Unbidden Growth

I must have a brown thumb.

I’ve been trying to grow herbs from seed, and this year, I even tried using my own harvested cilantro seeds from last year.  I thought I was being agriculturally adept.  It felt close to stepping out back to gather eggs or milk the cow before breakfast.

But it’s been well over a month, and here’s how my cilantro looks.

cilantro pot

It’s not pretty.  In fact, I think all I’m growing is mildew. 

I’m not sure what I did wrong.  I followed all the instructions for drying the seeds, and I carefully stored them and planted them at the proper depth.  I watered them regularly and gave them good soil.  I put them in my sunniest window sill to germinate. 

But I got nothin’.

Yesterday, I was taking advantage of the sunshine and sitting on our deck, reading.  I’d put last year’s plants in the shade along the side of our building.  I looked over, and I noticed something green peeking out from atop one of the larger pots.

cilantro grow

“You’ve got to be kidding,” I said, loudly enough that Dan wandered out to see what I was worked up about.

Apparently, a few of the cilantro seeds that I didn’t manage to harvest survived the winter and sprouted into beautiful, healthy cilantro plants. Let’s not forget that they were under the awning and had no way of getting water. 

I’m worried that if I start taking care of them, they’re going to die with all that attention.  They seem to thrive on being neglected and malnourished.

Other than learning a lesson about my pathetic gardening skills, I also took to heart something about the way God works in my life. 

Sometimes, I’ll have a goal, something I want to accomplish that makes a lot of sense, something I can justify biblically, intellectually, and with the full support of my friends and family.  But it’s not God’s timing, or perhaps it’s not his exact plan.

This happens quite frequently with writing projects or ministries that I want to do.  I dive in, giving it my all, and then it falls short.  I don’t get the writing contract.  People don’t get involved in the ministry. And I’m discouraged.

But then God brings the project to life in a new way, often a very surprising and unexpected one.  A new publisher asks me to submit a very similar writing project. The same ministry opens up, just at a different time or in a different location.

My little cilantro plants should have grown.  I followed all the rules.  But it didn’t happen, and I got discouraged.  But surprisingly, I was growing healthy cilantro plants without even realizing it!  I just needed to know where to look and to be patient to find them.

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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Amy, you have volunteer Cilantro plants! While you were busy planting, you were given a gift – free Cilantro, which you didn’t plan on, plant or expect. Sound familiar? There are many parallels between gardening and faith and the Word of God. In my garden I have a big barrel, which by mid summer will be overflowing with mint. Seven years ago, when you and Dan were first married, Dan tended a straggly little mint plant on a sunny window in your apartment. As you know, when you moved, I gave the mint a new home, and some serious pruning. Like your marriage, your blog, and all the things in your life, well nurtured, your little plant has grown 1000 fold. And when you get a house someday, I’m loading it up and bringing it back to you. Plants, like Faith, are meant to be shared. – Mom

    AL: I think I’ll settle for a little start, not the whole barrel. You have a heck of a lot of mint now! Gardening is great for lots of faith parallels, which explains why Jesus liked to use them in his parables (faith of a mustard seed, the seed sowed in different soil, etc). Thanks for sharing mom!

  2. I love to garden and constantly see spiritual lessons about life as I work. Even bugs that bug my garden have lessons for me. Did you know aphids are born pregnant? Mull that one over for a bit!

    The mint would be great for a mojito party this summer. I’d take a barrel any day!

    AL: That aphid business is a bit creepy. Guess I’m thankful we don’t work that way!

    Okay, point taken about the mint. The more the merrier! I’m also a sucker for iced green tea with mint.

  3. The same thing happened to me with my cilantro! I was rummaging through a pot full of soil and found a tiny little cilantro plant, already started for me. I couldn’t believe my eyes, but now it’s sprouting up quite nicely with my other store-bought starters.

    I think these sort of gifts make the summer tacos even tastier.

    AL: Cilantro must be a hearty if it can survive what we’ve put it through! I too am looking forward to all kinds of yummy Mexican and Thai dishes with it!


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