Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Seed and The Harvest

I have a Plumeria cutting sitting in my office windowsill right now. My husband and I got it on our last trip to Hawaii, but the problem is, we went in October, which means I’ve had to do the rooting process indoors. And let’s just say I don’t have a greenhouse.

I want this thing to grow so badly. I bought the special root grower powder stuff, I did research on how to plant in the right way, and I’ve kept it near the sunniest window in the house to try to maximize its exposure to the sun while keeping it protected from the elements.

And then I've stared. Literally stared. I go in there all the time and just look at it, hoping, wishing, praying some leaf bud will form, some flower, something—anything that will show the evidence of life, of roots.

It’s been four months. You’re supposed to see leaves after one to two. In other words, it wasn’t looking good for my Plumeria. Should’ve bought the already-rooted kind, I keep thinking to myself. But the thing is, I didn’t. I wanted this one, with the pretty multicolored flowers on the packaging. From our favorite place on the North Shore. Not some mass-produced Floridian Plumeria from down the street. This is my heart flower, the one I was so careful to keep safe on the flight home.

This week, the Plumeria started changing. No, it hasn’t boomed yet. No, there are no flowers or even leaves. But a couple weeks ago, I adjusted the blinds to allow more sunlight to stream through, and it must’ve done something. Because now, the brown “scars” on the tops of the cutting are breaking up, and the littlest evidence of fresh-looking sprouts is coming through.

Now, I don’t know where you are in your writing journey or what you’re hoping will flower. But I’m writing this because I want you to know—and I believe God wants you to know—there is hope. There is always, always hope.

Maybe you’re looking at the plant that is your writing life, and right now, it looks like nothing more than a dead stick. A very dry, very brown, very brittle stick, breaking from rejection.

It’s very easy to yank up that stick and throw it away. Or to shove a prying finger into the soil to check prematurely for roots. But the thing is—and this is key—doing that will disrupt the natural progression of the beautiful mystery that is life.

God has called you. He has gifted you with purpose, and He desires to see that cultivated and propagated. Sometimes when the seed is still in the soil, the process seems invisible. But don’t mistake visibility for actuality.

Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”

Maybe it’s winter in your writing life. Maybe everything seems frozen and cold. Maybe God’s even got you on a windowsill beside the sunniest window in the room. Maybe you’re tempted to rip the whole thing out of the soil and toss it in the trash.

Don’t.

You don’t see what’s happening underneath. It’s exactly what you hoped for and so much more than you dreamed. And you don't want to miss the fragrance of dreams.

Where are you hoping God will sow seed in your writing life, and where has He already? Have you seen the evidence of flowers lately? What actions can you take to protect the “dream seeds” God has planted in your life?

*Pictures used from alohaislandweddings.com and exoticplumeria.com

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Ashley Clark writes romantic comedy with southern grace. Born and raised in the South, her favorite vegetable is macaroni and cheese, and she loves sweet tea. Ashley has an M.A. in English and enjoys teaching literature courses at her local university. She's an active member of ACFW and runs their newcomer's loop. When she's not writing, Ashley's usually busy rescuing stray animals and finding charming new towns. She's thrilled to be represented by the fabulous Karen Solem. You can read more of Ashley's thoughts on writing, crafts, and life on her personal blog:http://ashleyclarkwrites.blogspot.com/. She's also on Facebook and Twitter (writerashley).

13 comments:

Keli Gwyn said...

The Lord has blessed me in so many ways. One of the biggest blessings is the forging of friendships with many wonderful people--like all of you awesome Alley Cats. =)

Sarah Forgrave said...

This was an inspired and inspiring post, Ashley. Beautiful.

Joanne Sher said...

Oh, Ashley - this is ABSOLUTELY beautiful. And encouraging. And inspiring. THANK YOU.

Lindsay Harrel said...

Love this analogy. Right now, I'm in the watering stage. I'm cultivating my skills so I can write the best novels possible. :)

Mary Vee said...

Thanks, Ashley.
Nice post.

Ruth Douthitt said...

Very thoughful post! Got me thinking...

I am beginning to see real growth in my writing career. It is encouraging!

God is so good.

Teri said...

Love this post! Thanks for the encouraging analogy that's applicable not only for our writing, but also for many other areas - like ministry and prayer.

Angie said...

You are such a blessing to me! My writing has finally started to take root in some intentional and well-prepared soil. And as you know, the story I am trying to tell fits this analogy perfectly!

writerashley said...

Thanks everyone! But I can't take credit. I sent up a quick prayer while trying to decide what to write about this week, and the words just flowed. I really believe God wanted someone to read this message today. So if that's you, know that He has called you out and crafted a beautiful purpose for you. You. Matter.

When it hit me that I wouldn't know the roots of my Plumeria had formed until I saw the leaves, I found that to be such a powerful image. In many ways, that's where I still am in my writing journey. Things are happening. Having an agent is amazing. But I still don't know what color the flowers are going to be. And it can be really discouraging to wait and wait by the windowsill while the roots are taking shape... it can also be tempting to want to speed up the process! But unless we take the time to allow each stage to fully cultivate the plant, we'll never see the growth of what could be.

Thanks for the sweet words, everyone! I wish you great writing ideas and words swift as a river to come today as you invest in your dreams.

Sherrinda Ketchersid said...

Beautiful post, Ashley! So thoughtful and lovely. I went to the funeral of a beautiful woman of God who lived a life full. There were so many hard things in her life and yet the growth in her life was a beautiful thing. It is interesting that sometimes we can't really see the growth until later, and then...wow!!!

Thanks for such a beautiful reminder of that.

Pepper said...

Perfect!
And much needed, Ash.

Thank you for this beautiful post.

Gwendolyn Gage said...

A touching, inspiring post, Ashely. We all need this kind of encouragement. I had to share it, knowing a writer friend who has been especially discouraged this week. May God bless you!

Karlene Jacobsen said...

This is exactly what I needed to read tonight. Thank you.