Plant with Hope

Writing over at The Glorious Table today! I finally got into gardening just a little this year. Loved what that stirred up about God working hard out of our sight. Read below for a preview or link to the full post here.

I am now in my forties. For many years, I said that while my “ideal self” gardened, my real self never did. I’m not sure exactly what held me up. A few moves, worries about critters eating stuff, and probably more than a little intimidation fueled by inexperience. But this year, I finally did it. Not a full garden, but one tomato plant, one strawberry plant, and a pretty little shade garden I am excessively proud of.

I guess gardening is like a lot of other things that are initially intimidating. Once you try it and enjoy it, you want to do it more. Enter the lesson of the Japanese maple, the recent gardening project that reminded me about one of God’s more interesting (and challenging) strategies for our growth.

a hand holding a red Japanese maple leaf

You see, in addition to the shade garden I planted, there was another overgrown garden space established by previous residents. Reminiscent of Frances Hodgson Burnett’s “The Secret Garden”, you could see that it used to be beautiful but was overgrown with weeds after years of neglect. After a bit of thought and research, I decided it would be the perfect spot to plant a Japanese maple. But in my ignorance, I figured I would need to wait until the spring to plant it. After all, isn’t that when you plant stuff? When it’s prime time for sunshine, rain, and immediate growth?

Turns out Japanese maples are best planted in the late fall, specifically about a month before the ground freezes. Then you just have to ride out the winter in the hope that what is happening out of sight is preparing it for growth and beauty. Gosh, doesn’t that sound familiar?

I really don’t mean to be over-spiritualizing this, but after 25 years of walking with the Lord, I have seen this pattern repeating itself. God sometimes has a way of planting stuff just as it gets cold, harsh, and dark. And then, he works all kinds of magic “underground” to help us emerge strong, healthy, and vibrant in another season. So in the spirit of celebration, I want to share just a few examples here…

To read these examples and the remainder of the full post, link here.

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