Posted by: Kara Luker | October 23, 2020

When life feels small

The tiny little plants I bring home from various nurseries tell impossible tales of how big they will be someday, demanding large chunks of space for their roots and leaves to expand. As a gardener, I really should take this into account. But it requires faith that this supposed growth will actually happen and patience to tolerate the underwhelming, barren look of my garden until then. Because I lack in both of these areas, I’m a notorious overplanter.

Take, for instance, the zucchini plant I bought for my veggie garden a few years back. There was no way a little leaf sprouting from a few square inches of soil was going to take up 5 or 6 feet of space. I mean, come on… who makes this stuff up?? Plus, I was not about to waste all that needed garden space on a single plant. So I gave it about a foot on each side, which felt extremely generous at the time, and surrounded it with corn, tomatoes and peppers. It turns out that whoever wrote the info card that came with the plant knew what they were talking about because that thing got HUGE.  All the surrounding veggies had to be moved – more than once, if I remember right – to accommodate the surprising growth of that leafy giant.

Sometimes my life has felt small like the zucchini sprout I brought home, underwhelming the landscape and looking decidedly unimpressive. I’m pretty sure God has spent a good many years uprooting weeds and crowding plants of busyness and false identities so my roots can grow deep, my branches can spread wide and my life can produce fruit – hopefully lots of it. For someone who has struggled with faith and patience in more areas than just gardening, it has often seemed like we are going in the wrong direction. Like, shouldn’t we be planting more instead of removing what I’ve worked hard to put there?? But God is not concerned with how things look (or how I feel about how they look). He is a master gardener who knows His plants well – each unique person on this earth – and will tend to them with faith and patience until they are mature and thriving, fulfilling the potential contained in each seed.

I don’t know exactly what that will look like for each of us, except that it will be different. But I do know that there has been a shift for me; a growing surrender in my need for an above-the surface identity and a comfort in the space around me, even if my life never fills it with grand branches or flowering vines. Because my roots are getting established. They are growing healthy and strong in who God made me to be. And anything that grows out of that, whether big or small, has got to be good. I’m encouraged by this sense of rest and security and think that someday it might even gain the scope of imagination and excitement, knowing that what I see now – in  myself or in others – is only a small glimpse of what is to come.


  1. Thank you, Kara. I love this.

    • Thank you, Kim!

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