Garden Delights & Surprises from God

I believed this year would be one for tending all the things already in my life. And I was right. To an extent. But God has given me so many more gifts and invited me to be a part of so much beauty. At some point, I realized there were surprises I needed to record.

Things like roses going into my flowerbed before next spring. I didn’t even plan to have a flowerbed, but I watched one too many gardening shows with Monty Don and before I knew it I was clearing out a place for flowers the next time spring came round. I even began to plan and dream for what I may plant there.

But then our nephews brought us rose clippings from their grandmother’s grand rose collection. And now I have a flowerbed with four different roses and another smaller bed for another type of rose. They are doing well and I hope and believe they have had enough time to get a good root system going before the winter season.Before my friend moved away she gave me a wildflower seed packet. I bravely pushed those seeds in a gardening pot only to find a few months later that zinnias were the shining gift. I’ve had dark and light pink blooms. And the zinnias keep coming back!

I even had enough clippings to make a small centerpiece on my table. I dreamed up zinnia bouquets for next spring, but got to enjoy a little bouquet teaser this fall. I love being surprised with gifts likes these!

In August, I intensely pruned my snapdragons and didn’t expect a big show after the fact. I had a woeful spring and summer season with them and didn’t have high hopes. . . only to discover stunning beauty in September and October with the healthiest and fullest blooms I had seen in a long while. Snapdragons hold a special place in this novice gardener’s heart so it was such personal and kind gift from God!

Watching my tiny “rosebush” bloom had my heart singing, “WHAT A DIFFERENCE A DAY MAKES!!”

I think that can be a sentence that sums up this year. What a difference a day makes! What a difference God’s light makes! What a difference God works with His healing and love and presence!

How different my life would be if God didn’t make the difference.

As I head into this season of savoring all God has done and is doing, I can’t help but be thrilled for the joy that is and the joy that is to come. These garden surprises may seem small, but they’ve been such a deep delight. God knows just how to delight His children. . .truly, fully, personally.

Take a moment. Look at your life. How has God delighted you with His presence? His gifts? His healing? His life-filled surprises? The beauty He’s invited you into?

A honky dory holiday fog is not required for you to see the joy, comfort, and hope God is carving into all the heartbroken places of your year and your soul.

Oh, how we can love life because of God. He makes it worth savoring and celebrating even as we hold this tension of pain and blessing while trusting Him with everything. . . our whole hearts, our open hands, our honest questions. In thy presence there is fullness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures forevermore (Psalm 16:11).

And we resolve with Habakkuk, “Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, 18 yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. 19 GOD, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer’s; he makes me tread on my high places.”

Let’s taste fullness of joy and trust God with the tension and tragedy we hold. Let’s come with souls filled up and hearts poured out as we give thanks for this unconventional life. Let’s rejoice always and anyway. Let’s do all of this today.

Let’s begin now.

Chapter 2: Ocean Is a Season

Her raspy voice pleads with me as she points her finger to my heart and waves her hand as if to shoo me away. Every word is bitter to my ears.

“Go to the ocean. Go to the ocean.”
“Into the ocean. Into the ocean.”

And I know what Old Maryn is asking of me.

To walk into the waves and lower my whole body into the water. To walk until I cannot touch the ocean floor. To go where I do not want to go. To be where my flower dress falls apart. To exist where I have never wanted to exist. To turn away from the Island I have made. Read more

I Did What I’ve Never Done Before

In my time away from regular life, work, and all the noise that comes with it, I found myself nurturing my garden with intention. I was looking up YouTube how-to videos, watching Monty Don do his garden magic, soaking up all the things I never knew, trying things that would have scared me silly just last year, and enjoying the quiet process of nurturing the small life that grows in gardening pots.

Flowers from the grocery store have turned into so much more. They have become life lessons, picture frames for my own soul seasons, and resilient blooms that return and return and return.

My garden is delightful, but not spectacular. I coax life, watch for life, and wait for life. Nurture and anticipate. That’s all that’s required of me. I’m not working to a finished garden, but walking through the process that yields a healthier garden. Read more

There’s More for You than Yourself

You are not what you can produce, perform, or portray. Maybe the insecurity and insignificance you feel right now is the best thing in your life. Why? Because it can push you to the best Place–the most satisfying Person of Jesus Christ.

But we live in a world that says you are the answer to your own problems.

Exhaustion weighs heavy even while we pride ourselves in being enough. We scream our anthems of being unique yet shrivel up inside . . .unsure if that’s actually true. We scream louder. Outer shells telling the story we wish we felt inside.

Breathe.

Let your outer shell break. Read more