Years ago, I had a deeply spiritual experience tending to a precious kitchen herb garden. I had designed it myself to be practical and beautiful after hours of research. It was our first tiny little house on a tiny little lot. My husband built the infrastructure for me as a birthday present and as I worked the garden, I thought of all the agricultural parables in Scripture. I came to understand how deeply meaningful these would be to a people who regularly worked the land for survival.

, via Wikimedia Commons
Then, we moved. Our next house was more temporary and the one following had too many projects and new babies to make any time for a garden. Now, in house number 4, in a new state, and a new climate, we have a house with a great plot for a garden. The youngest baby is over 2 years old and I have 4 kids who are old enough to help with chores inside and out. And so, for my birthday this year, my husband helped me set up a 700-square-foot vegetable garden.

Now, my approach to gardening is to research and plan extensively. I want to ensure our work and investment has the best chance to thrive as possible. When you work hard to create a garden, you want nothing more than for it to thrive. Whether it be for flower or fruit, there is a pride and an emotional investment in each plant. There is a joy in the hard work and in the plant that provides a good harvest. When I toil in my garden, I ponder this. Gardening is conducive to pondering. When I ponder this, my memory interjects:

I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine grower. He takes away every branch in me that does not bear fruit, and every one that does he prunes so that it bears more fruit. - John 15:1-2 NAB

Then he said, “What is the kingdom of God like? To what can I compare it? It is like a mustard seed that a person took and planted in the garden. When it was fully grown, it became a large bush and ‘the birds of the sky dwelt in its branches.’”  -Luke 13:18-19 NAB

Then the LORD will guide you always and satisfy your thirst in parched places, will give strength to your bones and you shall be like a watered garden, like a flowing spring whose waters never fail.  -Isaiah 58:11 NAB

All of a sudden, these scriptures and the many, many more like them become so real and so meaningful. Then, my gardening becomes a prayer: Lord, let my work in this garden help me be receptive to the work you do in me, so I may bear fruit for You.

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Now, maybe I need some sheep so I can better appreciate the Good Shepherd!

Copyright 2016 Kate Daneluk