As far back as I can remember, I have loved to grow things. I would take clippings from plants that I liked and put them in water to see if I could get them to take root. Planting and growing are in my blood. My dad's parents were farmers and worked hard to produce a harvest to feed their family. It wasn't a hobby for them; it was life-sustaining. Even after my parents moved from Arkansas to California in the early '60s, I always remember my dad having a garden. Sometimes, after working multiple jobs to feed his family, you would find him in the garden in the cool of the day. The garden seemed to bring him peace.
Through many seasons of my life, the garden has brought me peace as well. It has also taught me many lessons. But most of the garden has taught me and still is teaching me to trust.
A garden is a grand teacher. It teaches patience and careful watchfulness; it teaches industry and thrift; above all, it teaches entire trust.
In the middle of winter, the garden seems void of life, as if the possibility of life is gone. We hold the fact in our mind that winter is merely a season and that it will pass. We know that spring will eventually come, and the ground will again yield life. However, sometimes during the short, cold days of winter, it feels like we will never experience the season of spring again. We just have to trust that it will.
The winter our daughter Nicole passed away was one such winter. The thought of hope and life seemed impossible. I felt as if nothing could ever grow green and beautiful in my heart again. I struggled to trust that my heart would ever mend.
However, as spring approached, I was drawn into the garden. Even though it felt futile, I began to work the soil. It wasn't all at once, but very slowly, hope began to grow.
Sometimes I furiously picked the ground as if I was frantic to work out my pain. The grief that was so deeply rooted refused to budge, but I kept hacking at the ground with the pickaxe. My body ached, but eventually, the soil began to soften, like my heart.
There were also times that I would dig my hands into the dirt and sob until it seemed as if I had shed every tear in the universe. I would spend hours out there. It became a safe place for me to grieve. We all need that—a safe place to grieve. Slowly, but surely my heart was able to take microscopic steps to healing.
I'm still healing,
I received the perfect gift from a friend at Bible Study years later that says, "Life began in a garden".
Isn't that so beautifully true? At the beginning of time, God chose a garden to begin creation and life. Perfect and balanced. In my most profound sorrow, He used the garden to usher life into my broken soul. He showed me that no matter how barren life feels, that I can trust Him. He will bring me through each season, most of the time, carrying me until I could walk again. I can trust him to cultivate beauty and life where desolation once resided.
You may not be a gardener, and that's ok. Just remember you can trust God to tend to the garden of your ravaged soul until new life emerges.
Next Monday, join me as I share the valuable lesson I learned from tomato plants about communication. It will be a fun one.