I'm not great at drawing paralells and telling stories wrapped up in a neat little bow...so please have patience with me. I'll use pictures to help me give this post the deeper meaning that I desire for it spill.
I began planting a flower garden in my back yard about 3 or 4 summers ago. I dug it out completely by myself, and I still honestly have back aches from it. It is a larger space than it appears to be at a glance. I get excited every summer to see what comes back, and how much larger it will be compared to the previous years, and subsequently, how much more beautiful and breathtaking to my soul. And I continue to plant new plants every year. I believe after one more summer, it will be full.
I have placed a chair and ottoman at the window to my garden so that I can enjoy it. I usually do my bible studies in the "garden chair". It's the only place in the house where, even if there is noise, I can block it out. (small miracle?). Several months ago, I took over hosting my bible study (community group) and I moved the chair and rearranged the other furniture to accomodate more people and more eyes to be directed to the TV because our studies are DVD driven. To my surprise, without the garden chair in the right spot....I lost some of my motivation to do my studies, and got behind. Last week, I moved everything back to its original position, and my studies are back on track. My soul is better. My mind is clearer. My heart is more well than it has been in a while.
Some funny (not so funny), coincidental (not so coincidental) things have happened to drive home to me the value of my flower garden:
First, one of my beautiful sisters in Christ came to the bible study this week armed with this gift for me Sharon did not just bring me flowers....she brought me beautiful fresh flowers and herbs from her very own loved garden. She merged her garden with my heart and has reminded me that Jesus loves and desires for us to plant a seed.
Secondly, our bible study this week discussed in brief, Genesis 2:8 "Now the Lord God had planted a garden in the east; and there he put the man he had formed". Everything else it seemed that God spoke into exsitence, but according to this verse, God planted the garden Himself. And not just any garden, but the ultimate paradise, Eden. Do you think God loves a garden? And not just floral, vegetation and evergreen.......but us. He wants us to sow the seed of his word, and from his word, bear fruit and grow. He wants us to grow in Him. And where His wind blows us, He wants us to plant and sow more seed.
Genesis 3:8 suggests that God walked back and forth in the garden in the cool of the day. Can you imagine? (Even God avoids the heat????? Just kidding! - but Amen!)
Lastly, I've read a great book over the past few days called "The Shack" by William P. Young. I believe this is a sweet gift from God for anyone who reads it. The garden plays an almost silent, but extremely significant part in this book, and in tying in God's love. The metaphors are still dancing around in my head to a beautiful song. I love what my garden represents to me now.
Here she is this morning:I am an amateur...and I did design her just for me!
Here is my view of the garden from my "garden chair"
And fianlly, here is my garden chair. This is not staged.......it really looks like this! I am doing my current bible study....getting caught up on the daily lessons from the last study, and just finished reading "The Shack". And of course....my Bible (full of seed for sowing).
My garden is full of wild bursts of color, the beauty of roses and the shocking bite of its thorns. There are weeds in places that seem to want to strangle out some of the more delicate species. There are some plants that need no attention, and others that seem to want to fade quickly if not tended to. There is disease creeping into the leaves and stems of one of my rose bushes, and one other plant whose name I have forgotten. There is one plant that has multiplied and grown so much it almost doesn't fit, and then others that seem as small and unnoticable as the day I planted them. There is even one species that seemed to come out of nowhere this summer.....I don't recall planting it....ever. The ground is hard today and the roots of weeds won't come up without delicate but intentional digging. My coneflower is thirsty. And my burning bush (no joke) is struggling to fit in. As the gardener here...I play many roles. I have a lot of work to do. No matter how difficult the work, how painful the stabs from the thorns, no matter how heavy the sweat on my brow, and no matter how much loss and disease....I must work with joy. I must cultivate and nurture with love. I must be patient. I can enjoy the variety, and the patterns do not have to make sense to me. But I must never stop sowing seed, if I desire for something to grow.
In my life, it is no different.