“Then the Lord God planted a garden in Eden in the east, and there He placed the man He had made.” Genesis 2:8
A few years ago, during one of my pitiful whining periods about being stuck in the city, my sweetheart built me a place of refuge in the backyard. A beautiful deck, surrounded by a profusion of beautiful flowers and shrubs, sits under a magnolia tree. Beside the deck is a koi pond, alive with ever changing movements of orange and white. In the yard are a myriad of bird feeders for a wide range of feathered friends, from tiny hummingbirds to huge pileated woodpeckers. It is a source of peace when I am restless and at odds with my present reality.
The deck has become a treasured place for family and friends as well. Many conversations have taken place while seated in those comfortable chairs. It seems to draw us outside to sit and wrap ourselves in a feeling of belonging. If I can’t find a family member who is home for a visit, I have only to look outside to find them seated beneath the shade of the tree, sitting with their thoughts and a cup of coffee. It is a safe place to share joy and sorrow, laughter and tears. Much writing has occurred at that old glass table.
This morning my thoughts were drawn to other gardens. One of God’s first creations was a garden. (Genesis 2:8) God placed man in the Garden of Eden and because man was lonely, He created woman to walk with him. Their first faltering steps came while walking the paths of a garden, surrounded by all of His creations. It was a place where God walked regularly with Adam and Eve. It was a place of incredible beauty (Genesis 2:9) where every creature was formed and named (Genesis 2:18-20).
The other garden I pondered was the Garden of Gethsemane where Christ prayed for the last time. It was where Christ often went with His disciples to pray and ponder. I have no doubt that He regularly sat at His Father’s feet there, gaining strength for the battles He was facing each day. It was the place He went to escape from the noise and chaos that constantly surrounded Him. But it was also the place where He was betrayed, sold for 30 pieces of silver, arrested and hauled off in chains. It was a place where tears flowed freely and hearts were broken.
So it is with my garden. It is a place where my dreams take shape, where I have captured thoughts and put them to paper. Yet it is also a place where racking sobs have been released as I fall upon my face to offer my heart to my loving Father in Heaven. I have grieved there, I have rejoiced there, I have been renewed there. There is no place where I feel closer to my Abba than when I am wrapped in His Peace while seated outside beneath His magnificent sky. I know that one day we will move and my garden will belong to someone else. And that is ok. A garden and its abundance are meant to be shared with others.
Do you have someone in your life that needs a garden? A place of peace and refuge from the world? Perhaps they have no space for a deck and flowers and a koi pond. There have been times in my life when I could barely sustain a potted plant, much less an entire array of things that needed to be tended. Yet having something to nurture would have been such a blessing. There are so many options. An African violet in a bright pot. A colorful Beta in a glass bowl. Even a hummingbird feeder that attaches to a window will bring light into a dreary life. (It’s perfectly ok to buy it for yourself if it’s you who needs the garden!)
Dearest Father God, thank You for creating gardens in our world. Thank You for showing us that we are allowed beauty in a world that seems so dark at times. When we are overwhelmed with our circumstance, remind us to take time to stop and come to our knees to meet with You in Your garden. Thank You for Your Mercy and Grace that makes our daily garden grow. In the Name of Christ Jesus we pray, Amen
©Michelle Welch, team member of Breath Of Life Women’s Ministries
photography by Michelle Welch, all rights reserved
Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.