I was standing at the window this time last year, staring at the blank ground. My imagination had to stretch and bend to arrange irises, daffodils, zucchinis, cucumbers, and lettuce in their proper beds and boxes. I was sick with spring fever, and all I could do was write about it.

But this winter, I’ve found a healthier starting place than just aching for springtime. I’m working toward it.

My brothers built a greenhouse out of recycled boards and white tarps. It kneels behind our shed at the wood’s edge and has stood empty since they raised the last timber just after Christmas. We wanted a place to start our own seeds, and even though we can’t regulate the temperature yet (we’ll have to start with trays and LEDs in our basement), the little house is just what we need. It’s a standing reminder that there’s work to be done before the last frost date.

Spring’s coming. We know because God promised it:

“While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease” (Gen. 8:22).

But as promised, winter comes and stays too. I used to squirm under it, blathering about the cold and letting spring fever fester. But the seasoned gardener doesn’t sit at the window in February.

“See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it until it receives the early and late rains” (James 5:7).

A good gardener spends their winter days organizing seed packets, nurturing seedlings, and using the greenhouse.

You also, be patient,” James says in comparison, “Establish your hearts for the coming of the Lord is at hand” (James 5:8).

The Lord is coming. We know because he promised it.

But first, there are February afternoons of patient establishing, when we plant seeds and coax seedlings. And there will be, until that final frost signals:

It’s time.

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