whitney nesse deep roots

I was recently driving home with my children from a lovely, warm, spring day spent at the lake cabin of a good friend. The sun had begun sinking in the western sky — casting a beautiful blanket of golden hues on the gentle slopes of freshly-tilled land. The topography of the land has the ability to create an incredible tapestry of natural colors, blending beautifully into one another. The tan hilltops of clay transition into the rich, dark soil of central Minnesota. The pale, dry grasses from the year before line the deep drainage ditches which lay like snakes sunning themselves across the land. There are hints of green showing through the tree lines, teasing us with a glimpse of what’s to come.

The fields which have yet to be prepared for planting lie in wait, soaking up every second of sunshine that brings much relief from the long winter. They have a weary look, gray and weathered. The rough ridges and sharp stubble from last season appear lonesome and tired. An unforgiving winter has left its mark on the land — leaving the barren fields with a listless tone.    

With one simple pass with a soil finisher, a desolate field has an entirely different appearance. The field transforms from dull and gray to having a dark, rich, full-bodied color. The rough ridges and residue from the previous year’s crop has been leveled and smoothed, and there is an earthy scent which lingers in the air. To some, the eye will only see dirt. But to a lover and a steward of the land, the eye sees potential and the hope of something new, something great that is to come. 

This week, my ten year-old daughter, Abby, quietly and with a hint of sadness in her voice told me, “Sometimes, life isn’t fair,” — a statement that I fully agree with. I reminded her however, although there are times when life isn’t fair, God is always doing something new and preparing us for something great that is to come.  In this conversation, my mind (which has been in a chaos of distance learning and futile attempts to maintain my sanity) somehow linked my discussion with Abby to the preparation of soil for spring planting.

Life’s not fair, like an unrelenting winter, a season of bitter cold and wind that leaves the land looking desperate and weary.  How true is this for our heart as well! Seasons of unfair circumstances leave us feeling desperate, listless, tired and lonesome. Much like the soil, with one pass of a finisher, everything changes. A place which once looked rough and sharp — in one pass — has been flawlessly smoothed, creating a perfect bed for seeds. Once the caretaker plants the seeds, comes the hope of something new, the hope of something greater than the soil can produce on its own. 

“For I know the plans I have for you ,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” (Jer. 29:11, NIV).  How wonderful are the promises of God! Life’s unfair conditions can leave us feeling hopeless. Yet slowly, like the changing of a season, the sun begins to shine on the soil of our hearts. Exposed are the rough edges and sharp stubble from the previous, unfair season. And in one pass, the Lord can take a weather-beaten heart, smooth it to perfection and plant new seeds — new seeds which bring the hope for the future, new seeds which hold the promise of something greater.

Just as the sun rises each morning and sets each night, so do the seasons of our lives bring change.  Some seasons are harsh and unfair, some are meant for resting and recovering. Yet others are purposed for planting and new growth. Allow each season to come and go without rushing or tarrying. Take heart friends, the Lord offers stability for our time. 

Whitney Nesse is a sixth-generation livestock farmer who is deeply rooted in her faith and family.  She writes from her central Minnesota farm.