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“That Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height—to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”
Ephesians 3:17-19

Monday, April 11, 2011


"The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever." Isaiah 40:8

I couldn’t wait to plant my garden this year. I was so tired of looking out the window and seeing brown—bare dirt, leftover autumn leaves (not the pretty ones, just the brown ones), brown grass, bare tree limbs. I wanted to see color!

Early spring teased me with a few crocuses and daffodils, but I longed to see an entire palette of color splashed across my backyard. So I bought some seeds and sowed them in strategic spots in the garden where the hot pink cosmos, royal blue morning glories, and burnt orange nasturtiums would greet me every morning. The pictures on the front of the seed packets were gorgeous, but you know, those seeds don’t look anything like the promised blossoms. Seeds are ugly, shriveled little things, and once I planted them, they were covered with dirt—brown dirt.

I looked at the calendar. It really was too early to be putting in bedding plants, but my heart was hungry for beauty in my yard. So I thought, “I’ll just get a couple of plants and stick them in.”

Yeah, right!!

Anyone who has ever followed me around in a nursery knows very well I’m not going to leave there with just a couple of plants. The folks at Home Depot love to see me coming. The sun fell warm and gentle on my face as I took a flat bed wagon and loaded up a tray of coreopsis, two trays of zinnias, two trays of petunias, two trays of dianthus, two trays of marigolds, a tray of African daisies, four large pots of geraniums, pots of columbine….you get the idea.

Since we live surrounded by woods, I’ve learned that deer—beautiful though they are—are a real nuisance to gardeners. Certain flowers are to deer what a plate of barbeque is to my husband, so there are several species that I don’t plant because I’d just be creating a buffet for the deer. Then I read that if you plant aromatic herbs in and around your garden, it deters the deer. Herbs are attractive to look at even if you don’t use them for cooking, so I also purchased pots of rosemary, lemon balm, thyme, and basil.

I loaded the trunk, and had to fold down the back seat and park a couple of trays and pots on the floor up front. But Jarhead (my car) was filled with COLOR. I spent a whole day cleaning out dead leaves, adding Miracle Grow Garden Soil and peat moss to my garden. Then, like a new mother, I started tucking these baby plants into the sun-warmed soil. Pinks, whites, creams, purples, yellows, blues, reds—my garden looked like a rainbow hiccupped. I mixed granulated Bloom Booster fertilizer and carefully watered each plant.

Every day I went out to survey my work. I watered. I fertilized. I gently pushed rich soil around each plant. The seeds hadn’t sprouted yet, so those areas were still just brown dirt. Only a few days after I’d cleared out the garden in preparation for planting, I found…..WEEDS!! The little rascals popped their heads up in defiance and stuck their tongues out at me. I yanked them out by their roots. “Ha! Take that!!”

Then one morning I looked closely, and saw…..DEER TRACKS!! Without any sense of propriety or respect, they tromped right through my garden. And the beasts had even chowed down on one of my columbine plants. ~~sigh~~

About ten days after I’d planted the seeds I went out to visit my garden and was greeted by tiny little sprouts, not even a quarter inch high. Their appearance made my heart sing. Those infant seedlings were a joy to behold. But danger lurked.

Later that same day, the evil weatherman dared to say the F-word. Yes, you guessed it . . . FROST was in the forecast. Right after supper that evening, my husband and I took every sheet in the house and carefully arranged them over my budding, colorful nursery. As soon as the sun was up the following morning, I hurried out to see how my babies had fared. I pulled back the sheets to find pink, yellow, blue, white, purple and red faces smiling up at me.

Every gardener who has ever planted a seed or tucked a plant into the earth has done so with hopeful expectation. But in order for those plants to grow and thrive, the gardener must become a nurturer. Left to itself, a garden will become overgrown and choked with weeds, it will wither and die without the right amount of water, the plants will become anemic without fertilizer to enrich the soil, and the garden can become the target of thieves if the gardener doesn’t take measures to deter trespassers and predators.

That description of the work of a gardener can be applied to almost anything in this life. It’s the way we strive to educate and equip ourselves to do our jobs, maintain our homes and our marriages, raise our families, and be stewards of what God has given us. Most importantly, it’s the way we should nurture our personal relationship with God. We must feed on His word (John 6:48), drink the living water (John 4:10), be watchful to pull the weeds of pride, selfishness, critical spirit, or ungodliness (Romans 6:12-14), and guard our heart against those things that would rob us of the blessings God wants to give us (Phil 4:7).

In the Gospels, Jesus refers to Himself as the Bread of life, the Door, the Living Water, the Good Shepherd, and the Savior. He is King of kings, Lord of lords, chief Cornerstone, our Rock, our Deliverer, Emmanuel, Lamb of God, Messiah, Wonderful Counselor, and Prince of Peace. But He is one more thing: He is the Tender of our garden—that garden that grows within us for the purpose of glorifying God and drawing others to Him.

Thanks for letting me share my heart.