Posted by: Kara Luker | May 28, 2021

It starts with joy

With no room parent in Chase’s class this year to pass along relevant information, teacher’s appreciation week nearly passed without my knowledge… until the morning of the last day of the week when Chase alerted me to the fact, along with an urgent request for something special to bring. With only 15 minutes to spare, I sent Chase to his playroom to make a card and then dashed out with some scissors to the backyard where my eyes had fallen through the kitchen window upon a solution for Mrs. Valencia’s gift – flowers from my garden. I harvested a handful while Chase finished his loving note to “the best teacher ever” and then added a few of his favorite blooms to a bouquet that he proudly gifted this teacher who has worked so hard this extremely challenging year. 

Here’s the thing. When I started planting my garden, it was partly about filling in some barren space but mostly about the newly discovered pleasure it brought me. I thoroughly enjoyed allowing my mind to wander and wonder while my hands were occupied with dirt and new life (and don’t even get me started on how therapeutic it was to meander down the aisles of a nursery). Plus, if all went well, these plants would grow and add to the beauty of my home. While not everything thrived, the process was as enriching to me as to the plants that successfully stretched out their roots in my soil. What never dawned on me was that what I planted for my own joy could be shared for the benefit of another, something that would not only cause me to willingly part with the treasured fruits of my labor but bring a greater level of delight than the gardening (and garden) itself. 

Something similar happened when we were house shopping. Mostly, we were looking for a home that could meet the needs of our small family and, if at all possible, my parents. We spent nearly four years looking at dozens of homes, some of which checked the boxes and appealed to our senses, but none of which brought the sense of joy and rightness we were waiting for. Every single time we walked away from seeing one of these houses, I felt a deep relief to return to our sweet rental. Until the day we walked onto this property and didn’t want to to leave – ever. The surge of restful delight spoke to our hearts, “This is where we belong; where we want to be planted and stretch out our roots.” It is where we now live, still a wonder to me. What I didn’t realize, though, was what a blessing this house would be to so many others besides ourselves… to my parents who live on the property, the neighbor kids who swim in the pool, the family and friends who come for dinner or life group or special events, the guests who pop in for an overnighter or the ones we get to host for an extended visit while we spend days catching up, eating and playing together – and even the puppy and chickens that now call this place home. Being an introvert with control issues, this new reality hasn’t come without challenges, but I keep finding that there is something in the giving of our “harvest” that imparts to me a fulfillment beyond anything I had ever hoped to experience; far more, I suspect, than those we are giving to.

It makes sense when I think about it, this Kingdom principle that was revealed from the beginning. God created us out of the joy of His heart for the pleasure of relationship; to wander and wonder with us, getting His hands dirty in the soil of our lives as He plants us in His garden and tends to us with great care. This is the God who came as man to be close to us and make a way for us. Who laughed and ate and drank with us. Who forgave and healed us. Who calls us to live as He does – in the astonishing joy of love, not duty, where He knows our roots will grow deep and thrive. Where we will grow into an abundance that can’t help but overflow from this sweetly shared communion to the world around us. Because this kind of life cannot be contained by the edges of self, to be held tight and hoarded. No, like the loaves and fish that would be a feast or the barrels of water that would be wine, its starts as one thing, small and immensely humble, and becomes transformed by the ecstasy of heaven, a miraculous bounty, multiplied in the giving. But the giving starts with joy, rooted in the fertile soil of love. What a beautiful harvest it will bring… it can’t help but bring. 


  1. Kara I stand in awe of your ability to enrich our souls with your written words. You are a gift to us all. 🧡🧡🧡 Joe


    • Your kind words mean more than I can express! You are a gift to me 💕

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