By Terri Gillespie
“For who despises the day of small things . . .” Zechariah 4:10a, TLV
My husband and I knelt in the brittle, dry earth and dug a hole to plant a Cyprus tree. The event was part of an Israel tour I had coordinated. Since the 1900s, Jewish people and people who support Israel have purchased trees to plant in the Land. I wanted us to experience planting a tree—getting our hands dirty in the soil where the patriarchs had walked.
Okay, the tree was little more than a sprig and we kicked up a lot of dust from the bone-dry dirt. In fact, as I surveyed the others’ efforts, it looked like a Charlie Brown Christmas tree farm.
But guess what? Israel has been beautified by these scrawny Cyprus, Aleppo pines, sycamores, Syrians junipers, fruit and nut trees—so many varieties. What was once a wilderness and barren wasteland, now has some of the most stunning flora. And somehow all their produce tastes like “Someone” pumped up the volume of flavor.
When Mark Twain made an excursion into then Palestine in 1867, the Land did not impress him.
“The further we went the hotter the sun got, and the more rocky and bare, repulsive and dreary the landscape became…There was hardly a tree or a shrub any where [sic].
One hundred years later, Twain would not recognize the Land of Israel. Today, he would eat those words, hopefully sweetened with a luscious persimmon.
Since 1900, roughly 250,000,000 trees have been planted across Israel.
Little scrawny trees.
What does this have to do with writing?
Have you ever had a bad review? More? It can feel pretty discouraging, and sometimes even overshadows the good reviews. Planting our stories out in the big world seems intimidating. Especially these days.
It is easy to believe the world’s voices that call our plantings—our stories—primitive or boring, even repulsive. Don’t believe it. Our Heavenly Father’s pattern is to take the small things and use them for His glory. Yes, it is possible for those “insignificant” sprigs to join with other insignificant sprigs and grow into a mighty forest of beauty for all to see.
The soil of this world may be barren, and outwardly impossible for our sprigs of truth to grow. But our “trees” will grow because the Gardener knows how to take a spindly twig and make it thrive even in a wasteland. The Gardener knows how to nurture and water the soil, then prune and weed around us.
Our responsibility is to plant the best efforts as we can. When the time comes to prune or pull those things from our stories that shouldn’t be there, we submit and learn and rejoice in His care.
During our planting excursion, I noticed thin pipes with holes running parallel with the tilled rows. Now that we had planted, the gardeners would activate the drip irrigation causing little dribbles of water to gentle flow to ensure the roots would take hold. The gardener would not turn on the water until there was something to water.
As I surveyed past our group, I observed the graduation of growth up the forest’s hill. Two-feet, four-feet, six-feet, and then towers of lush beauty. One day, our sprigs would do the same.
When we continue to plant the seeds and sprigs of God’s truth, one day the world will see that what was once considered barren of worth, is now rich with truth and beauty.Watch those sprigs grow. @TerriGMavens #ACFWBlogs #writetip #ACFWCommunity Click To Tweet Plant those spindly sprigs and watch them grow. @TerriGMavens #ACFWBlogs #writetip #ACFWCommunity Click To Tweet
Terri Gillespie is VP of the NWGA ACFW chapter and has planted many sprigs. Her first traditionally published book was Making Eye Contact with God—A Weekly Women’s Devotional. She has won various fiction awards and has a new release, Sweet Rivalry due in late 2021. Member: ACFW, CAN, AWSA
 https://blog.nli.org.il/en/mark-twain-in-palestine/, Mark Twain in Palestine – “A Hopeless, Dreary, Heart-Broken Land”, Chen Malul, 5/11/2018.