July Growth

So many individuals, entire nations, states within the U.S. and certainly most reading this are feeling the pain of no, slow or difficult growth.

Many have lost jobs, are really having to tighten up, start over, figure out how to survive much less grow and bloom in the present time.

The heat has been nearly unbearable and like the job market, has caused a great deal of pain.

But if "all things work together for good for those who love God", might we not seek and notice His provision in the midst of such times?

Is there anything of value, or beauty, any sort of growth happening?

Tonight I stepped outside, the temperature mercifully dropped a bit, a cooler wind blew in off of Lake Michigan and the sun shone in glory off our community garden!

I have like so many, learned a great deal about life through gardening.

My Wendi grows wonderful flowers of all sorts and we have been so blessed by their smiles season after season.

But as any gardener knows, it takes a fair bit of work. That is, unless you are almighty God and you grow things as only God can.

After Cornerstone Festival I took a few outward-bound trips around the property and came upon a couple very large clumps of wild roses. They were astoundingly beautiful!

The roses and various other wonderful flowers growing right near the mobile home our family has stewarded over the years were mostly planted by Wendi, myself and my daughters.

My good wife has read (and owns) a good long shelf full of books about plants and flowers and how to grow them in our climate, complete with special tips and so on.

She finds them online or at various stores or nurseries, we select various types and colors and buy them at the best possible price (patience for the great sales helps). Then she decides where to plant what, we get out the tools and after tending the soil, mixing the dirt, sand and nutrients, fertilizer and etc., I do most of the digging 🙂

Sometimes the evil deer come by and snack on our hostas… but otherwise we've done pretty well because she takes a real interest and puts in the time to do the gardening correctly.

Further, planting each type in a space best suited for it- sun or shade or a mix, proper watering and of course, weeding and using the proper insect repellent, all of this goes into our lovely garden.

We take lots of pictures of our flowers and just sit and admire them as they bloom.

I must admit, there are times of the year they are plain, dormant, nearly disappearing and sometimes fully buried under snow, ice or leaves.

At times they get pretty beat up from the weather.

Looking at those plots in certain seasons, you'd think the ground held no life at all.

This reminds me of myself, of others, of so many people in the spiritual sense.

Just when you think they'd flower they've been bitten off, bent or broken by the wind, or sometimes seem quite dead and even non-existent.

Other times certain types will spring up and outshine the larger, supposedly "more beautiful" flowers or plants they're surrounded by.

We have learned to create critter-proof (nearly) fences. We've learned to tie up or stake out certain varieties so they're able to stand and stay healthy against hard rain and rough weather.

So many lessons, so many beautiful blooms and memories. Such expectation and amazement each new season as our garden springs to wonderful life!

So I hope you'll enjoy a few shots from a garden a good friend or two have planted here at JPUSA. As I snapped these tonight I was reminded of our garden and so many others that loving gardeners have patiently worked with… and that's how growth happens.

Enjoy your summer!



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