This week, I’ve invited my friend Shelley S. Cramm to be our guest blogger. I know you will love what she has to share. Shelley is the author of devotions for NIV God’s Word for Gardeners Bible, and has found the Word of God to be completely useful and practical in her everyday life—not to mention delightfully fun! Her background includes work in architectural and garden design, as well as involvement in a local Toastmasters International club, Bible study groups, Moms in Prayer, and Moms of Preschoolers ministries. Inspiration to write a gardener’s Bible grew out of a routine of morning journaling and an enduring hope to finish up the laundry and get out to the garden. Shelley and her husband Topher have five children and live in Irving, Texas. For more information, visit www.gardeninDelight.com.
As a garden writer, my favorite place to embrace and live out Positive Life Principles is in the garden, of course! The methodical pace of garden work seems to open up God’s ministry to my mind and moving forward in life, and God-sent glimpses of Scriptures or memories of Bible stories become my meditation. His Word breaks through mental burdens formed under the pressures of livelihoods or the sufferings of our loved ones to bring God’s hope, solace, and courage to carry on.
For example, recently I retreated to the backyard after our college daughter left for a summer camp job, one that will take her away for the whole season. I was prepared to mourn her loss when she left for freshman year, but now heartache unbalanced me all over again. Will I be undone with such sadness every summer? We have more children; will all their departures distress me like this? Ugh. What a terrible system, I moaned. I took my protest to the garden (of course), to prepare a new bed for onions, wailing and murmuring at the whole process of life changes, not unlike the Israelites in the Sinai Desert (Numbers 11:4-10).
While gathering the gumption to wrestle the work of turning over soil and mixing in compost (first requiring the overturn of my compost heap—another ugh!), a simpler task caught my attention. I’ll quickly plant my order of autumn crocus bulbs, the flowers that spring up after hot summers in the dry lands of the Bible.
The desert and the parched land will be glad; the wilderness will rejoice and blossom. Like the crocus, it will burst into bloom; it will rejoice greatly and shout for joy. Isaiah 35:1-2 NIV
I hunted for some pots to plant them in, amused through my sorrow as I realized that with my forgetfulness in watering pots, these will soon resemble the parched Promised Land! A small smile emerged and soon I remembered the joy God’s Word communicates in seeing a lifeless stretch of earth burst into bloom. Thoughts drifted to our daughter and the burst of life she embodies. Filled with dynamic beauty and enthusiasm, she brings energetic gladness wherever she goes. I thought about the families she would meet at camp, greeted by her joy…and in an instant I glimpsed her life’s charge, to bloom deserts! That is, to impart rejoicing into weary hearts. Suddenly I didn’t feel like crying any more. I was gently renewed, my heart built up in the thoughts of flowers soon to blossom and the beauty of our daughter’s budding life. The pots all planted, I left crying in the onion bed for another day.
In this manner, I have come to see my commonplace suburban plot set against the backdrop of the Bible lands; the garden I keep is common ground between my daily life and the epic tales of truth and wisdom in God’s Word, making the choice “to view life through the eyes of hope” an easy one!
Photo Caption: © 2012 Shelley S. Cramm Autumn crocus planted in pots bring Isaiah’s rejoicing! Isaiah 35:1-2 NIV
A portion of this blog was first published at www.gardenindelight.com/garden-gods-great-garden-stories/ on June 28, 2014.
For more on planting autumn crocus bulbs, see www.gardenindelight.com/plant-guide/autumn-crocus/
For more about her book, click here.