Cultivate, Book Review {Tool 11}

“Life doesn’t begin when our imperfections end.” Lara Casey

I am a reluctant gardener. Growing up gardening was an everlasting chore that kept me away from my books and out in the hot Kansas wind. (Oh, don’t worry, I figured out how to snap beans and read at the same time!)

I tried to grow houseplants in college and as a new housewife, but quickly joined the “I always kill my plants!” club. A few herbs in pots on my apartment porches kept me happy.

Yet as I started looking for ways to start growing and becoming more of the person I wanted to be versus the person who barely scraped along, my heart stirred to grow things.
Day 11

And when I read Lara Casey’s testimony of being an unlikely gardener herself, I was intrigued. Cultivate is a newly released book that compares life to growing a garden. It is beautifully written and truth jumps off of every page. Lara explores ten lies we believe about growth and fruit-bearing and the truth we can believe instead.

Some of the lies/truth cover topics of perfection, comparison, getting started, celebrating progress, contentment, and how little by little steps add up.

IMG_9466.JPGWhen you are stuck in survival mode, or maybe just floundering in a hard place, it can feel impossible to start fresh or move forward. Cultivate taught me to embrace the hard seasons as the place where we dig into the soil and watch God redeem it.

“Hand over your boulders of stress, worry, and fear, and God will crush them to fine sand with His love and forgiveness. Give Him the thorny remnants and roots of your past, and He will till them up and make them into nutrient-rich growing ground. Lay down your fruitless striving and dry soil, and God will pour out His transforming grace to make you new.

Like rich compost, the best soil is filled with transformed remnants of the past. In the same way, your past challenges and mistakes can be transformed by God’s grace.”

This spring I was physically weak and in an emotionally fog, but I got out into my yard and dug out a garden space. I threw out all my excuses and planted seeds. My plans weren’t perfect, but plants grew. They grew through the dirt, just like Lara states over and over.

We don’t have to wait for the perfect time to start to change in life. The best time is now. One little step followed by another. We plow and plant and water, and God makes fruit grow. It’s a beautiful process.

This book has “Cultivate It” questions sprinkled throughout, making it an excellent book to journal through. I read it once and am going back through slowly, picking and choosing different chapters to work through based on what I’m wrestling with. There is also a study guide in the back made just for working through the book in a group.

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