The Perfect Gardener

The Perfect Gardener

I am a friend of the weeds. I know that weeds, when being used as metaphors for life, are always referred to negatively—whether it be the negative thoughts we let take root in our minds, or the negative people we let remain planted in our lives—weeds are rarely referred to as a good thing.

But I want to change that.

I’m the daughter of two gardeners. Not only are they gardeners, but they are dreamers. I have heard a lot about weeds during my 22 years of life, and, well, a lot about every plant, for that matter. But what I find fascinating, time and time again, is the positivity that escapes the lips of my parents when they reference the unwanted flowers. Yes, I called them unwanted flowers, not weeds.

Because it is important to remember that what we think is ugly has the potential to be beautiful, too. It just may not be the beauty we had expected.

The term unwanted flower means so much more to me than the term weed. Here’s why: when I think of the “weeds of life,” I think of the plans that have been shattered, the dreams that did not come true, and the heartbreak that was experienced. When I think of these things as weeds, the story ends there. No beauty, no redemption, no restoration, no life. Only shattered plans, lost dreams, and broken hearts. When I think of these things as unwanted flowers, I am reminded that there is still beauty to be found in them. I am reminded that though I did not want to experience them, they were necessary. Because of them, new things bloomed: beauty, redemption, restoration, life. Were they unwanted? Yes. But did they still matter, and did something beautiful still come from them? Yes.

An unwanted flower.

The heartbeat of nature is only a whisper. A gentle reminder that the things untouched by the world are not in a hurry. And I would go as far as to say that the weeds are the strongest voices of that whisper. When nature is loud, we run. When nature is loud, we hide. When a storm is brewing, we take cover in our basements and hope it will go quiet. When the rain falls, we flee from it and create a safe haven within the corners of our home. We flee to find some form of peace in the midst of the storm—to find any ounce of quiet. When the sun shines once more and we leave our homes to survey the aftermath of the storm, what do we see? The beautiful flowers we planted in our pots and in our gardens have been tipped over and uprooted. But the weeds? There they stand, tall, proud, and beautiful. The flowers we plant can’t always handle the rain when it comes. The weeds are smart enough to know that the rain is their friend. And they continue to bloom with this wisdom.

When I make plans for my life, I often get too obsessed with them. I start to plant them in pretty pots and display them for all to see. I walk around my garden and point out the beautiful plans I have planted. “Look at that one, that’s me five years from now. Isn’t she lovely? Or look over there, that’s me in a few months, isn’t that exciting?”

But sometimes, the rain comes. And sometimes, we have to surrender our plans to the storm. And I’m sorry to say this, but sometimes, God allows our gardens to be destroyed. Not because He doesn’t love us, but because He is the Perfect Gardener. And I promise you, He has something much more beautiful in mind.

Jesus used the most unlikely people to do the most extraordinary things. He didn’t call the kings, the leaders, and the fancy officials to follow Him. No, He called the fishermen. He called the tax collector—a man who was hated by everyone. He called a man He knew would ultimately betray Him. And if Jesus did all these things, what makes you think He will not make something out of the weeds He has allowed to grow in your garden? Because it is true, the weeds were not what you expected. The weeds were not what you had planned. But Jesus likes to do things differently.

From my experience, His vision for my garden has always been more beautiful than mine. His choice in weeds and flowers and greenery has been better than what I originally planted there.

The unwanted flowers survive the storm. And even though we would have never thought to intentionally plant a weed in our garden, I promise you that Jesus has placed them there for a divine purpose. To protect our hearts, to redirect our steps, to open our eyes to beauty we never would have seen in our own strength… the possibilities are endless.

The more time I spend in the garden, and the more time I spend around the two gardeners who raised me, the more I am reminded of the beauty of the unwanted flowers. And when I am reminded of these things on Earth, I am reminded of how much greater God’s plans are for my garden of life. I am reminded that He loves the unwanted flowers. I am reminded that He has placed them there with beauty in mind. Because even though I never imagined my garden would look like this, I cannot escape the realization that even here, in the aftermath of the storm, it is still beautiful.

Here’s to embracing the unexpected. Here’s to welcoming the weeds as friends.

Verses:

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” – Isaiah 55:8-9, ESV

“For you shall go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and the hills before you shall break forth into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress; instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle; it shall make a name for the Lord, an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.” – Isaiah 55:12-13, ESV

The Girl in the Willow

The Girl in the Willow

The girl in the willow was a dreamer.

Climbing as high as she could go, she memorized every nook and cranny of that beautiful and old tree.

The girl in the willow was excited for all that life could and would be.

When she reached the peak and broke through the treetops, her heart was elated at the abundant land, adventure, and opportunity that was spread out before her.

The girl in the willow danced with the wind when it came.

Descending from the shaking branches, she grabbed hold of its vines, immersing herself into the jungle of the tree. She took its hand and accepted its offer to dance, reminding us that even the things that move to destroy us can be embraced with a heart ready to overcome.

The girl in the willow never wanted to leave.

But change comes as quickly as the wind, and beauty is as fleeting as spring.

However, that girl knew there was beauty to behold, and life yet to live, on the other side of the willow tree.

That girl is you, it’s her, she’s me.

Beauty, Purpose, Gardens

Beauty, Purpose, Gardens

I asked God to give purpose and beauty to my life.

But gardens aren’t beautiful until they’ve felt the rain. Until they’ve lived under the storm clouds for a while.

And gardens grow weeds. A term tossed around so negatively but one containing much more than we might originally think.

Weeds are viewed as annoying conquerors—pesky things that overtake the beauty of our gardens.

But what if I reminded you that some of the most beautiful flowers can be considered weeds? Dandelions, forget-me-nots, daisies—yes, even these.

Because the term “weed” is not the definition of the flower but the definition of the location in which it’s growing.

Yes, gardens grow weeds. They multiply and they overtake the beauty one had intended to be there. But over and over again, I am reminded that God loved the weeds so much that He decided to make flowers out of them.

He has a tendency to take the ugly and make it beautiful.

And the rain comes. Some days it sprinkles and others it pours. But I am reminded by the flowers that what we think is drowning us is actually breathing life into us.

I am reminded to be thankful for the rainy seasons. I am reminded that the sun shines on the other side. I am reminded that the only possible outcome of the rain is to grow and eventually bloom.

In each season, He meets us where we are. He holds us during the storm and He makes beauty out of the weeds.

Yes, I asked God to give purpose and beauty to my life. And He showed me the beauty in the growing season. The beauty in the “not knowing” season. The beauty in the waiting.

The beauty in who He is.

Because no matter the circumstances, He is still good.

So, I’ll take a step into the rain. Let it remind me that not all gloomy days are bad.

Verses:

“For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the things for which I sent it.” – Isaiah 55:10-11, ESV

“The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” – 2 Peter 3:9, ESV