I stood at the edge of my garden staring at the brown space littered with weeds. I love my garden. I love picking items and eating them for dinner an hour later. It’s like a party for the taste buds. I love knowing what went into the soil and onto the plants. I love eating more vegetables. I love watching the kids go “snack” on peas that never leave the square patch of the garden. I love watching them pull a radish, wash it off with the hose, and eat it without ever going inside.
The garden is our summer pantry.
The garden is also a lot of work.
I contemplated the bag of seeds in my left hand while mentally reviewing the calendar I had just inspected for the summer. August is going to be busy. August, the height of picking and canning.
Knowing what my summer season is going to look like, I decided to plant a “low-key” garden this year. Rows of onions and garlic and radishes and lettuce. Six tomato plants instead of forty. Winter squashes and a few herbs. Rather than stressing myself out with picking and canning bushels of tomatoes and gallons of green beans, I gave myself a break this year. Most of my garden will be eaten fresh or can be dried and stored as-is in the basement.
Knowing your season allows you to give yourself grace. To give yourself a break.
Some seasons of life are harder than others — busier, heavier responsibilities, more taxing on your emotions. It’s neither right nor wrong. It just is what it is.
Knowing your season, acknowledging the limitations rather than denying them, allows you to work with it, instead of against yourself.
Some seasons your children, marriage, or parents need extra care. Times of relational heart ache and rebuilding trust take more of your energy.
So you might have most of your meals from a box, you won’t be the “crafty” parent, or the one who’s involved in the PTO or on committees at church, or the friend who remembers birthdays, or the one produces Pinterest-worthy birthday parties, or hosts dinner parties (unless they are frozen pizzas or burritos).
And that is ok.
Don’t compare yourself to others. When you see images online and read your friends’ statuses, you don’t know what’s in the background of their lives. They might not have anything else going on.
But you’re up half a dozen times a night with a baby, or battling insomnia, or fighting off depression.
They might be in a season of rest.
While you are handling ill parents, extra bills, and a project at work that sucks up every available brain cell.
Know your season. Give yourself grace. Because whether or not you can jam or salsa, or bake a birthday cake from scratch, or keep your family occupied with Pinterest activities all summer long doesn’t really matter. What matters most is your own emotional and physical and spiritual health. Because if you’ve taxed yourself beyond what you can handle during this season, everyone around you suffers too.
Don’t plant more than you can take care of this summer.