The Garden and Compost by Kim Rush

We have lived in the same house these last six years in Mexico and have a small yard space that we share with the two other houses on our lot. It seems like every family picture we have taken here has been in that little yard. You can see the progress of the garden as our family grows from year to year. The garden has reflected the seasons of our life in Mexico as much as it displays the rainy and the dry seasons of the climate. Periods of time have passed when life demanded too much and the garden was neglected, lacking water and care. But as the kids got a bit older, and life became easier, that shows in the garden as well.

A couple of years ago, we started to compost our organic trash. The burial of the trash was really a decision Tim committed to, and my part was the saving of scraps. (If you know me, you know I am naturally good at saving scraps of all sorts). This decision is also a reflection of what had been growing in us; more simple, organic principles at work in ourselves and our churches. It seems that so much of our growth and faith can be illustrated in the compost, so much that I cannot explain everything God has taught us there. The garden, and especially the composting time, has become a favorite spot of refuge and prayer for both of us.

The most exciting principle God has shared is the promise of life. The house church we have spent the most time with in Jocotan came from such a rough past. Their lives were full of pain and scarred by cycles of hurt and abuse. From the time we met them (and with growing certainty even more today), we felt that only God could make a difference in the bitter reality they were living. But sometimes we saw nothing good happening, and it was discouraging and sad. At those times, some struggling seed would sprout from the compost . . . something that could have been trash sprouted to become a healthy, amazing plant. It never ceases to bring hope in our hearts for the Kingdom of God to reign over the chaos.

We have had countless spontaneous plants pop up: pumpkin, jalapeƱo, avocado trees, tomatoes, bell pepper, onion, garlic, beans, flowers and most recently a pineapple plant! We try to do our best with what God has placed before us, and some have matured to produce fruit. Many we have given away, in hopes that the same seeds we are planting will begin to reproduce in other places. There is a small garden in Jocotan with Serrano chili, cucumber, pumpkin, tomato and avocado. These were not the first plants growing there, and hopefully will not be the last. Spiritually speaking, we pray that the plants mature to bear fruit and that the fruit is shared to nurture the whole neighborhood. We pray for more gardens to grow and spread.

More wisdom God imparted through the garden (for us seeing it has been more meaningful that hearing it): The best soil has plenty of fertilizer, (which left to itself would have been a stinky mess). Unless a seed dies and is buried, it will not grow. We need to give over our trash to God, he certainly has better things planned. The plants must have light and water. The ones that have sprouted in the shadows will stretch across the yard to the sun. We make mistakes. Sometimes our best efforts to help are damaging, like when I tried soap suds for organic pest removal (suggestion from another gardener) and all but killed off three big, beautiful tomato plants. But God revived them. What we watch other gardeners do, we will imitate. Home grown fruits taste better and has more meaning to us than what someone else has grown for us.

The most recent chapter is that we have a new neighbor after a year of having the garden to ourselves. Since the rainy season has not begun yet, this is another promise from God that He is really the one taking care of our garden. She wants to learn to compost, and she loves plants. Ha, I just realized that her name is Eva (Eve). Coincidence? In addition to caring for the garden, she is buying all of our potted plants from us, with the promise that we can buy whatever back if we have space when we return. One of our first cucumber plants is almost ready to be enjoyed. I was showing her the plants she was buying and she said excitedly, “Oh! I have a cucumber!” My insides said, “What? You have a cucumber?” She has not paid us or done any of the work. But God says that while one plants, another waters, and still another reaps the harvest . . . only He provides the increase.

I had some verses hanging on our bedroom wall as a banner, (now they are in Eva’s house). “As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it sprout and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” Isaiah 55:10-11.

There is a modern proverb that says “More things grow in the garden than the gardener sows.” Very true. Thank you, God.


Kara Lane said...

Very encouraging (Kim...I think). Thank you, and we are praying for you to have safe travels.

Kara Lane said...

Ok so I looked at your post again, and I see you did say it was by Kim. I thought that sounded like you. I'm so excited to see you!

Kristi said...

Thanks Kim...I'm glad you were able to sit down and write that down. Very encouraging.
Love you and am looking forward to seeing you. I hope your trip is safe...wow...you leave soon. I hope your leaving is peaceful knowing God will take care.
Love you guys.

cemotosnack said...

What great insight. Everything grows better when it's in God's hands. When we willingly put it in His hands it works out better than when we fight it.

I love the idea that even the grossest trash becomes something useful in His hands.