words and pictures by June Friesen
This year, spring in the desert of Arizona has been such a blessing. I have gathered a few of my photos from gardens I have visited and trails that I have walked in the past couple of months. As we have been challenged here in Godspace to consider finding beauty in, through and out of ashes the past couple of months, my mind has wandered over the past couple of years as we have tried to make a weekly hiking trip part of our time not to be housebound. This first photo holds a few photos from spring adventures to three different venues. This next photo holds irises in one of our favorite gardens. This area was devastated by a horrendous flood last year in a downpour. The devastation resulted from an area where a large fire had burned over several hundred acres of mountainside. Then a huge rain caused slides of the burned debris to slide down the mountain and block bridges. This required many human hours of cleanup. There was much debris that needed to be removed and of course along with that much of the flower and shrub vegetation was either destroyed and/or compromised in an Arboretum. The irises seemed to be the plant that survived this devastation the best; the daffodils and many other spring shrubs have not yet fully recovered. And so, it may seem or be in our lives – we too may feel as if there has been a mountain slide of unwanted debris. Of course, the most recent worldwide slide of debris was Covid. This brought with it many challenges and times of consideration – what is next? What can I or should I do now? Am I safe? One may even ponder back over ‘life before Covid’ as I have done recently wondering how/when/if life will ever recover to what I enjoyed before such as freedom to travel when, where and how often I want. As I pondered this, I thought of one of my favorite passages of Scripture, Psalm 19.
PSALM 19: 7-14 (The Message)
The revelation of God is whole and pulls our lives together.
The signposts of God are clear and point out the right road.
The life-maps of God are right, showing the way to joy.
The directions of God are plain and easy on the eyes.
God’s reputation is twenty-four-carat gold, with a lifetime guarantee.
The decisions of God are accurate down to the nth degree.
10 God’s Word is better than a diamond, better than a diamond set between emeralds.
You’ll like it better than strawberries in spring, better than red, ripe strawberries.
11-14 There’s more: God’s Word warns us of danger and directs us to hidden treasure.
Otherwise how will we find our way? Or know when we play the fool?
Clean the slate, God, so we can start the day fresh!
Keep me from stupid sins, from thinking I can take over your work;
Then I can start this day sun-washed, scrubbed clean of the grime of sin.
These are the words in my mouth; these are what I chew on and pray.
Accept them when I place them on the morning altar,
O God, my Altar-Rock, God, Priest-of-My-Altar.
As I was reading and pondering these verses, I could not help but be reminded of how involved in our lives God is even though many times and probably most of the time we forget that God is present. The truth of these verses is relevant not only in creation and nature but also in our spiritual lives. Today I find myself challenged as I look at the beauty that nature restores over time. I also find myself challenged in regards to what God desires to now restore, renew and/or rebirth in my spiritual life after this struggle of the past two years.
In this writing I am going to concentrate on verse 10 – likely there will be at least one or more follow-up writings from this theme. “10 God’s Word is better than a diamond, better than a diamond set between emeralds.
You’ll like it better than strawberries in spring, better than red, ripe strawberries.”
NEW BIRTH AFTER DEVASTATION
What will I do?
Where will I go?
Who will help – or will anyone help?
Where is God – they said He would care for me?
Everything that I treasured has been compromised in some way –
My home was flooded with water –
O, it is standing and they say it can be restored –
But can it really be restored – will it ever be the same again?
My fields and garden are covered in debris –
How will I ever be able to plant them again?
Oh, and then the seed I was planning to use –
It too has been destroyed –
Wet, sprouting, molding, and also a fire hazard –
What is ever going to be possible Dear God?
God, my whole life is compromised –
Not just my home, my livelihood, my garden,
But God my whole family is affected in some way –
And so, I have been reminded today that You will help me –
You will help me find an answer –
You, O God, will give me direction –
But then I have to ask – ‘How in the world is any recovery possible?
I am trusting You O God –
I am trusting You also in the devastation I feel in my spirit today –
I am trusting You for the devastation I feel because of so many limitations –
I am trusting You for healing, O God –
I am trusting You for healing in my spirit today –
I am trusting You for healing in all spiritual communities today –
I am trusting You for healing in families today –
I am trusting You for healing in the lives of those broken by situations that could never have been prepared for –
I am trusting You for new beginnings –
New beginnings as I open my spirit to You God for renewal –
New beginnings for others as I allow You to work in and through me –
New beginnings for spiritual communities as creative ways for gatherings and reaching out are considered and implemented –
New beginnings in families as forgiveness is granted and acceptance of recent challenges are faced –
New beginnings in our broken, broken world –
A world that sometimes seems to be without any ray of hope –
Let this new beginning begin in me, O God –
In the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit,
Amen and Amen.
Whatever season your garden is in – winter, summer, spring, or fall – there is something to enjoy and tasks to accomplish. And there is spirituality to put into practice! Find God and community through the richness of soil and the shared values of growth. We have many resources available to help – click here to explore!