by Lilly Lewin,
Here in the mid-south, we are already planting vegetables in the garden, and starting our front porch planters. The true gardeners are going full force getting in their early crops, and Home Depot and other garden centers are bursting at the seems with mulch, potting soil, and plants of all colors and kinds.
Other places in our country just had another snow storm this week, not a big one, but it still looks more like winter than spring. I realize that here in the Northern hemisphere we are living in or waiting for spring while you, in the Southern Hemisphere, are thinking of harvesting and living in fall. Regardless of where you live, you can let the gardens around you, the plants and trees and even vegetable patches remind you of what God is up to in your life. I spent many of my growing up years on a farm. One of my grandfathers was a farmer and my other grandfather was a florist and nurseryman. The grandma I am named for had a green thumb. So I have a bit of dirt under my nails and in my dna, but I am not one of those people who reads seed catalogues and has the gift of canning. I wish I did. What I do love is a beautiful sunflower or a bunch of day lilies in a field. I was super excited to see that the tulips I planted much too late in the fall actually bloomed this spring!
I love that God started people in a garden. God longs to restore us to the garden again. God has given us the beauty of this planet to reveal the wonder of our Creator.
As someone named after a flower, flowers and growing things awaken me to God and God’s love for me.
Maybe you didn’t grow up with a vegetable garden in your yard and maybe even succulents cannot survive in your flowerpot but I think we all can appreciate the hard work and patience it takes to grow things, and the beauty of the plants and trees around us.
What if we started looking at gardens more intentionally?
What if we allowed the garden patches around town or even the plants we see at the local garden center/ Home Depot remind us of what God is up to in our lives?
Gardens need fertilizers… sometimes this is a stinky business.
Growth can be stinky, it isn’t easy.
Gardens need water. They need sunlight. And weeding and pruning are needed to help gardens grow.
Fruit and veggies are produced to share with others.
Who do you want to grow alongside this season? Who do you want to share your Easter Season with you? What is the produce you are sharing with others?
Consider that Gardening is a process. It takes time.
Whether it is a flower garden or a vegetable one, there is usually a lot of planning that happens before the planting. What kind of plans are you making for new growth in your garden?
Are you taking time to let God grow good things? What seeds need to be planted?
What weeds need to be pulled? Are you allowing God to show you the weeds?
What does God want to plant in your life right now? What does God need to weed out?
Sometimes the roots of weeds are very deep, they might take a hoe or a spade to dig them out. Any pests eating away at the new leaves?
Remember that there are Seasons.
Even in California, there are growing seasons for different plants and vegetables.
God is a seasonal God. What season does God have you in right now?
There is a time for tilling the soil. There is a time for planting the seeds. And there is a time for harvest.
There is a time to lay fallow.
How is your soil? How is the soil of your heart this Easter Season? Does it need tilling, cultivating, weeding? Are their rocks that need to be removed? What birds or other pests are threatening your garden?
What is your soil in need of now? Are you willing to let God till the soil?
How does the soil of your heart need to be replenished, enriched?
Gardening is messy, dirty and takes time. It is subject to the weather.
You have to trust God to grow what you plant.
You have to trust that the seeds you plant today will grow into beautiful flowers in the months to come.
You often have to wait to see the fruits of your labor.
And if it’s time to let yourself lie fallow, know that God is in the midst of this too.
Allowing a field or garden to lie fallow enables an even more abundant harvest in the future.
Trust the Gardener to grow something beautiful in you and through you.
Some things to try:
•Put a garden trowel or a pair of garden gloves somewhere you can see them regularly. I often put symbols on my coffee table, but you might want to put it on your desk or even create a centerpiece with a pot of soil, some garden gloves and some seed packets to remind you of what God is growing in your life.
•Plant some bulbs or seeds and wait for them to grow.
•Buy someone else some flowers or share some from your own garden and/or share some vegetables you grow or buy at a farmers market with a neighbor to brighten their day and show God’s love in a practical way.
•Pull some weeds in your yard, and ask God to remove the weeds in your heart and show you the roots of old habits or old junk that is getting in your way and needs to be pulled out.
•Notice the flowers in your neighborhood, notice the weeds and the wild flowers. Allow God to surprise you with beauty along the way.