Life is a Garden
By Amanda Detweiler
I love gardening! Okay, let me rephrase that - I love the idea of gardening. I haven’t gotten to test whether or not I have a green thumb, but I love the thought of spending a lot of time out in nature, carefully cultivating beautiful spaces filled with wide arrays of colorful plants and flowers and growing my own fresh fruits and vegetables.
Being that we are in the middle of spring here in Pennsylvania, there is no direction you can turn that you won’t find people out working in their yards and farmers out tending to their fields. My morning commute brings me past a number of garden centers and plant nurseries with no shortage of beautiful plants to choose from. One of the garden centers I pass by has one of those changeable letter signs out by the road. They have had a phrase on it for the last several weeks, that I must have read about fifteen times now, but recently it struck me as more than just a clever advertisement.
The sign reads, “Life is a garden. Dig it! Let us help!” I thought to myself, that is such a true statement, life really is like a garden.
Life is full of beauty that needs to be tended to and at times brought out or even revived. Then, there are weeds in the form of relationships, past bondages, and daily hang-ups that need to be removed.
Thankfully, the garden of our lives is not being tended to by an amateur gardener like myself, but by THE expert garden Creator and Cultivator.
Jesus reveals the gardener to us in John 15 where He says, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener.”
If you have ever visited the home of a gardener or even a place like the 1,077 acre Longwood Gardens here in Pennsylvania, it is plain to see that gardening is most definitely not a haphazard hobby, rather it is a precise and intentional art form.
The same goes for the garden of our lives that our Father, the Gardener, works to carefully craft in each one of us.
Jesus continues on to tell us what our Father is working to cultivate in us.
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”
“If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.” (John 15:5, 7-8)
He concludes the illustration sharing with us God’s purpose for tending to our lives. It is so that, to the glory of God, we would bear much fruit that resembles and reveals His character.
Did you notice that His words are not exclusionary? That’s because every single one of us is here intentionally and to serve a purpose just like what is chosen to create the most beautiful and productive garden.
Throughout our lives He plants us right where we need to be when we need to be there. It is in those places that our roots can dig deep and we can grow and stretch, building our character and strengthening our foundation.
He carefully provides for our every need in perfect measure and timing so that we may flourish in our intended purposes breathing life and joy into the world around us.
When weeds spring up around us, He reveals them in order to be swiftly removed so that they may not hinder our growth or steal and destroy the fruit that has been produced. He prunes away what may feel right or look beautiful to us, including relationships, possessions, and places when they will ultimately hold us back and by doing so greater fruit bursts forth in its place.
The truth is, we don’t always feel like a fruitful garden that is being carefully tended to, as life brings us through various seasons of drought. We can feel more like the forgotten houseplant in the rarely visited guest bedroom. But, Jesus’ Word here is for every one of us and He says to become all that the Father has created us to be, we simply need to remain or, as it says in other translations, abide in Him.
The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit deeply desire to be active in our lives and partner with us as we grow and bear much fruit. So, whatever season you may be in right now, take the time to go and abide in the presence of Jesus and hear Him whisper to your heart, “Life is a garden. Dig it! Let me help!”
About the Author
Amanda is happily married to her wonderful husband, Josh, and is a mother to two amazing little boys. Together, Josh and she pastor a campus of Morningstar Fellowship in Pottstown, Pennsylvania and love being a part of that community. This is Amanda’s first venture in writing, but it has been a desire of her heart for a long time so, she is thrilled to have this opportunity. When she’s not writing, Amanda enjoys listening to various messages to grow her relationship with the Lord and spending time with her family and friends.
You can read Amanda's "Sunday Inspiration" column on the 1st Sunday each month here at Pandora's Box Gazette.