I come from a long line of gardeners. Many of my childhood memories involve planting, cultivating and harvesting. My dad loved his gardens. He would spend much of his free time just walking amongst his plantings. Pulling weeds was not a chore for him, he found great pleasure in caring for his beds. I would often see my dad munching on a carrot or radish or pepper he pulled out of the ground as he strolled along inspecting each plant, stopping to smell the newest bloom, picking a flower to bring inside the house, removing a bug or two. He counted it all as pure joy. He passed his love of gardening on to me, my sister, brother and my daughter. I have a sign above my back door which reads: If you need me, I'll be in the garden. This is true for most of the members of my family. I do not know what my dad thought about while he was in the garden, but I do know that for my sister and I, the garden is where we go to speak with our Lord. It is in the garden that we seek His presence, where we feel His peace, where we witness His creation. A garden is where He speaks to me as my eyes rest on the beauty He lays out before me. Flowers, birds, insects, trees, withering blooms, a broken branch, a puddle of water, all, sing to me of His goodness. I was walking in my garden this spring and found a bunch of daffodils breaking through the soil. As I bent down to brush away a clump of dirt from their stems, it occurred to me how this small spring ritual is a testament to God's faithfulness. Year after year, these plants emerge from their 'sleep.' To my eyes, these flowers were dead, gone, the ground showed no signs of them hiding underneath. But, here they are once again filling this season with beauty and awe. As my dad would have done, I picked one of the blooms to bring inside with me and as I did so the Holy Spirit filled my thoughts with all that God had done since last spring to cultivate this patch of daffodils. For months, I saw no evidence of these plants. I had even forgotten they were there. But, God, saw them. He knew they were there and He was working on them. God used the time they were dormant to strengthen them, to give them rest, to deepen their roots so that when it was their time to push up through the soil, they would be strong enough to withstand a storm, their beauty seen in each bloom. These small flowers were placed there for me to admire and to long for once they faded away. The Holy Spirit laid upon my heart how God used this tiny patch of daffodils to remind me of His faithfulness towards us. Ecclesiastes 3 tells us, 'there is a season, a time for every purpose under the sun.' Admiring the flowers, I thought of how our lives resemble a daffodil. We have seasons where we feel dead, unseen, forgotten. We are weakened by storms. We are broken, withered. Yet, we are not. God has us. He sees us, He knows us. He is working. Our Father is pruning us. He is giving us rest. He is mending our brokenness. Our Father, our Creator, is strengthening us, deepening our roots, clothing us in His beauty so that we may burst through for all to see. In our dormancy, God was preparing us for His glory. As others see our joy, witness our strength, we offer them hope. As they see us clothed in His beauty, others are drawn to Him and long for their time in His presence. God's faithfulness and goodness are all around us. You may not find Him in your garden as my family does, but know that wherever you look for Him, He is there. Our Father is longing for you. Just as he strolled through the garden with Adam, He longs to walk and talk with you. Rest assured that He is working. He wants to deepen your roots, strengthen your faith, clothe you in His beauty. He longs to give you rest, mend your brokenness, heal your wounds. Just as my dad did, I believe our Father in heaven finds peace and comfort and pleasure in caring for you. Find your rest as you allow Him to bring you through the seasons of your life, trusting He is preparing you for others to see His glory within you. For our Father, tending to you is pure joy.
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