Jeremiah 29:5 “Build ye houses and dwell in them, and plant gardens, and eat the fruit of them”
Today as I sat outside watching sweetheart work on middle daughter’s car, I happened upon the book of Jeremiah. This verse was not even a part of my daily Bible study. It was, however, the verse that my Abba wanted me to read so that I would understand that nothing He asks me to do is outside the realm of possibility.
I have, once again, started another garden here in the wilds of Houston. Each year I prepare, plant, and nurture another round of tomato, pepper, and squash plants. Each year, like the year before, I end up growing a fifty dollar tomato or, like last year, a twenty five dollar bell pepper. It does not matter how well I prepare, I just do not have what it takes to grow a vegetable garden.
It occurred to me today that many times our lives seem to be like my gardening attempts. No matter how well we prepare, no matter how often we plant, no matter how much we nurture, we just can’t seem to get anything to grow in our garden of life. But perhaps it is because we are trying to grow the wrong things. Could it be that the plants we buy are not suited for this climate? Could it also be that we aren’t using the right kind of fertilizer? Could we even be planting in the wrong spot?
God has called me to make my house a home. He has asked me to care for and teach my grandchildren. In addition, He has given sweetheart and I the responsibility for a handicapped adult child. I keep telling Him that was not what I had planned. I even showed Him my blueprints for the life I wanted.
I wanted a nice, orderly garden, laid out in rows, easy to weed, within reach of the hose. What I got was a garden in a constant state of chaos, with carrots where the peppers should be and the hose is on the other side of the house. The weeds more often than not outnumber the plants, leaving little time for enjoying the garden at all.
This year, I listened to my Master Gardener. I followed His advice and stopped trying to grow things He did not want me to grow. I stopped filling my days up with activities that took me away from home. I stopped stressing over the rocking horse in the hallway or the drawer I had to give up for bottles, pacifiers, and bibs. I started looking forward to taking my son out to lunch twice a week instead of seeing it as a waste of money. I also started getting rid of “stuff”, especially the kind that cluttered up my mind.
I also planted an orange tree, a lemon tree, and blueberry bushes. I strategically placed two fig trees so that when they are grown, their limbs will provide shade for the grand babies. I planted native plants that can stand up to the heat, yet give beauty to the yard. I positioned a special bush to draw butterflies and hummingbirds to bring a smile to my face as I sit outside.
Dearest Father God, thank You so much for the beauty of a garden. Thank You for letting us plant and nurture and grow the gifts that You have given us. We pray that we will always look at the plans that You have made for us and see that You know better than we do about what grows best and provides the sweetest fruit for our family. As we head into this Easter Season Father, please remind us daily to share our bounty with everyone we meet. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen