Monday, January 4, 2010

Winter, Leaves and Compost

It seems that most of us somehow get the idea that winter is a completely dormant season, dormant in that on the surface we see nothing going on.  This is two fold, because some things are actually beyond our ability to see but also because we are just not looking closely enough.  In the garden the soil is teaming with life beneath its surface.  Roots continue to grow...yes the cells of those plants are splitting and making more cells even in the cold.  There are a myriad of fungi, bacteria and creepy crawly creatures that are working within its depths so our plants will be able to take up nutrients from the spent plant material on top and beneath the soil.

The picture above is of one of my Hellebore plants which I uncovered this week so the emerging flowers could be seen.  The flowers began emerging a couple weeks ago but were buried beneath fallen leaves.  Hellebore are among the first flowers to bloom in my garden and always bring a flush of joy at their sighting because it is the signal that the cold and somewhat dreary winter will soon be past for another year.  When I went out to shoot the pictures of their emerging I discovered Hellebore seeds had also begun to sprout at the same time.  I suppose it should not be surprising really as they are one of the hardiest plants in the garden and winter is their season of glory.  This reminded me that even in winter seasons of life...we are always long as we are breathing we are growing.

The sweeping away of the leaves that covered these emerging flower buds brought something to mind for me that I want to share here.  God often hides from us the work He is doing within us. His hiding is probably a good thing as just like the leaf mulch provides protection for the plants beneath it, His hiding provides protection from us getting our mitts on things prematurely...a thing we are prone to do sometimes in our wanting to get things done quickly.  Just as the seeds in the ground sprout at a specific time, flower at another and produce seed and go dormant at yet another time, so God sees best the needs of this work of growth in us...what the roots of it are, when the emerging of it should be revealed and when the full flower should be seen and enjoyed.

The leaves of our past experiences are rich in nutrients that, in the proper time through God's breaking them down for us, will be released for our nourishment as well as the nourishment of others around us when we share from these experiences in testimony or council or comfort.  The experiences we have during the seasons of life fall and cover the soil of our hearts.  They, like the leaves, can offer protect us during the seasons of adversity, be they winter's icy blast, the winds of passing storms, floods or drought.  Looking back on our experiences during seasons of trial with an ear to what God has taught or shown us is taking up the nutrient rich benefits of spiritual compost.  It is us drinking that which is rich with new understanding, knowledge and wisdom, all of which aid in keeping us in our faith in times of difficulty, as our roots of faith continue to grow ever deeper by the holding fast to God's promises to us.  This is God's provision for us that our faith would not fail as Jesus prayed for us all in His final prayer for His own before he went to the cross.

Just as the hidden growth of a plant is important to its future health so is this hidden work in us.  It is also a tender work and often deep within us.  If this season is a winter season and you are longing for spring to break forth, be encouraged that spring will come in its proper time.  God is at work even if you cannot see it for He works in secret and knows the hidden things of the heart.  He will not leave you nor forsake you but is ever mindful of you, keeping your tears in His bottle.  May you be comforted and encouraged in Christ today by the Holy Spirit.

If you know of someone who might need this word please share it with them.  These things I write are not for myself nor for my glory but as testimony to those who God desires to encourage by helping them to understand they are not alone and winter is not forever.

Copyright © 2010 by Patty Hicks

All rights reserved. No part of this blog may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including printing, recording or by any information storage and retrieval system without written permission from the author, except for the inclusion of brief quotations in a review. All reviews must include author's name and a link back to this blog.


  1. left out one very important talent in your bio on the home page. You have a writing talent and a good one at that.

  2. Thank you much...just a little vessel here that God seems pleased to gift as such.