My new lavender died in a sudden December cold snap, along with the oregano, thyme, and basil. The old lavender met with an unfortunate and unplanned mowing mishap the year before.
Even the Zinnias seem forced to show up – as though I’d sent out hundreds of invitations but only a handful came – and somewhat reluctantly.
The Dill were happy to be invited back in such a number packet. They usually are such a good foil to the zinnia’s singleness.
The last few years, I’ve been trying to deepen by garden skills beyond my tomatoes or cucumbers. I was awfully proud of my first attempt at Brussel Sprouts last year. It was beginner’s luck green thumb, though. This year they’re suffering but trying to soldier on.
I harvested ten-handfuls of snap peas before they left early. I’ve a small pot of green beans simmering on the stove. Last summer was my first foray into green beans. Snap peas are a first this year.
I can’t find my cucumbers to save my life, but zucchini is trying to become the life of the party. The tomatoes are reticent, so I’ve had to take measures. They’ve been trimmed back and fed nutrients the fresh soil might be missing.
Even Tennessee Whiskers has abandoned me someone else’s patch.
My hobby garden is struggling.
The more I’m trying to grow beyond what I grew up with (tomatoes and cucumbers), the more I recognize I am not the gardener I like to think I am. I’m a hobby gardener thinking I was a master gardener. When I just planted tomatoes, cucumbers and zinnias, it felt like I was mastery about what I was doing. . . but was thinking I was a hobby master gardener enough? It sure didn’t leave me prepared for venturing beyond tomatoes, cucumbers, and zinnias – and that, my friends, isn’t master gardening.
I am a topical grower who needs to dig deeper into the practice and knowledge of growing these good things I desire to grow. A few hours a week won’t achieve the gardening desires of my heart.
In some ways, though, this summer I could be called a back-sliding garden, trying to find my way back.
I had a fright that gave me pause – digging into one of my raised garden beds, I came across some unusually squirmy worms. Some names they go by are the Asian Jumping Worm, the Alabama Jumper, or Jersy Wriggler. Maybe I should call mine the Tennessee Twister. As a result, I stopped showing up for a while. I neglected my garden to the detriment of both of us.
It took putting on my brave, pulling out some energy, determination to draw closer to my garden. I reached out to continue a relationship with the growing things I’d planted. Someone recently said that plants talk, if you listen closely, you can hear them. However, you have to be in the garden with them, trying to listen, trying to learn in order to hear them. While I was in the garden, I started talking to them, praying over them.
While untangling the beans out of the tomatoes, I thought about how life is the garden is so similar to how I have cultivated my relationship with my Creator. Was I once a hobby Christian? Tinkering in Sunday morning church like a one-day visit to work on my garden? A hobby relationship with God wasn’t going to grow me into dreams God had planted in my heart. It certainly wasn’t going to produce the unknown for which my soul searched. Maybe a hobby relationship is at least a start. . . a soul tilled, a cutting, a seed planted.
Sweet were the days of small beginnings when I met God. My soul was a garden with a small idea of how He could grow and fill my soul. It was a soul garden stirred, seeds planted. Then I learned about the Sarah’s crying to God . . . and my soul grew like zinnias suddenly planted in my soul.
. . . , and there was more. Then came the seeds of Jacob’s, Samson’s, David’s redemptive love growing for those who lost their way.
Then came the seeds of promise in Isaiah, Ezekiel, Zechariah, and Moses. Yes – there are laments and against the backdrop of lamenting are God’s heart toward us, His desires for us, His promises of goodness, peace and joy.
I’m never good at new things, new learnings, but God loosens the hard dirt around the roots of my heart to help me grow. It takes me multiple seasons to master things like Brussel Sprouts, snap peas, and lettuces – I am the same way when God plants His ideas and His way in my soul. It takes me seasons to get the hang of it, to understand the root of it before I can live the fullness of it (do we ever really achieve the fullness of it – on earth?)
As an apprentice to my Creator in the cultivation of my soul, my ears opened to His songs, my eyes to His blessings, my heart to His trust, my mind to His promises.
Sometimes, a hard challenge, like a December cold snap, sets my thoughts to swirling – and I need to look to Him to re-order the chaos out of them.
Sometimes, uncomfortable things like Tennessee Twisters put me back on my heals until I grab hold of Him to muster the courage to tackle new ideas – whether it’s adding something that needs adding or pulling out things that need pulling out.
My tomato harvest this year might not fill my counter, but I’m not giving up. I’m back in the game now. I might have lost the cucumbers, but next spring, I’ll be planting them. Maybe the Brussel Sprouts will redeem themselves, and the zinnias color my world in August and September. I’ll take that.
Somewhere along the way, the hobby gardener within wanted gardening to be more than a hobby, just like somewhere along the way, my relationship with God stopped being a Sunday morning hobby. It became an everyday, all-day thing, where the heat, the hard, the jumpy creepy might give me pause, but doesn’t stop me for long. Like the hobby gardener stretching for master gardener dreams, so my hobby relationship with God stretched into daughter-of-the-king dreams – and that relationship, that role blooms riotously – when I intentionally cultivate it in the daily.
This summer, my backyard garden may have the appearance of a struggling hobby gardener, but that garden is so much more than tomatoes, zinnias, zucchinis, and beans. It looks a mess, lots of little fails, but there’s so much learning happening – about things growing in the soil, and things growing in the soul. It’s a place where God meets me, teaches me more of His ways.
I needed time in the garden, listening to one of God’s messages. It restored my soul, like a summer rain to a parched raised garden bed.
***Veggie and flower photos from more successful gardening seasons
Remember Me Monday: #103 & Link-up
“I’ll make a list of God’s gracious dealings,
all the things God has done that need praising,
All the generous bounties of God,
his great goodness to the family of Israel—
. love extravagant.”
~ Isaiah 63:7, The Message
In the Old Testament, God repeatedly, quietly and loudly, tells his children, “You have forgotten me!” (Jeremiah 3:32, Ezekiel 22:12, to name a few). It’s a heart cry from a father to a child who has forgotten all the love, all the saving, helping, little and big blessings – and it leaves me stunned when I realize our Father, the creator of the universe, who knows things I cannot begin to fathom, who authors storylines that leave me amazed, delights in all of us so much, He cries out, “Remember Me.”
While every day is a Remember God Day, I am inviting you to join me on Monday mornings to come by and remember what God has done for you, for your family. Maybe God sent a cardinal darting out in front of you, as if to tell you, “I’m here,” or broke a child’s fever after you laid it all down at His feet in a 2 a.m. bedside vigil. Maybe He stood with you in the wait of a prayer sent out, or brought someone you loved to Christ. Maybe He healed your broken heart, gave your courage, or you gave Him your dreams as a love offering only to have Him give them back in an unimaginable way. Maybe God helped you survive to bedtime after a crazy Monday, or forgive yourself for missing it with your kiddos –– Whatever it is, let’s Remember Him. . . in a “Remember Me Monday” love letter.
“My mouth will tell of your righteousness,
Of your salvation all the day long,
Though I know not its measure.
I will come and proclaim your mighty acts, O Sovereign Lord”
~ Psalm 71:15-16.
Let us delight in Him by telling the stories of what He’s done! If you wrote a blog post remembering what He’s done for you, join the linky. If you didn’t but still want to praise Him for what He’s done – write it in the comment section. Then visit a comment before or after yours! One of the beautiful things about the blogging community is the relationships it builds!
Rules? Write long or short, a list or a story, include photos or not. Just Remember Him and what He has done, and let the gratitude of your heart guide you. Let’s make Monday so Rejoice, that the goodness of God spills into the rest of the week!
Places I’m Linking at This Week:
Inspire Me Monday, Instaencouragements,
Legacy Link-Up, Recharge Wednesday
Faith on Fire, Tell His Story, Grace&Truth
Let’s Have Coffee Wednesday Celebrate Your Story
Scripture&Snapshot, Sunday Scripture Blessings
Sweet Tea & Friends Monthly Link-up