I was delighted when we moved into our new house last fall that there were simple perennial gardens around the fence. I love how gardens warm-up and finish outdoor spaces. They're so welcoming and beautiful. But then early spring came and I was meeting a neighbour outside of my house. She glanced at my yard and said, "So, do you like gardening?" Uh...
She knew something I didn't. These simple gardens require a lot of maintenance. I got to skip the construction and planting stages, I hardly have to do anything to make the plants grow, but that is far from the whole picture. My neighbour had seen the old owners working away in those gardens on a consistent basis and was wondering if I was going to do the same or bring the neighbourhood property values down.
I've spent more time gardening this year than ever. While it has been backbreaking at times, I've actually been surprised by the joy I've found watching those plants develop over the past weeks and months. I really didn't know what most of them were since the season was over when we moved in last year. But one day I looked out at my garden and realized that two of the plants were lilac bushes. I love lilacs! A few weeks later my street smelled like lilacs again... turns out that the trees in my boulevard are white lilac trees. Sweet.
I've been watching one plant grow that I thought might be rhubarb... then it wasn't. It was very, very slow to come to life and after several months of waiting it suddenly took off and is now blooming purple flowers. Nice. And if that weren't enough, just when I thought I had seen it all, two unknown bushes started to flower with pink hydrangeas (I think… see photo above). What?! Gor-geous.
I know that some of you reading this are wondering how I didn't know what a hydrangea plant or lilac bush looked like before they flowered. If you want to come by and identify all the plants in this garden for me, I welcome you. We'll have tea. My only gardening strategy is to keep things tidy, pull the weeds and prune anything that gets out of control.
But back to the point. How much is this like our lives in Christ? God has created us in fearful and wonderful ways. He has done the work of planting His calling and gifting into our lives. He keeps speaking and moving, giving us every opportunity to grow and mature into all that He designed us to be. When we join in with what He has already done, the beauty that is produced in our lives is sometimes surprising and always amazing.
So how are you cooperating with what God has planted in your life? Do you see the miracle of His grace in your life? Are you noticing love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control growing, flowering and being produced?
Let's not ever take for granted the power of staying in step with the Spirit every day and what is produced in our lives through that diligence. And let's not ever take for granted the incredible things that that God makes beautiful in His time.
To quote Psalty the Singing Songbook:
Beautiful, beautiful, Jesus is beautiful
And Jesus makes beautiful things of my life
Thankful to be in Christ,