Friday, December 10, 2010

the all-weather gardener...

     One cold late-autumn day, I stay inside to do the wife-task of ironing collared shirts for my husband... which I actually enjoy, sometimes, when I can put on music and make it a kind of meditative, worship time... one of the few times that I allow myself to slow down and be reflective while still in my house full of chores.

The pile has over a dozen shirts that I have saved up (or maybe ignored) until I must do this task.
     I heat up the iron, turn on the music and  
          let the Lord start to iron out the wrinkles in my heart...

I draw my curtains back so that I can look out onto the Shade Path while I work...

  The song on loop is one of my new favorites, Matt Maher's "Garden"... it is quiet (which I need while my two toddlers and one baby sleep), peaceful, and reminds me of the Lord's presence with me...
And you walk with me
You never leave
You're making my heart a garden
  As I start to relax, I begin to let down from my long day.  Being the mother of three small children can be exhausting!  I give, and give, and try to give more though my flesh is howling in resentment.  I am worn from their needs and requests, but also from the battle with my own selfishness.

I am faced in this quiet moment with my sinfulness... the mess that is my life... all that I do not do...
     and all that I do, that I hate...

And I look out at that cold, almost frosted garden...

Everything green is dying down...
   what's left looks  
     broken, brown, shabby...
     on its way into the dormant season...
     the cold, frozen, dead-looking season...

                                  ...Like my heart
                                                    looks and feels.

   Our Shade Path is very near to the sidewalk and the road, and our home is situated on a fairly busy street headed into the downtown area.  Many, many times in this fall planting season
I have been out gardening in the cold afternoon... sometimes in the rain with water dripping down my hood... sometimes with fingers mostly frozen 

And they pass me by.

The cars... the kids walking home from school.  And I feel the weight of curious,  
                    unbelieving eyes as they see me out there in that nasty weather.
                                                                               I think to myself, "They must think I am crazy."

  And what am I doing?  I am perfecting my garden.
That brown mess.   Beloved mess.  Truly, I am out there because I love it!
I love admiring what is there, even in this harsh season.

  I am tweaking the beauty that will exist next year... moving seedlings... planting hundreds of bulbs...
The beauty is hidden, dormant... cannot be seen by normal vision right now.
Only through eyes of faith can I see it already full of flowers... 
new growth... new color combinations... new heights of beauty. 
And you walk with me
You never leave
You're making my heart a garden

...the chorus sings on and I am suddenly struck: I am a garden!
I am brown and broken, yet loved by my Gardener
He tends me in the most caring way...
looking happily at the new growth here and shuffling more bulbs there...  
and He is making my heart beautiful.

Like me, He is an all-weather gardener...
     enjoying me right where I am,
          and patiently working into me the beauty that is to come.


  1. Hey Julie,
    Thanks for taking the time to write out your thoughts. I am glad that you are able to keep this hope/vision in mind as you continue to persevere with your three lovely/lively kids and the piles of laundry. I am forever thankful that I can be a witness to all the "gardening" that God is doing in your heart.


  2. Julie

    So timely for me to remember today (Christmas party day) that He is waiting to take my hand, walk and talk.

    I needed that slow-down today.

  3. i like your idea of a 'Garden' being your puts my hear into a perspective on how i can invite God to be a 'Gardener'.


  4. God is the Great Gardener, our hearts our his garden, like me, he likes to work through pain and suffering to make a messy, horrid mess look beautiful.


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