Every year, Gary and I enjoy our little garden. No two years are exactly the same. Last year, for instance, I was hauling buckets of summer squash out of there every few days. This year, so far, we have had four squash. Not four buckets. Just four squash. Pathetic, I know.
But we have had buckets of cucumbers this year, so that makes me happy. A couple tomatoes here and there as they slowly ripen; one lone spaghetti squash that has survived so far; some peppers; and always, thankfully, lots of okra. Okra seems to do very well in our hot Kansas summers, no matter where in the garden we place it or how hot our weather is. Okra is certainly a hardy crop for the conditions in which we live.
There are other reasons that I could say our okra does so well. One is the tilling that Gary does, such as you see in this picture I took one Saturday after he had worked hard tilling the garden. I also hand weeded the areas where the tiller couldn’t go, so the garden looked all clean and beautiful for awhile.
Then there’s the ingenious sprinkler system that Gary designed. There are three sprinkler heads placed on poles in the front of the garden, and three in the back. Gary measured for all the pipes that were needed, glued, dug trenches, rigged up the hose and the timer…..it’s really pretty amazing, if you ask me. And I love it because it turns on twice a day and I don’t have to lift a finger!
We also had our soil tested last year, and it showed that our soil is healthy. That was nice to hear. I bought bedding plants at a nursery that I trust, and we added some fertilizer into the holes as we planted each one. With all of these things that we did, our okra have thrived and we’re enjoying every bite of fresh okra from our garden.
But I left out one part of their success……..a very important part, though it comes in a very tiny form. These:
Yes, ladybugs. Every time I cut okra off the plants that are getting taller and taller all the time, I see my little miniature friends. I call them friends because they work very hard as they help insure the success of our okra. Ladybugs eat aphids, and so without the help of these little spotted bugs, our okra just might not live. And if they did live, they might not thrive. I can’t really see aphids, but I know they are there, sucking the life out of the healthy plants. So our ladybugs quietly go about their business, eating the dangerous aphids and tremendously helping to insure that we have lots of delicious okra to enjoy.
Ladybugs are cute, but they’re not really visible from far away. We see the sprinkler system doing its watering.
We see and hear the tiller digging up weeds, giving us the results of almost weedless soil.
But ladybugs? They’re unobtrusive and very little and hardly seen at all, unless you get right down there in the midst of the leaves and really look.
I had a sweet little Grandma that I think of when I see these ladybugs doing their quiet but valuable work. She was little in stature…..I definitely get my shortness from her! Grandma Hollandsworth….whom we later affectionately called Grandma Holly, or just Holly…..lived with my parents for 14 years. Therefore, I spent lots of time with her and knew her very well.
One of the most precious memories that all of us have of Grandma, I know, is the picture in our minds of what we sometimes saw when we passed by her bedroom in the mornings. She would be sitting at the long built-in desk that lined her bedroom windows, her Bible open before her. Her head covered in beautiful white hair would be bowed, and she would be praying. She told us that she prayed for all of her six children every day……their spouses…..their children…..their children’s children…..and on it went. It was quite a long list, believe me! She would also pray for many others who were not family, faithfully and persistently.
When Grandma would be taken to see the doctor, she would sometimes have to wait to be seen. The doctor would come into the exam room, apologizing for making her wait, and Grandma would just smile and tell him that it was all right. She told him that she used that time to pray for her family. She had such a sweet testimony of being a praying Grandma.
Grandma died when she was 99 years old. She was actually praying when she died. She was, at that point, in a care home. Her roommate heard Grandma asking the Lord to take her home. Then there was a sharp breath and Grandma Holly was gone to heaven, just like that……while she prayed. How perfect!
We have always said that the thing we would miss the most about Grandma was her prayers for all of us. We won’t know this side of heaven just how impacting her prayers were in our lives, nor the impact that her prayers are still having in our lives and the lives of family members that she never even knew.
Grandma didn’t make a big show about her faithful prayer life. She definitely never bragged about it or tried to draw attention to herself through her prayers. She just quietly went about doing what she knew God wanted her to do. And she prayed because she loved Him and she loved all of us.
Grandma was like my little garden ladybugs, just daily doing what she knew was right. I wonder what difference her prayers have made in so many lives……what fruit her faithfulness is still producing today.
The prophet Zechariah, whose name means ‘Yahweh remembers,’ was one of the prophets who encouraged the returning exiles in Jerusalem to complete the temple. The people were discouraged as they compared the smaller, simpler temple they built to the grandeur of the former temple. But Zechariah told the people in Zechariah 4:10 to not “despise the day of small things.”
“Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit,” God said in verse 6.
We tend to notice and value the big and the bright and the noisy. But let’s not despise the small things……things like little ladybugs doing their work……things like a Grandma’s quiet but fervent prayers.
The smallest acts can produce the most beautiful fruit.