This year, I have learned so many things from gardening that parallel the images of God's goodness, and also the values of how to live life abundantly. I would go on all day if I tried to speak of all the blessings and how God has spoken to my heart. But, there are a few things I have learned that really stand out:
1. I have decided that container gardening has a lot of advantages. If a plant doesn't do well where I first place it, then I can move it to where there is more sun, or it isn't getting drowned each time it rains. I have learned to watch how my plants respond to the staying wet or being allowed to dry out between waterings. And much of that is more easily controlled if my plant is in a container.
- parallel lesson: I do better if I am within a given set of boundaries, and if I am free to be moved by God into better circumstances. I flourish when I am not standing in the things that drown out my blessings from God, when the things that hinder me just drain away, and I don't hold on. I need good drainage, like many of my plants, and a controlled environment in which to grow.
2. Bigger is better with container gardens. Last year I put up the same old little planters that had failed me year after year. Except for a few wire baskets that I had a great deal of difficulty finding liners for last year. But once my make-shift liners were in place and I bought soil to fill the large planters, (because I couldn't find enough good soil to dig up), I discovered that what I planted in them did really well. Unlike the same in the small ones. So when I ran across some really large planters which no one else had bought, whose price was ridiculously low, ($1 to $4 each), I stocked up at the end of the season. Planting them this year has proven to me something about how much plants love a big container. The more generous the container space, the better my plants have grown. And, they all had plants that survived through the winter!
- parallel lesson: God isn't stingy where he plants us. He prefers we understand the generous heart he has toward our growing in his grace. He wants us to be planted in pots big enough to make it through the tough times. When the freezes come, he wants us protected til spring. And in turn, God desires we grow big enough to be able to share. Some of my plants have had to be split apart, making from 4 to 10 more plantings. I have already made plans that next year, when I have more than I know how to keep, that they must be shared. And Lord willing, I will share them in very big planters. I realized I have been limiting the blessings of God, unwittingly, by seeing myself planted in too small a pot. I want to forever have a new image of the place where God has planted me, as an enormous place of blessing. Especially in these late years of my life, he really wants to bless and multiply me where I am.
3. Early, in the spring, I sought out the things that survived the winter and nurtured them. And I did something this year I never had time to do before. Where my ajuga was coming up in a tight little clump, from where I left it to fend for itself every year, I took the smallest sprays that had produced roots, and dug them up. I replanted them in their very own place. Some, I planted in pots or planters. Some I worked the earth til it was soft and gave them room to send out shoots of their own. Some I just moved further from their parents, so they could have more space and fill more of the area where I planted them. I set them about all over the yard. Some with more sun, some with less.
I learned, that they really get colorful with a little more sun, and if planted in soft earth their plants begome twice to 3 times the size I had ever seen them before. I learned that if they are in planters rather than beds, they put on way more runners and put out twice as many shoots. Because the shoots are seeking good earth, they multiply profusely until they find a place to root of their own.
- Parallel lessons: God sometimes moves us for our own good. When the ground where we have been trying to grow is too hard, a little soft earth lets us become healthy and productive again. God knows when and where to move us. And as always, a little more exposure to the Son, revitalizes us. But when we are productive, yet it seems our work is in vain - purhaps the Lord knows when we need to produce more offspring, rather than being complacent with just witnessing to our nearest neighbors and friends. Sometimes we need to draw our loved ones close, until they are ready to put down roots. The time will come when God will cut off the new shoots and send them off to produce on their own. There is a time when we need to give, so that others may grow, to keep them close and feed them the things the Lord teaches us. And the time will come when they in turn will go out and mature and put out shoots of their own. But when God places us in the place where he would have us grow and produce, we should rejoice that he has blessed us with new surroundings, and people and grace for every need. As parents, and teachers, neighbors and friends, we are able to affect lives just by being planted in God's better place.
And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work: II Corinthians 9:8
Thank you precious Jesus, once more, for your garden of grace. I never go to the garden without knowing that both the susenance for my body, and for my soul can be found there. I am a growning living thing, a very real part of how you made the earth to prosper and live on. Help me realized that my ultimate health comes from the principles you put in motion, that make a garden grow. AMEN