Come sit with me in my garden, the peacefulness, fragrances and beauty beckon me, “rest”. It’s my favorite spot after a hectic day of work demands or anytime I feel overwhelmed. Sometimes I walk, visiting each little area on my property or take a longer walk over the fields behind our lot. Other times, I seek a quiet place to sit, awash in the sights, sounds and fragrances of the garden. Spending time in the garden is my favorite place for encountering God. All of creation speaks His name, tells His story and shows forth His glory in all its magnificent wonders.
Spending time in the garden breathes life into my soul and enriches my relationship with God in unique ways. I spent my first extended period in the garden this week; while savoring my adventure later in the evening, I lighted upon the idea of inviting you to join me once a month. Currently, I don’t have a catchy name for our time together like our Mindfulness Mondays, but I remain open to ideas! Feel free to leave suggestions in the comments, or maybe we can have a naming contest with a fun prize for the winner. Please let me know your thoughts.
What I find most appealing about my garden encounters is, the grace I find amidst the plants, insects, animals and God. Within my first few steps, I feel welcomed, accepted, at home. The garden offers familiarity, but also mystery in its ever changing landscape. Of course the garden changes with each season, but within the seasons it reveals depth for those who linger.
Each day I visit is truly different from the next. At times God meets me through a lesson from nature, at other times He reveals an aspect of His character within the creation. Perhaps the reason I find life for my soul spending time in the garden is because the Life Giver Himself meets me there. I long to share the beauty of these encounters with you, through our monthly rendezvous.
The garden speaks of small things
Among the many treasures of the garden abides the often overlooked “small things”. To me, spring is the season of small things, as spring slowly awakens, from a long winter’s rest. From the humble beginnings of earth covered secrets, emerges the glories of a dazzling array of colors. We often grow impatient for a view of these treasures, yet the intricacy of unfolding leaves and timid openings of buds graces us with a beauty few take time to behold.
The elegance of emerging plant life features but one glimpse of the delights of small things the garden harbors. Spending time in the garden accords us the privilege of a front row seat view of insect life busy about their spring chores. Bees awakening and tidying up their hives ready for their first drink of spring nectar, hover on their reconnaissance missions. While birds of every kind busily set up housekeeping, gathering the most bizarre items with which to adorn their nests!
spending time with small things
My moments in the garden vary from what I prefer calling a “wide view” to a more intimate encounter. My wide view usually encompasses a walk where I take in everything as one big picture, enjoying the fullness of everything as it relates to the whole. My intimate encounters involve times I linger in one or two spots, with keen attention on offerings from those areas only.
Enthusiastically approaching my first visit to the garden this year, I both gazed affectionately through a wide lens and lingered intimately with my tender Creator. Eagerly renewing my acquaintance with each spot, I felt God’s smile as He showed me the most fragile flowers preserved through winter’s harshness and the strength of plants more mature since last we met. Eventually I settled in a new area just beyond the edge of my property; an endless field of golden buttercups! Happy gazing at this golden sea as a whole, the Lord whispered for me to come closer and linger with the small things.
small things speak big things about god
Standing in the middle of that huge field surrounded by golden buttercups sparkling in the late day sun, the words of Zechariah 4:10 brushed past me. “Who hath despised the day of small things, for they shall rejoice…” The context of the verses in Zechariah 4 stem from the Israelite exiles returning and rebuilding the temple. The young “rejoiced” and the old “wept” when they saw the temple rebuilt. The young never saw the former glory of God’s temple for which the elders wept. The hope of restoring the former glory died on the day of small things.
What the elders failed to see was God did not weep, nor did He despise the reality of the modest temple rebuild. For God’s patience stretches through centuries to when the true Temple arrived in the person of Jesus Christ. His Kingdom, which will one day cover the entire earth, comes from humble beginnings. Assuredly, God’s mission for the world concludes not on a day of small things, and we do well to avoid contentment in simply the small things. At the same time, we are wrong to despise them. For faithfulness in the small things, small acts of obedience become big in God’s economy.
faithfulness in the garden
Leaning in closer to the buttercups nearby, examining each flower, the intricacy of the petals with their varying shades of golden yellow felt like velvet in my hands. Contrastingly, their stems were tall and while thin, their strength held them firm in the gusty winds. Each stem offered between 3-4 smaller stems with flowers. And there right in the center upon the stamens just under the pollen were the tiniest seeds; seeds that would scatter across this field multiplying their number in the coming year.
Glancing up across the expanse of field I marveled at how large a field of flowers from such a small seed. No cultivation, only God’s good pleasure watering them and bathing them in sunshine. Not a particularly travelled area, few houses, and only the animals and insects looking on, the buttercups faithfully gloried in their lonely spot. I realized I often felt like those buttercups; laboring faithfully, yet unseen. Praying, holding, trusting God’s Big Vision for me, yet stuck in the day of small things.
Rejoicing in the Garden
God spoke to the frustration and disappointment in my heart hiding just under the surface. Giving me a vision and ministry for this blog, along with writing a book and devotional rests in my heart. Embracing the bigness of the vision and the bigness of God was easy, abiding in the day of small things had me chafing, despising the delay.
The big things are not mine right now, and they may not be exactly what I expected. Using buttercups, God reshaped my idea of size; small in the eyes of man is often big in the eyes of the Lord. Praying big, trusting big and holding onto the big vision, but living that out in the day of small things. Learning faithfulness and contentment with the small things now, results in God’s big kingdom picture later.
spending time in the garden
Spending time in the garden, yielded a profound and unexpected lesson. As long as my focus rested on my view of the big things and my timetable for those big things, I risked despising the smaller things of faithfulness and contentment. Rather than planting, watering and waiting on God for the growth, I face the temptation of bringing the big things about in my own power.
Yet God speaking through Zechariah 4:6 reminds me, the vision is His, the work is His, and the Kingdom is His; He will bring it to pass. My fleshly efforts will never yield God’s big vision for me. In the same way God made the buttercups flourish in a lonely field, He will prosper His vision in my life from the day of small things and the result will be pure joy.
Time spent in the garden is never wasted, for Creation’s story longs to tell of the Creator. Until next time, embrace the day of small things, for one day soon we will rejoice together when God reveals how small the world’s “big things” were and how big the day of small things truly was.
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