FreerangeFriday: Discovering the Garden of Love

by Lilly Lewin
dogwood trees

by Lilly Lewin

Growing up I wasn’t allowed to express my emotions…at least not the negative ones. Especially not anger. We weren’t allowed to be angry…at least not in the middle of other people. When one isn’t allowed to feel things overtly, they go inside or have to come out in some other way. For me it wasn’t in rebellion or negative behavior, but it came out in performance and perfection. I did all the right things…made straight A’s, was student body president, and starred in the school musicals two years running. I truly thought I had to perform to be good enough for someone to love. One of my worst childhood memories was getting a report card that was all A’s but back then they were using number grades rather than letters. So one of my grades was a 99! My dad looked at my report card and doesn’t comment on the over all grades, but rather says “It’s a 99 was isn’t a 100?”! Well shoot! That ends us being how I lived most of my adolescence and young adulthood. Trying to make that 100! I was well over 30 when my boss, who happened to be an Episcopal priest, told me that it was ok to get a B or even a C!!! And that my C game was probably better than most people’s A game! Father Foote was also the one who introduced me to the practice of silence and the Abbey of Gethsemani! When I came to him frazzled and burned out, he said, “you need the Abbey.” And he taught this extreme extrovert how to enter silence and not get distracted by all the people!
This week at the Abbey, Jesus invited me to look at an idea I’ve shared about before…The Failure Box

FreerangeFriday: Boxes and the Gift of Grace

I’ve discovered as I’ve gotten older that way too often, I put things in the failure box. If I lose my keys..failure box, If my house is too messy, failure box, if I said something I thought was right but got misunderstood, failure box. It seemed for a very long time like I lived in the failure box not realizing there were even other boxes to choose from! My husband Rob and my therapist both called me on this a few years ago and you can read more here. How about the “I just Human” Box ? You mean I can have that box? Wow!

journal and paints

journal at the Abbey

This week I looked into a couple of other boxes that I tend to live in…
The BOX of FEAR and the Box of NOT ENOUGH

I think Fear and Failure might actually fit inside the NOT ENOUGH BOX because when I feel fearful or like a failure, or like I’m failing at life, I feel not enough..

A lot of our culture is designed to make us feel not enough…especially social media. We scroll through instagram or Facebook and we see what other people are up to and we see the number of likes or followers people have and we start to put ourselves in the NOT ENOUGH BOX! Not enough time, not thin enough, not productive enough, not wealthy enough, not successful enough..not enough enough enough!

And to add to the NOT ENOUGH, we have social media feeds filled with all the news of the entire world, all at once! 24/7! So the FEAR BOX gets filled! Fear of all the political unrest, fear of people’s hatred of one another, fear of failing to do anything about the injustices of our world, fear of economic downturn or losing our rights. Fear of getting sick or having an incurable disease. Fear of losing someone we love. Fear of being unable to control much of anything in this crazy mixed up world of ours. ( which is actually true, only God can control and fix things so we need to Let Go and Let God!)

So what do we do with these boxes? What do I do with my failure box, my fear box and the huge box of NOT ENOUGH?

As I spent time in silence, Jesus showed me just how much I am loved. He wrapped me up in joy and peace and this big blanket of love and acceptance that I so need to be reminded of as my true nature. Our reality is that we are desperately loved by Jesus! We are intimately loved by the Creator of the entire universe! You and I are BELOVED! And that is way too big for any kind of BOX!

I had thought about what a box of love might look like… and JESUS showed me that LOVE is not a BOX to be put in or filled up…it doesn’t have sides or a top.

love and boxes

love and boxes

Love is much more like a large flower pot filled with rich earth…love grows beautiful flowers and healing plants and sustenance for the journey of life! It’s not a box at all!
And it’s more like a garden than even a flower pot!

garden on iona

garden on iona

Think about walking into a garden filled with Love! What would that look like? What would that feel like to you? What would be growing in that garden just for you?

How can I plant myself in the flower pot of love?
How can you and I let ourselves grow in the garden of love rather than in the boxes of fear, failure or not enough?

How can we plant more seeds of love in our lives so we can love ourselves like Jesus loves us and then love one another?


John 13: 34-35
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

John 15:
12 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command you. 15 No longer do I call you servants,[a] for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. 17 These things I command you, so that you will love one another.


Matthew 22: The Greatest Commandment

36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”


Matthew 5:
43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,

potted plant iona

plant something!



If you have a garden, go take a walk through it and imagine it as a garden of love! A garden of love created by Jesus just for you! What do you notice? Take some time, sit still and ask Jesus to show you!
If you don’t have a garden, plan a field trip to some local gardens and receive the gift of this garden. Imagine Jesus walking with you in the garden surrounding you with his great love.
Plant something this week that reminds you of God’s love. It might be a fresh scented herb, a favorite vegetable, or a blooming flower. As it grows be reminded of how much you are loved by God.
You might even choose to bury a box of your fears, failures, and not enough’s in the garden and let Jesus grow love in you instead!
TRINITY Scott Erickson

TRINITY Scott Erickson

REMEMBER that you are greatly loved and you are not alone! We are actually loved by and IN the community of the trinity! Father, Son and Holy Spirit!

1John 4:
18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. 19 We love because he first loved us.

1 Corinthians 13 says
4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;[b] 6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
8 Love never ends.

©lillylewin and

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