While I enjoy the newness that each changing season brings, I’m especially fond of fall. Maybe it’s because I’m a farm girl, born and raised among the corn and bean fields of the Midwest. With each passing year of my life, I’m more aware of how those roots run deep in me. My husband and I now make our home in Arkansas whose simple Southern warmth brings to my heart memories of the environment which initially formed me. Recently, I was encouraged to reflect on what harvest means to me this year—what does harvest look like in my life right now? As I look inside my heart, what seeds have borne fruit this year?
How about you? What comes to your heart and mind as you hear the word harvest—your harvest this year? Does it feel abundant or scarce? You may relate to one or both of these passages:
“We are lost in wonder at all that you have done for us, our Lord and Mighty God.”
“God of harvest wagons and fields of ripened grain, many gifts of growth lie within the season of our surrender. We must wait for harvest in faith and hope. Grant us patience when we do not see the blessings.” Sr. Joyce Rupp
In my own life, I’ve had seasons where I have felt like I was thriving and other times when I was barely surviving. Yet, I believe that God speaks through it all if we give him an open, listening ear—and heart.
If you feel drawn to this, may I suggest that you to take some time with God in prayer and ask him to show you how He sees you at this time of year—What does your harvest look like to God? You may want to do this a few times and see what bubbles to the surface as you give God the time to speak to your heart. When we pay attention to life—to what is going on around us as well as inside of us—God can grant us a sense of the sacred in the everyday, in all of life.
Let’s look at both the exterior events of our lives this year as well as the condition of our hearts. As the late Sister Macrina Weiderkehr used to say, “we’ve all been bitten and blessed by life.” God desires to mend the scared and scarred places of our lives. We can offer God the hurt and disappointment we carry in our hearts, and ask for His ongoing healing. May we not be too proud to invite God into those tender places over and over again until they are healed.
Scripture often mentions “In the fullness of time…” This speaks of harvest to me—the time it takes for the seeds to grow and bear fruit. And so it is with us. We each are becoming—day by day—until the fullness of time for us. Like the farmer, we must arm ourselves with great patience as we wait with hope.
While we are reflecting and listening to God in all this, we may become aware of things that we need to let go of in order to make space for God to give us a new harvest. To help us sing a new song in the seasons to come. Psalm 92 speaks to me when it describes a life “still full of sap, still green, still bearing fruit in their old age.” God desires for us always to enjoy a season of harvest.
Everyone’s harvest will look different just as we each are unique creations. Here are a few examples of what a harvest could include:
*An increase in the fruit of the Spirit: patience, kindness, gentleness, and tenderness of heart
*More courage, strength, and peace
*More time and space to love well
*A greater capacity to Let God be God, and to see His glory in the many works of His hands
Let God be creative in showing you how He sees your harvest this year. What things have bitten you and what things have blessed you?
It can be a fruitful practice to stop regularly to remember what life is really about, where it came from, why we have it, what we are to do with it, and for whom we are to live it.
I’ll close with a scripture that speaks to a worthy goal for a harvest:
“May the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all…”
(1 Thessalonians 3:12)