I always admired the way my mother knew the names of each flower, shrub, or tree she planted. This seemed no easy task to me, because she planted A LOT. Her yard was (and still is) beautiful and bursting with blooms in a variety of colors from spring through autumn. After I got married and built a house, my yard was a blank canvas. How scary, yet exciting. My Mom took me to Lowe’s and helped me pick out shrubs and flowers for the front of my house. As she helped me plant them, I thought to myself, ‘I sure hope I can take care of these.’ Well, weeds grew before I knew it in the new garden and I became overwhelmed. My garden didn’t look like my Mom’s, and I didn’t enjoy the work as she did. So I prayed to God and asked him to help me with my garden. I asked God to let me glorify Him through my garden and to enjoy the work as well.
The next March, I began pouring over two gardening books: one about annuals and one about perennials. My appetite was insatiable. I learned the names of many plants and whether they were sun or shade tolerant, etc. So many possibilities, so little time! God gave me the hunger for the wisdom, so to speak, and then the desire to put it into practice. That summer my Mom gave me a garden stone that said, “Expect Miracles.” How fitting for my new garden, which miraculously was really pretty. My garden is never finished and I add, change, and move things around every year. I think that is what God is doing with me. I am not “finished” on my spiritual journey, nor does He expect me to be. God is continually refining me and growing me into the person that He desires. I get frustrated that my garden is not always how I want it, just as I get frustrated with my spiritual journey. Why can’t they both be easier to attain? Just as weeds constantly grow in my garden, sin creeps into my life. I have to be ever-vigilant and stay on top of “weeding” out the things that God and I do not like.
Gardening has brought me closer to God. I remember the prayer I asked Him almost twenty years ago asking for His help in something so minor as gardening. He planted the seed (no pun intended!), and by the next spring I was rearing to go. God showed Himself to me in every beautiful bloom. Several years ago, I planted a young Kousa dogwood tree. I knew that it would not bloom right away, but I anxiously waited for a few springs, hoping to see a bud. One summer night (two years after I planted the tree) I was feeling down. For some reason, I looked at my dogwood tree and saw blooms for the first time! I felt tears of joy spring to my eyes, not just for the blooms, but for feeling God’s presence. God knew how badly I wanted that silly tree to bloom and what mattered to me, mattered to Him. He also chose that moment to show me His love and faithfulness. What a gift. I have reminders all over my yard of His love and faithfulness. Sure some things I plant die or don’t turn out like I expected, but I never give up. Praise the Lord, He never gives up on me either. Through Him, all things (and people) can be made beautiful.
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5