The Unexpected Garden

photo credit: anafuentes via photopin cc

photo credit: anafuentes via photopin cc

Today I am blessed and honored to feature a guest post written by a friend close to my heart. She writes here simply as “Soul Sister” because that’s who she is to me and that’s who she can be here too.

There is something about the sun on my face. Nothing refreshes me more, fills my spirit, or calms my soul more than sun warming my face.

As I sat on my porch this afternoon, I reflected on the irony of the One we follow allowing me stolen moments of unhidden sun seeking. When we left for this journey I feared what my loss of freedom would mean. But inside my compound, as the sun shines, I can remove my scarf and let it warm my face.

It is a gift I didn’t expect. It is hard here. And at times, lonely. But somehow along with the lonely, hard, and anxious, there is joy that is so intense it is hard to describe.

I watched my kids play in the yard yesterday. A yard filled with fruit and nut trees. A playground that beckons their imaginations to go wild. A playhouse that is home to their fun and friendship club (oh to be six years old…). It is better than I imagined. More than I asked for. I couldn’t have written this part of our story this well.  And it fills my children with hours of joy.

There is a vegetable garden growing feet away from my porch. I’ve always dreamed of having a garden. My husband laughs at my lofty ideals of harvesting a garden because I was a lackluster caregiver of our house plants. But gardening is different. It is life-giving, soul-cleansing work. There is reward in gardening.

I kinda laugh now at the gardening I get to do here. In reality, I walk around and comment all good things to my guard/gatekeeper/now gardener. I tell him in my new language how pleased I am that he planted all the new seeds and made the beds so pretty. But still it’s my garden, in my yard, that I can cook from all season long.

Amazing. Joy-giving, soul-filling. And not what I expected from this place.

I was reading a devotional recently that read: “I have planted Peace in the garden of your heart, where I live; but there are weeds growing there too: pride, worry, selfishness and unbelief. I am the Gardener, and I am working to rid your heart of those weeds . . . . I also send trials into your life. When you trust Me in the midst of trouble, Peace flourishes and weeds die away. Thank me for these troublesome situations; the Peace they can produce far outweighs the trials you endure.” (Jesus Calling)

I am grateful for my garden for so many reasons. But also to remind me that unless it’s tended, it doesn’t produce the life-giving fruit. Aren’t we the same? The rain and the sun produce harvest . . . not just sun or just rain.

But it’s the combination that brings joy and contentment.

Somehow in the hard, scary, peace-stealing moments, the intense joy balances it out. It tempers it. I find myself on my porch, lifting my face toward the Son and letting Him warm my face.

 

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