Summers end the garden is thriving now, but soon will give way to wilting and a final rest. I will be sad to see it end. Summer offered challenges this year with continued rain, difficulty in prediction of temperature and sunshine. Because of these things, the Garden required some extra attention. It took my will along with God’s provision to see it prosper. I picked but not in plenty, Acorn squash, tomatoes, spinach, okra, watermelon and more. I also began and cultivated a culinary garden, with various herbs for cooking. I experience prospering scents of basil, rosemary, curry, lavender and parsley as spice for food and aroma for relaxation. The garden in my yard went well… as of now Begonias mark the intentional paths, Deer eaten Hostas border the places between lawn and flowering beds. In vision, it is a romantic place of quiet shade. I enjoy being there and find peace on the numerous contrived paths. It is my world; I created it to look like my rendition of God’s original Garden. It is an Eden of sorts, the way I imagined it to look. The truth though is that I am probably wrong about the comparison of my garden to God’s Eden.
Eden… was splendor, from the artist within God’s own heart. The God who made the mountains and oceans and ice capped Poles of North and South… dimly is seen in my Garden. Plastic and resin Angels and figures of frogs and bugs mark the paths but my controlled garden works hard to keep away the deer and the rabbits and God made pests that eat my plants and crush my tomatoes and dig up my daffodil bulbs. One day I plant marigolds to bring visions of colors and signs of autumn and the next day the plants are eaten and tread upon by squirrels and other night creatures… they dare to think my Home Depot purchases were meant for them to enjoy and ‘destroy’. Gardening is a frustrating job… because I want it my way… and the critters want it their way. Both God’s creation with our own determined and impulsive will.
I do not really have control over the Garden… I naively believe I do, but I do not. The God of all, allows me to plant, fertilize, plow, and hoe… I can water, trim, pick, and gather seed and vegetable… but several days of his heat and sun, or more days of rain than I need, or a strong gust of wind, can altar the work of my hands far beyond what I would deem fair. The work of the Garden is mine but the results of the Garden are in flux, not dependent on me or my original vision or design. The Paths of my Garden are determined by much more than I can imagine.
It makes me question; “Why try?” I hope every year it will turn out my way… but it never does. As autumn comes, I see my hand in my gardens. I see the Hibiscus plants blooming from the seeds I gathered from other Gardeners, I see some roses still hoping to bud and bloom. I see places I thought were dead and dried are now alive and well… others just the opposite… Azaleas I deliberately cared for… wilting away from too much rain and over water. It is helpful for me to look at all that has transpired through my efforts humbly joined into the over extending work of God.
It makes me ponder: I remember frustrations at a late frost that took out my Iris and Hydrangea, neither recovered their blossoms but the plants stand full, experiencing present beauty in a different way they also bring HOPE for next spring. The places of destruction from falling limbs and drought form in my mind, places for new paths and redesign. The picket fence I once salvaged from a neighbors trash, looks great behind the non blooming hydrangea, it forms a boundary that displays the plants green splendor, forcing me to look at leaves that last year were hidden because of large lovely flowers… something dead to another is alive to me, things hidden becoming places of grace and beauty. God has a plan in the simplicity of my garden, if I will only take notice.
Some things I do to my garden are indeed life giving, but also some times my own efforts actually destroy life. God seems to take all of this and mold it to something different than I thought. It works like this, if I allow the changes He has made today to open my vision, I can see that all He has accomplished in my Garden,. While using my hopes and plans, God will bring life in the Spring, different than I ever imagined. I know also, that spring will bring more places to weed out… so that what is new can grow. I have to be careful to know the difference looking intently for His plans among my own visions.
Bridging Out… The “more” of life and purpose of faith is seen in the vision of my own heart that after a winter rest there is a HOPE of this coming Spring. Within that purpose, I experience a deep presence with God at the gentle pull into the direction and future of “Springs” beyond this coming year. That is purpose and HOPE for my life.
Never the less the HOPE is always this: the love of God and purpose of life is lived in the firmly planted reality of this very day. I find HIM completely while embracing the thoughts and feelings that this current day brings in both life and death. As I search for Him while I experience both goodness and confusion, I will remain rooted in Him and fully alive. In being alive, I know that His life altering paths will reveal that I am the object of His life giving love. This is LIFE in Him and the necessary foundation for Purpose and HOPE.
Spend a part of this Autumn and Winter Season in reflection of your own Garden and life… …feel and think about all that life has been and after a season of reflection, let the past efforts and failure die away. Then, let your roots come alive and begin to prepare for Spring and life beyond measure… be fully alive.