You see this adorable baby? Her name is Tucker.
She’s the love of my life and one of my greatest teachers.
I’m not the wealthiest person ever, but have very expensive hobbies. One of them being gardening. Flowers ain’t cheap! We have a section of yard I like to call, “The Hill.” It’s not beautiful, but for the past couple of years, I’ve dreamt of it being just overflowing with colorful flowers. I imagine it being a place of prayer or long conversations with friends. A place that just smells and feels good to be in. However, that takes some moneys. So, usually it looks halfway hideous and halfway kinda cute. You do what you can.
One of my strategies is repurposing flowers from one area to another to boost the color factor. This is something I did this weekend. I moved four plants to the Hill and mixed in some plant food and fresh soil for good measure. Boy, am I sorry I did that.
Plant food has delicious things like: fish remains, blood (how?), meat leftovers… things that dogs find irresistible. How do I know?
The morning after I planted them, I stepped outside to observe their progress. They were gone! In their place were big holes with plant food up for the taking.
Tuckerrrrr. Annoyed, I replanted them and prayed that the trauma of two replantings wouldn’t be the end of these repurposed flowers.
I leave for a bit, come back, and they’ve been dug up again! The annoyance was growing, but how can you be annoyed at this face?
Well, the day after I re-re-re-plant them, I come home from church to find that they had all been uprooted AGAIN from their new homes. And Tucker had some fiendish fish breath.
A surge came over me. I looked into Tucker’s eyes and she knew she had done wrong. She ran into the house and plopped down on her bed as I RE-planted my now half eaten, traumatized, repurposed plants. My thoughts were everywhere, That stupid, idiotic dog. These are all going to die and I’ll be back at square one. I should’ve never planted these back here. Why did I use that plant food? What was I thinking??
I walked into the house and looked at my guilty dog laying on her bed. Gah. I was so angry, but realized being mad at her wouldn’t help the situation. She wouldn’t comprehend the connection so long after her sinful (in my opinion) act. All that’s left to do is love.
Well, guess what. I went to work on Monday, came back, and were the plants in their homes? NO.
Oh, let me tell you, the defeat that washed over me as I looked at the holes in the ground, the practically dead plants kicked to the side; the smell of fish coming off the breath of my excited dog. It was all just a little too much.
However, the Lord did a miraculous thing. He popped the question in my head, Lord, what are you teaching me through this?
I know that couldn’t have come naturally from me. Yet, there it was. I pet my dog and spoke kindly to her. I took the hose, walked over to my flowers, and slowly began re-planting each one. And look at my beautiful garden!!
Is that beautiful or what?
Let me tell you the lesson God imprinted on me as I was packing dirt around each one of these destroyed plants: God never tires or grows angry as He replants.
Every day, we wake up a mess and He speaks kindly to us. We find ourselves drawn to harmful patterns that stunt the growth of what God is doing in us. He plants; we dig up. He packs in dirt; we paw it away. He waters; we take the whole plant out of the hole and toss it into the blazing sun. Anyone other than God would have scrapped the garden and pummeled us.
Praise God for His patience! He has always, always been faithful. First to Israel, and now to the world. As we live, God gently brings us under Him and we grow in wisdom. We look more like Him. We grow in beauty. God understands our weakness and He loves us anyways. He’s able to because of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection. I’m astounded and grateful for the steadfast patience of God.