The Cross in the Garden

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Although I have a very small yard, I do have a tiny garden beside my tiny front porch. This morning the jasmine in the garden is in full bloom filling the air with sweet jasmine perfume. The tiny water feature is making gentle water sounds that relax and heal, as rippling water tends to do. A bird is splashing around in the birdbath, the flowers are blooming, and the ferns are swaying in Macon’s gentle breeze. A large iron Celtic cross leans on the tallow tree, always reminding me where my faith comes from.

Now there is an issue with the iron cross in the garden. It falls over all the time. No matter how deep I place it in the soil, it falls over. Being an ardent tree lover, I refuse to nail the cross to the tallow tree. So it continues to fall over and I continue to prop it up.

Perhaps, as a symbol of faith, it’s appropriate that the cross falls over. My faith falls over all the time, and just as I continually prop up the cross in my garden, the Creator props my faith back up every time it falls.

I think of the Psalms where we read so many words of God’s help and protection as in Psalm 118.

I was pushed hard, so that I was falling,
but the Lord helped me.

The Lord is my strength and my might;
he has become my salvation.

— Psalm 118:13-14 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

 
Like the cross in the garden, I might fall over a time or two on my journey. That’s okay, because I know a God who props me up, holds me up, lifts me up, raises me up!

Thanks be to God.

The Peace of God

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Anxiety overrules contentment. In fact, anxiety can easily have its way in our lives, making a shambles of all that we have accomplished. We humans spend a great deal of time building our comfortable nests, making life a positive experience.

I am expending my energy on my flower garden. It’s filled with ferns and flowers that give me positive energy. I can breathe deeply in my garden, exhaling all the cares and toils that come my way. I am happy in my garden, and it is a place of solitude and peace.

Anxiety can wreck it for me, so I do all that I can to hold anxiety at bay. There are several things that make me anxious, including my health and the possibility of a kidney transplant. But anxiety adds nothing good to my life. Instead, I work hard to fill my spirit with peacefulness. It is the peace of God that guards my heart and mind.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:6-7 NIV

Peace in the Garden

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More and more these days, I search for soul work, for activities that feed my soul and sooth my spirit. Gardening is that kind of work for me. I so enjoy watching plants peak bravely through the ground with a new shoot of joy. There is peace in the presence of a garden.

What a glorious day yesterday was! The sun was shining. The breeze blew gently throughout the day. It was a wonderful day to shop for plants, and even more wonderful to plant them.

A small garden now graces the front of my house. I will love watching it grow and thrive. I will love the sense of peace it brings. I love that nature’s beauty is all around me.

Now I have a responsibility to the garden. It won’t grow well without my care . . . watering, weeding, cutting back, feeding. But it’s not work. It’s true pleasure to tend a garden spot.

Alfred Austin speaks of the glory of gardening. He says it like this: “hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature. To nurture a garden is to feed not just the body, but the soul.”

So I will be spending peace time in the garden this year. It is indeed a therapeutic way to spend my days.