I laid in bed this morning with a blog forming in my mind. I had no idea that God had other plans for me. Ready to capture the day, I planted my feet on the floor, made me a delicious soy latte and headed outside to tend to my garden. I find a sense of comfort in the early morning hours, and I always find enjoyment as I witness the beauty forming in my garden. The realization of what a tiny seed can turn into when it is nurtured and loved…amazes me. While I hadn’t ignored it completely, my garden did plummet on my priority list, along with other things, during the time I was dealing with the reality of my special friend. Joyfully, from the moment God armed me with the truth, I have been equipped and ready to get my life and my priorities back in order. I’m thankful it didn’t take long and I accept the consequences of my actions. I refuse to look at anything in a negative light. That would get me nowhere. I would rather see the good. It was what I had to do, it was what I had to experience in order to grow; I don’t see it as a tragedy. I learned a valuable lesson in the midst of it and I am no longer in the grips of the despairing darkness. I can forgive and move forward, knowing who I want to be…who God wants me to be. Praise God! As watered and plucked vegetables today I discovered a special appreciation for God and all He does, for all He is. I saw myself, I saw us, God’s children, in that garden today.
Living in the heart of the city, I have a very small backyard and a big country heart. For years my garden consisted primarily of container plants inside an abandoned kennel with a few planted around its’ perimeter. Not content with this small venture, I created a raised garden bed over the course of two years on top of what use to be an unused gravel driveway behind my enclosed carport. Working with the used potting soil after each growing season and leaves from the Fall, the soil became alive with large worms and nutrients. I loved the feeling of soil in my hands as I worked with it, step by step, season to season. This is the first year I actually planted a full garden in it. Edged with concrete blocks and full of young plants, I enjoyed sitting out back looking in awe at what my hands had created – it must be how God feels about each of us.
Unfortunately, there is a mature tree stretching from my neighbor’s yard that towers over my garden. I didn’t see a problem with it at first, but now, I do. The squash and tomatoes planted towards the front, receiving the most sun, flourish. I have so many that I don’t know what to do with them and I often give them away to friends. However, the tomatoes planted towards the back of the garden have yet to produce any fruit. They are green and some appear healthy, yet with the lack of sun, they are unable to produce as they should – like us. When we are not in God’s light, our ability to produce as we should is hindered. My heart goes out to these plants. I continue to water them and tend to them – like God does us when we aren’t planted where we should be. I’m not sure they will produce as they should but I will not give up on them.
On the other hand, there is one tomato plant that sits in full sun. It looked so promising as it matured: several strong branches eagerly formed, so many that I had to devise a way to support the weight of them as they expanded well beyond the capacity of its’ container. I have always had great luck with planting tomatoes in containers so I was surprised when it took so long to actually bear fruit: today was the first time I picked any tomatoes from it. I decided to pluck a couple which weren’t fully red; I placed them on the window sill so that they could reap the full benefits of the sun, less the unbearable heat and humidity. Kind of what God does for us. He sees us trying so hard, He sees our determination and faith in following Him. He gently places us where we can better flourish. He gives us the opportunity to remove the elements crippling our growth no matter where we are. It’s up to us to see that…it’s up to us to move, to listen, to hope, to have faith in His words, to believe in His ability to help us grow. (Proverbs 3:5, Isaiah 48:17, Psalm 32:8, Psalm 48:18, Isaiah 58:11.)
Remember the sweet potato blog? The day I returned home from confronting him with his girlfriend, I immediately planted them. That felt so good. Today, four days later, sprouts are emerging from the ground. Beautiful, dark reddish green shoots springing up from the soil. I smiled. That’s me! I’m where I should be: emerged in God’s love, forgiveness, peace, mercy, hope. There is fruit forming underground. Even if I can’t see it, I know it’s there. God is tending to my needs; He heard my call, He’s seen my commitment. He is healing me from the inside out. I want to share this growth with the world. Praise God!
As I picked my bounty this morning, I often caught myself smiling. They did it! And so did I. That must be just a fraction of how God feels when we succeed; when we follow His will, when we rise above our circumstances and flourish. It’s not easy, and it’s not over. I’ve only just begun.
“The LORD will guide you always; He will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.” ~ Isaiah 58:11
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.” ~ Proverbs 3:5
This is what the LORD says— your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: “I am the LORD your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go.” ~ Isaiah 48:17
“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you.” ~ Psalm 32:8
“For this God is our God for ever and ever; he will be our guide even to the end.” ~ Psalm 48:18