I’ve always loved the dance flowers and plants annually bring to our world. I get excited when Spring arrives and new buds start forming; when the Summer heat causes plants to explode with growth and color; when Summer fades into warm Autumn hues; when the winter cold strips almost every plant bare except the lush evergreen trees, contrasting berries, and solitary mistletoe. Once I start seeing the shift from season to season, I admittedly become giddy knowing a change is coming. And it is such a delight to take part in that dance through my very own backyard, thanks to my parents’ hard work.
Both of my parents are retired. Lucky ducks, right? They have the blessing and joy of spending many hours together shopping, taking impromptu road trips, and simply being in each other’s presence. One thing that they enjoy doing is gardening. Who knew that somebody in my family could plant something and actually keep it alive?! Our backyard has turned into a miniature nursery, full of flowers, plants, colors, and scents. Daily household conversation consists of phrases like “potting soil and vitamins,” “transplanting the double knock outs,” and “don’t forget to water the new guys.”
In the still of the morning, heat of the afternoon, and cool of the evening, I see how my parents spend time outside observing each individual plant, smelling the sweet scent of each flower, checking in to make sure bugs aren’t gnawing away at the leaves or branches aren’t dying. They tap the ground around the roots to ensure there is enough water and joyfully trim off roses that they bring inside for us to enjoy. There is always a tenderness about my parents when they work in the garden. They never step on a plant. They never run the hose over a bush. They never trim or cut without purpose.
Yet, when they see that bugs have been munching on the roses for a snack, my dad quickly marches to the garage and returns with a determined face and a bottle of some plant-eating-bug-destroying-mechanism-and-unknown-concoction in hand. Or when an ant pile forms near the base of the tree, you better believe it will be gone within 24 hours. When something tries to attack the garden, my parents do whatever it takes to make sure nothing gets destroyed to the point of death.
I can’t help but watch this and reflect on my sweet Father in heaven who takes pleasure in watching me grow, tending to the pieces of me that need to be cut, protecting me from destruction, and presenting me to the world as a pleasing and fragrant aroma to His glory. And in case you’re wondering, He does that for you too. If you are planted in His grace and goodness, then He gives you satisfying water, He feeds you with mercy and love, He leads you in the path of holiness, and He even trims up the pieces of you that He knows will kill you. Why? Because He delights in you.
Will you go to the Father today who knows why you’re planted where you are? Will you drink from His waters and feast on His food? Will you let Him cut off the parts that lead you to harm and will you let Him rejoice over you?
And though it’s not always easy and sometimes hurts, I promise you that living in His garden is always worth it.