The Garden of Life (Re-run)

I love the colors of summer. The bright pinks, hues of blue and vivid reds—the varying shades of green in the trees and the grasses. My favorite season though, is Fall. But right now I am focused on Summer….since we are in the “heat” of it!
Several years ago while digging in a flower bed, the Lord taught me some lessons. I would like to share them with you.

The Anchor
When I first started thinking of my flowerbed, I knew it needed an anchor. Something substantial that it could rest against. Something that would help tie the flowerbed and the house together. We decided on a patio.

My husband and I worked for two days laying a solid brick patio. The bricks were very old and completely solid. They were a variety of colors, from terra-cotta colored to reds and beige. They blended well. We arranged them in a in a criss-cross design. He poured in the sand and mortar mixture to set them, we swept it in with a broom and he hosed it down and we stood back and admired the end result.

The man of the house decided that I could do the planning of the flowerbed. He would be on standby to dig the larger holes, but for the most part, it was my baby. As I began planning my flower bed, I would lie in bed at night and visualize what it might look like complete. I had in my mind the type of flowers I wanted. I started small. I laid out my design with left over patio bricks. I rearranged them to suit my plan. I wanted something unusual. Something that would please the eye and invite you to “sit for a while”.

I planned my whole flowerbed around the design of the patio. I used the left over bricks for a border. I carefully chose my flowers according to color, size and “drawability”….no that’s not a word, but I wanted to draw butterflies. After several afternoons spent digging, weeding, planting, watering and “rearranging”, it was finished. It was so small, the plants so young and tender. They needed constant attention. I watched like a hawk for weeds and dared any animal to come near my sweet little new plants.
As the seasons changed, my little plants changed too. So did I. Many things were taking place in my life. Every day that I spent working in my flowerbed, God was using that time to “weed out things in my heart and life”. I had kind of a “two for one” deal! As the years passed, my flowers were no longer small.

The Jungle
During a particular tough summer for me, I spent less time in my little garden and more time worrying and fretting over some particularly difficult circumstances in my life. One day I arrived home and realized I was living in a jungle! The crepe myrtle bush had turned into a tree and was “creeping” to my door. My lantana had grown so large; it was now taller than I was in places! My once cute little garden was now out of control. So were the problems in my life.

We can all find a point in time in each of our lives where we realize our little plants have become bigger than we have. Each passing season brings change. Some changes we welcome with open arms, some we try to run from. Nevertheless, change is inevitable.

The Solution
So what do we do with these inevitable, often uninvited changes? We determine to rise early, grab our sturdy work gloves, get out the hedge clippers, the shovel, the wheelbarrow, the hoe and rake and get to work! It will be a hot sweaty job, but I need to sweat sometimes. We all do. It washes out the impurities in our bodies (lives). It will take a lot of hard work, a lot of sweat, cutting, trimming, raking and possibly, even the moving of some plants (that I now realized were planted in the wrong place), but the end result (when you are too pooped to see straight), is well worth all the efforts.

Sometimes the processes God takes us through are painful as well. Sometimes we have to be pruned, trimmed, even cut way back to be what we should be. Sometimes, we even have to be moved. I did that with some of my plants. We even did that with a few trees. They just weren’t flourishing where they were placed originally. It was a scary process. I am not a horticulturist. I had no clue if they would survive if moved. I worried over the root system. The only thing I knew about gardening, I had learned while watching my mother and grandmothers and HGTV! You may think this is silly, but I “prayed” over my plants.

Believe it or not, the Lord answered my prayers. I knew if anyone knew anything about gardening….He did. After all……He planted the first garden!

He taught me much during those seasons of my life in gardening and living. Somethings in my life needed to be pruned out. There were things that were keeping me from progressing in my faith. Things that were hindering my walk with the Father.

Hebrews 12:1-14
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily hinders our progress. And let us run with endurance the race that God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, on whom our faith depends from start to finish. He was willing to die a shameful death on the cross because of the joy he knew would be his afterward. Now he is seated in the place of highest honor beside God’s throne in heaven. Think about all he endured when sinful people did such terrible things to him, so that you don’t become weary and give up. After all, you have not yet given your lives in your struggle against sin. And have you entirely forgotten the encouraging words God spoke to you, his children? He said, “My child, don’t ignore it when the Lord disciplines you, and don’t be discouraged when he corrects you. For the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes those he accepts as his children.” As you endure this divine discipline, remember that God is treating you as his own children. Who ever heard of a child who was never disciplined? If God doesn’t discipline you as he does all of his children, it means that you are illegitimate and are not really his children after all. Since we respect our earthly fathers who disciplined us, should we not all the more cheerfully submit to the discipline of our heavenly Father and live forever? For our earthly fathers disciplined us for a few years, doing the best they knew how. But God’s discipline is always right and good for us because it means we will share in his holiness. No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening-it is painful! But afterward there will be a quiet harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way. So take a new grip with your tired hands and stand firm on your shaky legs. Mark out a straight path for your feet. Then those who follow you, though they are weak and lame, will not stumble and fall but will become strong. Try to live in peace with everyone, and seek to live a clean and holy life, for those who are not holy will not see the Lord.

I love that verse I underlined “So take a new grip with your tired hands and stand firm on your shaky legs.” Hebrews 12:12 NLT
Isn’t that just how we feel when we’ve been on our knees in the garden digging and pulling weeds for hours? Tired hands and shaky legs. He (the ultimate Gardener) will strengthen our hands, feet and yes our backs too!
How awesome it is to serve God! How incredible He is to attend our every need! Thank you Lord for caring about our lives, even our gardens.
(This post was originally posted July 29, 2007—but it ties in with my thought lines for this week—and my Internet Cafe` post that comes out July 29, 2008!) Hope you don’t mind the re-run!
Have a blessed day!

About Angie Knight

On a journey with purpose, with my best friend and love of my life--as we serve the LORD anyway we can! View all posts by Angie Knight

15 responses to “The Garden of Life (Re-run)

  • Melanie

    Your garden is beautiful! What amazing colors!

  • gail

    hey, thanks for visiting my blog again. love this post. i want to come sit on your porch and enjoy something cold as we sit and chat. i love brick and making pations. walkways and such with old bricks. i love your transplanting analogy. as we gear up for our move, i really see the Lord transplanting us to a better spot. one where we will grow in Him and maybe new opportunities will come forth.i think reruns are a great way to recycle, don’t you? hee hee

  • Kathy S.

    Angie, I absolutely love all the lessons God teaches us through gardening. I love the picture you painted of the overgrown plants, I recall the pain of pruning. At one excruciatingly painful time in my life the Lord gave me comfort by showing me how he was removing the roots of the weeds from around my roots that were trying to choke the life out of me. You know how the plant wilts when it is being uprooted to be replanted? Well, I could relate to that!! Thankfully, He is the Master Gardner and planted me in new soil without those old weeds!!

  • Denise

    I love anything you post, including beautiful reruns.

  • Paula (SweetPea)

    This is a great post. So true, so pricking at my heart, so applicable to us all. I wasn’t around for the first publication of it but wouldn’t ever tire from hearing this much needed message. Oh, how I could write the pains of my heart that you so richly speak. I too know the painful pruning and transplanting that God does. It is needed but oh so painful during the process. I too have literally transplanted trees…some survived, some did not. I have a crepe myrtle getting out of control also. Funny how this particular one (I have three) never grew to this size before. It’s a beauty but it doesn’t fit in the spot so it should be trimmed. Will do after the blooms are gone. You touched my heart today. What comes to mind right now is the scripture that says “all you weary and heavy burden, come to Me.” Oh Lord, I’m here. Take these burdens. Blessings,Paula

  • elaine @ peace for the journey

    I don’t mind it since I wasn’t reading back then. But even if I was, this is a lesson we all need to hear every now and then…some of us more than others! The only thing missing is a pic of the garden in its glory. It’s a life lesson, don’t you think? This constant pruning process of God. But God is after perfection…beauty to the uttermost. I want to be the splendor of his hands, so I yield my thorns and thistles and hard and habits to his touch this day.Thanks, Angie, for your heart in this post. You are a beautiful woman of God.peace~elaine

  • Technonana

    Lessons from a garden.. how truly awesome our Lord is that He teaches us through the everyday things in our lives!!! How He tenderly tends His gardens, holding us close as He cuts away the stubble so that we can grow up in Him… Praise God for His love and tender mercies!!!Thanks Angie!!!

  • Tracy

    Wow Angie! Stunning applications here! Working in my flowers always bring thoughts of the Lord and what He’s doing in my life and heart. How I want Him to tend, prune and shape me…even when it’s uncomfortable for a time, when I’m wilted or when weeds threaten to choke out the good. Thank you for this awesome and encouraging post! Because I’m still a bit of a newbie, this wasn’t a rerun for me! ; ) Blessings,TracyP.S. And no, we never did come to the basement! I was thinking to myself…I’m now one of “those idiots” who stays around to take photos of such things. All I can say is there is something strangly captivating about seeing something like that. It kindof paralyzes you,because you realize you will probably never see anything like that in your lifetime again. Believe me, I’ve sent up quite a few prayers of thanks for safekeeping. = )

  • Bernadine

    I love re-runs,they help you to catch up on interesting things that you missed during the first run. I love this post, I could visualize the planning and the work that went into your garden. I also appreciate the comparison between life and garden. It’s amazing how God uses the things in our lives to teach us meaningful lessons.

  • Erica

    Thank you for filling my day with the Word. I really was encouraged by the verses in Hebrews as today has been a day filled with discipline for my own girls. It helps to remember that we too are disciplined, because often it just feels like pain. Oh, how I want to take a new grip with my tired hands and stand firm on your shaky legs!

  • Cheryl

    Hey Angie,That was an awesome rerun for some, but not me! You’ve given me some things to ponder. Isn’t it awesome that God puts people on our minds and hearts. I spent all day Monday with Mom. She called with chest pain. She had a ton of tests and no problems with her heart. So, now we’re moving on to see what caused this.Thank you for praying for me and my family this week. Have a great day! Cheryl

  • Chris

    Yes! I got some good soul feeding from this Scripture and your words, my dear sister in Christ! Thank you~~I loved hearing that He will strengthen my hands, feet, back and any other aching body part! So wonderful. I’m grateful for you.

  • Denise

    Oh sweetie…. what truth you pen! The seasons of life are exciting but some parts are so painful…. I hate the pruning and the rain but looking back it produced stability and roots that run deep… I read your post a couple of time and as I read it I could see the flowers as first planted and then as they began to grow….. Then the times when we are so busy and forget to “care for the garden” We forget that HE is our root system and in HIM is our growth…. I sometimes just look at the weeds in my life and brush them off for a season , only to return and find they have grown.. I need to nod and give HIM permission to weed my life and trust HIS gentle touch as HE does so……. I am at that place again where there are weeds that hinder me and I give my master permission to be the Husbandman of my garden……..Love ya gal! I do love ya!

  • lori

    Hey you….I LOVE your re~runs…I’m not the only one a day late and a dollar short these days!!I’m just stopping by TODAY…(Thursday) finally….it’s been a busy, crazy week…you know the kind I mean….What a wonderful post….I needed the reminder that “He tends to every need and WEED in our garden…” Funny thing is that our sermons for the past 2 weeks have been on “WEEDS..” and gardens…Somebody is using YOU to speak to me…..again!!!love that…love you!!peace and big ol hugs!!lori

  • Kim

    I stopped by the other day but didn’t have time to leave a comment, so I wanted to return today!WOW…WOW…WOW….you’ve knocked my socks off friend.What a GREAT post!!! So much for me to chew on…and apply.Thanks as always, for challenging me in my walk with him.Kim~

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