Just After Hitting “Send” to God

“Nalia, look!”

I called her over and we both stared into the rumpled earth.

“I planted these last year and they hid under the snow all winter.”

“What are they?” she asked in ten year old curiosity, as my seven year old Daniel peeked over her shoulder too.

Photo Credit: Flickr User: See-Ming Lee, Creative Commons, cc license

“They’re parsnips; kind of like a white carrot,” I laughed. Plunging my fingers deeper into cold spring soil, I traced dirt away from the white round vegetables in the ground.

Feathery green plumes marked each veggie treasure. I tugged and gently loosened them one plant at a time, before ripping them out of the ground. Black dirt crumbled and tumbled from the round tubulars and I laughed to see food and life burst from underground.

Because the truth was I had forgotten about them. Twelve months ago I had eagerly torn open the paper packet of seeds and stared in dismay at its contents.

“They’re so tiny!”

Round brown flakes swirled and mounded inside the seed packet. Pouring a handful into my palm then, I had been afraid the seeds would blow away in a May breeze or be snatched up by cardinals and sparrows. Poking tiny finger holds into cool soil up to my knuckles, I slid one or two lightweight seeds inside, hoping at least several would grow.

Like a Bermuda Triangle in my garden, that corner of raised beds stayed stubbornly bare that spring, while Queen Ann sugar snap peas, Early Contender bush beans, and the butterfly-seedling life force of morning glory flowers had sashayed out of the ground.

In early summer, tall fern-like plants had stood up and crowded that corner of the garden, bowing heads conspiratorially, and I had hoped parsnips were fattening underground. Summer had swelled, crescendoed, and abated. Autumn’s trees had dropped reds and yellows that crumpled into browns and tangled in the parsnip greens.

“Parsnips are better after several frosts,” I told Mark as we peered out the living room windows in November and December. Snows fell.

This week, the soil warmed and ready, my red tulips bobbing in the breeze, I walked barefoot to my garden and tugged curiously on a parsnip’s green top. Wiggling, prying, I pulled up a plump white parsnip.

“Nalia, come see!”

A small mountain of white parsnips mound up on my patio table now, the rain washing them nicely for me. And the parsnips suddenly remind me of my prayers.

Like tiny tremulous seeds I shake out and hold in small hands, they feel so paltry to the task. I plant them and wait, and time seems to slow some days. There are days when I wonder what will grow to fill that space. And as I wait, wonder, and trust the Grower’s instructions, seasons pass. 

Life unfolds beneath the surface. In the dark, treasures swell and mature. In the time I’ve forgotten them, God hasn’t. They are sweetening, ripening, growing better by the day. It’s in the frost that kills and in winter’s long nights that the parsnips grow the sweetest.

After winter’s thaw, petite purple crocuses and grape-like hyacinth clusters mark the passing time. Greenery emerges new life from the parsnips corner and I’m suddenly reminded of prayers and plantings from a year ago.

Crouching to my knees, I dig and pull, finding the treasures God has been growing all along.

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  1. Marja Verschoor-Meijers on April 26, 2016 at 10:41 am

    It comes to my mind that we need to get on our knees to find such treasures. Good post, thanks!

  2. Linda Stoll on April 26, 2016 at 1:29 pm

    Praise God that He takes the paltry, the seemingly insignificant, and brings forth the finest of fruit!

    There's hope for us here …

    Thanks, Jennifer!

  3. Unknown on April 28, 2016 at 4:50 pm

    Great story, analogy, and lesson. Beautiful writings of the little things that point to the majesty of our Father. This captured my heart.

  4. Cheryl Barker on May 4, 2016 at 4:21 pm

    We did indeed both have planting on our minds last week, didn't we, Jennifer? 🙂 Love your reminder that our prayers are planted seeds as well. Wonderful thought and truth.

  5. cabinart on May 6, 2016 at 3:56 pm

    Wow, Jennifer, an entire year in the ground and they are good?? Where I live, the gophers would have sucked those down in the first month. Good analogy to prayer.

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