6 years ago I planted lemon trees. I’d asked my Dad (who back then farmed and expertly harvested tons of fruit from citrus orchards) if I could have some trees to give away as gifts and well there were a few left over and so I planted them. I never saw the fruit. In fact, I forgot about them and we moved house, so the chances of enjoying a lemonade on a balmy summer day was pretty slim. (ha ha)
But these trees were not to be forgotten. A few weeks ago a young couple in our church moved into this little house and commented on the big lemon trees they noticed in the garden. What got me interested was that these trees were not merely large and healthy, but also, they were FULL of fruit. The natural organic and home grown kind. Bright yellow perfect lemons. Big and juicy lemons that actually smell like lemons. (I know!) Now before you pin me as a weirdo with a thing for lemons, it’s not really the physical fruit that got me excited (although I do love a good cup of hot water with lemon) but rather the fact that this is now the third time I am being sent a subtle reminder from the universe (wink wink) that when we sow, when we plant something, when we put something in the ground- we WILL reap something in return.
I really do feel passionately about the idea of sowing. Of giving. Of pouring out. And so I have allowed myself the liberty of thinking about what, where and how am I sowing in this season?
I believe that sowing can be applied to anything. Money. Kindness. Food. Encouragement. Gifts. Laughter. Generosity. Patience. Perseverance. Peace. What we SOW we will reap. So what am I sowing? Into my own little life. Into my husband. My children. My friends and family. My church. My community. What am I sowing? Just like the baby lemon trees I planted. What am I sowing into people? What seeds am I placing in the ground, hoping that someday they will grow into beautiful lush trees that produce fruit?
In Genesis 8 the Bible says that seed time and harvest will never cease to be. What we sow we will ALWAYS reap, because no matter what changes in our lives sowing and reaping will always remain. These are not just some cool twentieth century ideas, these are principles embedded deep into the story of God that began thousands of years ago on the earth. The seeds that we sow or what we plant- we WILL reap. So perhaps we should find ways to scatter good seeds all over the place. We should throw out seeds of kindness and patience in lavish ways. We can scatter seeds of generosity on every occasion. We should throw seeds of love and joy as far and wide as we can. We should sow seeds of encouragement into the lives of our friends, of our colleagues, into the hearts of the random waitress and our fussy neighbours. We should throw seeds of compassion around like people who actually believe that when we stick a seed into the ground we will reap something in return.
I don’t know about you but I am up for the harvest. I like the sound of the word harvest. (Let’s be real don’t we all) I am ready to be the willing recipient of extreme kindness, compassion and empathy. To be on the other side of extreme generosity. To take in all the encouragement my tiny heart can hold. I am willing to attract the harvest. But it’s gonna take something from me first. Giving. Sowing. Planting. Finding the faith and courage despite my season to sow abundantly into humanity. To look past my own story and sow into something other.
The key to everything is giving. What we give will be given to us. Pressed down, shaken together, and to overflowing. The measure with which WE CHOOSE to give is the measure we will receive.
And yeah I know what you’re thinking? How do we start to sow? Well we just start. We open our eyes and then we act.The first step is to literally cultivate an awareness in ourselves of the abundance of SEED that we have in our lives. We have so much to give away and there are no shortage of places and people to sow into. We just need to open our eyes.
Life has given me a fat load of lemons lately. Real live ones that I love and then not so nice life situations that are sour to taste and completely cringe worthy to the palate. But I refuse to sit back and suck on these lemons forever. Even in this season I have something to sow. I have things that you don’t have. I can do things you can not do. I have seeds that can be planted into the ground of humanity. And the truth is, so do you. Perhaps the old saying is true? When life gives us lemons we can make lemonade? And so as I figure out how to do this right now, on a daily basis, I am going to literally take my bowl full of juicy home grown lemons and make some real life lemonade, believing that in this physical process my heart will be awakened to all that I can sow right now. Even though it just feels like a lemon. Why don’t you join me? (I’ve even thrown in a recipe below.)
REAL LIFE LEMONS LEMONADE
- 2 cups sugar
- 1½ cups filtered water
- 2 cups fresh lemon juice, strained
- 1 tsp grated lemon zest
- 3 tsp citric acid
- Soda water to serve
- Place the sugar, water, lemon juice and zest in a medium saucepan and heat, stirring, over high heat until the sugar has dissolved.
- Bring it to the boil then reduce to a simmer and leave it to bubble away for 20 minutes or until it thickens slightly.
- Stir through the citric acid.
- Strain the cordial then pour it into a sterilized bottle.
- Serve with soda water (about 1 part cordial to 4 parts water).