You have to water before the heat.
It’s been a dry summer. After a very wet spring, the temperatures hit record highs in June breaking the streak of nearly 10 years of temperatures under 100 degrees. Meaning that, in the 8 years I’ve lived in Nashville, it’s never gotten above 100 degrees and this summer (while I’m very pregnant) was the summer it decided to change.
June was hot and walking into July I just keep praying for rain. Not only for the yards and trees, but for my garden. Even though I knew I would be hitting my due date in the heat of August, I still decided to try to plant and maintain a garden this season. There was something so hopeful about planning my garden and starting seeds in the grey of winter knowing spring and summer were just around the corner.
My husband has been generous in helping me weed, water, and maintain areas of the garden when I’ve not been feeling my best. I also have the assistance of a few neighborhood boys to help me water when I can’t do it and will soon be calling on them to help me weed things out as the summer wears on and this belly gets bigger.
Our summer morning routine has been: breakfast and bible study, walk our dog, then Ryan goes to work and I head out to water the garden. On the days when I don’t do it immediately in the morning, it takes me a long time to get back around to watering. The Lord started speaking to me in this, reminding me of his desire for order and for the first fruits of our days. “If you water in the morning, you’ll be better prepared to withstand the heat of the day.”
It’s much easier to water in the morning when it’s still cool, and give the plants the nourishment they need before the sun bears down on them than trying to play catch up in the afternoon or the next day. They’ll survive but they look worse for wear and they won’t produce as much fruit and it will take a lot more effort from me.
Have you ever seen a thirsty squash vine? Let me paint you the picture: You go outside to check on everything after a morning of doing random tasks in the house. You walk around the corner and your heart stops for a split second, thinking the entire vine is dead. All the leaves are droopy and wilted and look about as sad as you feel. After a particularly tiring week where I watered in the afternoon/evening three or four times I realized that a few of my squash leaves had dried up and died. The vine was still healthy but a few of the leaves didn’t make it through the week.
“If you water in the morning, you’ll be prepared to withstand the heat of the day.” I felt Holy Spirit nudge me again.
I kind of fought back, “well I can have my devotional time at any part of the day. The Bible doesn’t say WHEN to be in the Word, only just to do it.”
I felt so sick the first half of my pregnancy that I remember trying to spend time with God in the Psalms and I couldn’t remember anything I read. Some kind friends spoke truth and grace over me in that season and reminded me that God requires our hearts and it doesn’t look the same for every season we encounter. However, for the past 13-14 weeks, I’ve been feeling much better. I’ve had more energy and more mental clarity, but my routine and my rhythm for spending time with God felt so interrupted. Like I just haven’t been able to get my footing back. Sometime I would read a Psalm, sometimes I would go through a gospel or a letter but my time hasn’t felt as rich. So I started buying into the lie that my devotional time needed to be longer and more intentional for it to “count.” This didn’t help me actually get any closer to God, it just made me feel like 15 minutes at the beginning of the day wasn’t enough, so I had to wait until I could spend 45+ minutes on my devotional. You can probably guess where this led to, just putting off my time with the Lord over and over again until I would find myself in the afternoon frazzled, or in a weird head space and realized I hadn’t talked to God yet.
“If you water in the morning, you’ll be prepared to withstand the heat of the day.”
Yes, plants can always recover if they haven’t been left too dry for too long. They can bounce back, they can sprout new growth. But there is something to be said about watering a garden in the morning rather than afternoon or evening.
In the afternoon it is much harder on the gardener because the sun is beating down. The plants are all droopy, and it isn’t a good time to harvest anything while the plant is in a distressed state.
At night, watering the plants without sufficient time for their leaves to dry off before it get’s dark and cool may lead to increased susceptibility of molds and fungi that thrive in damp environments.
The morning provides the nourishment the plants need to take on the stressors of the day and to make nourishment from the suns rays through photosynthesis instead of wilting under its glare.
What does this say about us? I find myself truly able to handle the stressors of the day and to manage my time better when I begin it with Jesus. It doesn’t have to be 45 minutes or an hour. I don’t have to have a deep spiritual encounter every time. The faithfulness of watering each day means that some days when I go outside, there is fruit to pick, other days it’s just a watering day. This is the same in our lives, sometimes our time with the Lord is simply to water our souls and create sustainable habits. Other times, there will be fruit to pick and significant take aways from our devotional time.
I just encourage you to start your day with the Lord, give him the first part and see what he does with the rest. I genuinely believe that he is the author of time and when we start our time with him, he can make the rest of the day work out.
When the heat comes, when the stress at work feels like it’s making you wilt or when you get the bad news, if you’ve been rooted in the Lord watering your soul each morning, you’ll be better equipped to withstand the heat.
Get your battle plan in place because the heat is coming.