Plant, Weed, Bloom and Grow

Genesis 2:15     The LORD God then took the man and settled him in the garden of Eden, to cultivate and care for it.

Deuteronomy 16:15     “Seven days you shall celebrate a feast to the LORD your God in the place which the LORD chooses, because the LORD your God will bless you in all your produce.

Psalm 104:14     You cause the grass to grow for the livestock and pants for man to cultivate, that he may bring forth food from the earth.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-2     For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven; a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to harvest what is planted.

Isaiah 4:2    In that day the Branch of the Lord will be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the earth will be the pride and the adornment of the survivors of Israel.

Isaiah 58:11     The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame.  You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.

Isaiah 61:11      For as the soil makes the sprout come up and a garden causes seeds to grow, so the Sovereign LORD will make righteousness and praise spring up before all nations.

1 Corinthians 3:6-8     I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow.  So neither the one who plants not the one who waters is anything; but only God, who makes things grow.  the one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their labor.

Matthew 13:24-43     Parable of Jesus about a man sowing good seed, and bad men came along to ruin his crop and spread tares.  But when the grain sprouted and produced, also came the tares.  the good man decided to let the tares grow with the wheat and at harvest time, separate, burn the tares and harvest the wheat.


 As a child both my mother and my maternal grandmother, who also lived with us, enjoyed gardening.  They would spend a couple hours a week in the Spring and Summer months in one of the three gardens.  One garden was full of portulaca, one of my favorites–a low growing, self-seeding plant that requires little water, enjoys the sun and heat, and has multiple colorful blossoms of yellow, white, red, coral and pink.  That particular garden seemed to attract very few weeds, so they did not have to weed that one often, and I did enjoy looking at those flowers.  

The other two were quite large with some bushes and many various plants.  I loved the peony bush and the two rose bushes, but it always seemed to me to be such a waste.  They would weed and groom and then in a few days one of them would be out there again.  It was like laundry or dishes; one would clean them up and within a couple of hours there were more to be done.  Clothes were placed in the hamper each night; dishes were required for each meal, so they too did not remain clean and “finished” for long.  I thought the same of gardening.  They looked great for a couple days and then needed to be weeded and tended again.  It seemed at this point that it was much like the Lamentations written by Solomon.   “All seems useless…”

When I was in college, I decided to drop out and get married.  It turned out to be a rough time and a costly decision in many ways, and yet, God also ensured I was blessed with a wonderful son.  But before they would sign off on my leaving the college program (nursing) I had to take a couple of tests.  Since this was to prove to me with psychological testing that I would make a wonderful nurse, I purposely lied for several of the questions, but the results showed my #1 option was nursing; #2 was librarian/writer; and #3 was religion/convent; and #4 was gardening/landscaping.  It was difficult for me to understand how questions about which I would prefer doing on a weekend vacation — walking in the mountain?  walking the beach?  hiking in Europe?   So, how did that show anyone I would be a good nurse, or enjoyed writing, and certainly then I had NO interest in gardening?   How do those kinds of innocuous questions determine to someone what one has as certain strengths?

But, like all selfish and “all-knowing” teenagers I left nursing school and started my “adventure.”   Within a short time I knew I had made a big mistake, but then found I was pregnant.  Certainly, things would change for the positive then; but they didn’t. 

Once I had a child, for our safety, I had to leave, and it then took a little while before I was mentally strong enough to handle things without familial support.  But finally, I was ready to handle things as an adult, raising a wonderful son.  I rented a small house with a small yard.  The yard needed a bit of sprucing up, some color, some flowers, and it just made the property look more cared for, more loved.   After a little effort and a couple of hours of time, I looked around with satisfaction, surprise and yes, some pride.  I still didn’t know what I was doing other than digging holes and plunking some colorful plants in a hole, but it did look pretty.  Then, I began to care about them.  It was a bit of sadness for me to see one of them not doing well, not thriving or growing well.   What was wrong?  Did I do something wrong?  Is there are bug problem, does the soil not have something?  Do I just need fertilizer?  

I had very little idea of what I was doing.  In a short time, I realized I needed to have more dirt then gravelly sand, most of the stones and rocks should be removed, and mulch served a purpose.  Initially, I planted things with color; reds, yellows and pinks stood out to me.   I had no idea what plants would do well or poorly in my area; what plants would come back every year?  Wouldn’t that make life easier to just have things sprout right back the following year?  Then I would not have to be on my knees every year digging, shaking plants from a plastic pot and tucking them into a hole, patting dirt around them, and hoping for the best.  I knew I didn’t like gardening while living at home with parents, siblings and grandmother, that was several years’ worth of KNOWING I didn’t like gardening.  

I began to add gardening soil and potting mix to the gravelly sand and improved that.  I discovered that fine chopped mulch is better at adding nutrients and dissolving into the soil.  And then, I didn’t like the weeds in competition with the flowers and their beauty, so I learned to pull them, save the flowers and my gardening knowledge grew a bit.  

And so my appreciation grew.  As much as I thought it a waste of time to watch my grandmother or mother be out gardening, weeding, I was doing the same.   I liked the cleaned bed, most weeds removed, the different colors of the flowers.  Other than digging a hole, plunking a colorful plant in and then weeding when necessary, most often depending on God to send the rain, I did little.  It was a blessing to me to look around and appreciate the bounty He provided.  

I had to seek my grandmother and mother’s advice.  They asked about bugs.  I didn’t see any bugs, then learned they might be tiny, tiny white or black dots on the leaves or stems, not necessarily a creepy, crawling bug or spider I can see moving about.  Then I learned about little snails, the benefit of worms, how compost has some beneficial nutrients that plants like.   

Well, as you can see my arrogance about having NO idea why someone would waste time gardening, weeding, grooming, and so forth turned into a past time I truly enjoyed.  And still do.  I am not very knowledgeable, but can usually recognize a weed and pull it; I still plant by colors, and I have a lot of bulbs tucked throughout that I look forward to seeing bloom each Spring, look forward to getting out in February and start putzing in the flowers and yard, wondering if I have to go to Lowes and purchase more.  

Anyway, bottom line is God created me to enjoy gardening (even though I had no thought to gardening until I was in my 20’s) as well as nursing, reading, writing, and studying the Bible.   He predestined me to enjoy those things and to be good at them.  He, the creator of all, determined me to have these abilities, to enjoy doing these activities.

The bible talks about God pruning us, getting rid of some of the stuff that is stunting or stilting our growth.  Pruning gets rid of damaged, dead, or diseased area of a plant, bush, tree, and the plant can then concentrate its efforts into growth and health.  Weeding takes out part of the problems that want to overrun your plants, steal the good soil and suffocate your plant.  A little bit of care, and God’s bounty shows off to all who appreciate what He has created.  

Lord, I thank You for guiding my steps and opening up new areas I thought adamantly were NOT for me, and giving me another gift to rest in Your beauty and care.  You know me so much better than I know me, and You have steadily walked with me and ‘mybellaviews.’