a mile-marker in our years, and there must be something about having a Christmas tree up that makes us remember the last time we saw them in everyone’s living room, the last December. It’s encouraging to be able to look back every Christmas season and say “This is what the Lord has done in the months between! Look! He was here, and here, and here!”
In the culture we live in, it’s so easy for me to constantly be looking forward, to only ask the question “What are we sowing for the future?” and not “What are we reaping today?” But when I do that, when I take a moment to pause, it’s easier to see a grander story, a bigger thing that I got to be a part of. I have more faith in what we are sowing for the future when I remember that today is a result of our sowing yesterday, and the day before that, and years before that.
My prayer is that as you look at your tree, you would ask the same questions: What are we reaping right now that we sowed all year long? And of course, what do we want to sow now that we will reap next December? And what do we need to focus on in the normal, little-life moments of every day to see a big, beautiful harvest this time next year?
*I mentioned that the thoughts of reaping what we sow came from my pastor. I attend Summit Church in Chapel Hill, and the link to the sermon is here.