Each of us has a garden within us, a garden much like that of Eden. I had something similar to a vision about my own garden. I wasn’t asleep, but it was a like a dream, so real that I could smell the freshly turned soil, hear the sound of birds singing, the trickling of a brook and the crunching of gravel on the path where I walked. I could see the multitude of colors throughout that massive garden. I could feel the rough pattern of the tree trunk where I leaned. I could taste the subtle sweetness of dew in the air.
I was knelt, patting down the soil around a wildflower that had been trampled by a visitor. I felt more than heard the Lord walk up behind me as I wept over the careless destruction of something so dear to me, praying for its restoration. He placed His hand on my shoulder and knelt beside me. Of course my attention was no longer on that flower, but on the love I saw in His eyes for me.
“Come. Take a walk with Me.”
We walked down a gravel path and He easily steered me around the Jonquils and Lilies and Roses that grew in the way. Of course He knew where each grew; He was the Gardener who planted each one by His own perfect design for me. I am fearfully and wonderfully made in the image of my Father.
We walked over hills where spices grew in abundance. The odd combination of freshly grown, mixed spices and Gardenias tickled my nose. We walked through a forest of flowering trees and shrubs. We stopped for a drink from the brook. The clear, cool water sparkled in the sun and the sound of its running over rocks in its path was music to my ears. Cardinals and Bluebirds danced in the branches of Mimosa and Dogwood. Hummingbirds flitted by and drank from the bright red flowers that grew along the bank. We walked a little way upstream and around a bend. I was surprised by the sight of an indescribably beautiful waterfall.
“Why would one take heed to such a small flower when they cannot see the more obvious beauty that is here?”
Behind that waterfall was a huge vineyard where we leaned over a fenceline and picked grapes. We sat down and ate them together, watching small clouds drift by and squirrels scampering through fallen leaves. One stopped to stare at us, teasing us with the acorn in his mouth ... as though either of us wanted it. We laughed together and I rested my head for a while on the Lord’s shoulder. Then, we walked back to the place where I’d been repairing the trampled flower. But it was lost in a great quilt of wildflowers.
“Not by your hands, but by My Spirit.”
There was a big, iron gate at the edge of the garden. A man stood to one side of the gate, not looking into the garden, but rather flicking away a gnat from his lapel, pulling on his coat sleeves to straighten them, smoothing back his hair, and then standing with his hand on his hip, as though he were waiting for someone quite expectantly. There was mud on his shoes. But he didn’t appear to even notice.
Another stood peering over the gate. Of course he couldn’t see far as most of the depths of the garden are hidden behind trees. But he must have caught a scent or heard a sound in the wind. Or perhaps he tasted the sweetness of dew, because he stood there peering in, not sure whether he wanted to walk through that gate or not.
My vision ended there. Or perhaps a dream began there. It took me a few days to figure out the implications. But I found them plain and clear in the Song of Solomon 8:12(a) NIV But my own vineyard is mine to give.
Song of Solomon 8:13-14 You who dwell in the gardens with friends in attendance, let me hear your voice! Come away, my lover, and be like a gazelle or like a young stag on the spice-laden mountains.
I have been blessed with a multitude of dear friends whom I cherish so much. They walk with me. Sometimes we sit on each others porches and share our hearts over a cup of coffee. Don’t we, Peggy? Sometimes we soak our feet in the stream and laugh like little girls. Don’t we, Sherry? I have a circle of friends that mean so much to me and that I’m so thankful for. And they take heed to things that seem small to the human eye, but that they know are precious to me. My vineyard is my own, but I choose to open my gates to them.
The Lord is ever present in my garden, teaching me and guiding me through the paths called Life. Many stand outside my gates. Perhaps some want to enter because they see in the distance a gazelle running over spice-laden hillsides. Perhaps some want to enter because they smell the scent of a Rose. Perhaps some want to enter because they are intrigued by the sight of such a massive landscape. But my vineyard remains my own. And though the gates are opened easily, not all who walk through will remain.
I thank God today for my forever-friends. I thank Him for the laughter of my grandchildren that rings across the hilltops and echoes through the valleys. I thank Him for the savory fruit of my children’s love and my mother’s warm embrace. And I thank Him for the picture He painted of me ... the garden within, planted and arranged, knit together while I was in my mother’s womb.
It is a place of tranquility and unique beauty. It is a place I choose to share with both those who can appreciate it and with those who cannot. Perhaps those who cannot will leave my gates with a Word that will come back to them on a day when their own flowers are being carelessly overlooked and trampled. Perhaps not. The will of God is absolutely perfect and He works all things together for good to me.
Today, I sit among the shade trees and rest, reflecting upon lessons learned, love and friendship, hopes and dreams, as I let dead dreams die and yesterday slip away. Tomorrow is not promised except that I have eternity in His presence. But I have now. And what I do with now is a choice, just as it is my choice to give from the fruit of my vineyard or to refrain from giving.
I want to live in another paradise for eternity and eat from another vineyard. So I sit here today in prayer for guidance, the wisdom to know better whom I should give to and just how much I should give, for the discernment to know the difference between one who can and cannot appreciate the handiwork of God that is me. I pray for the health of the fruit of my vineyard, that there be no bitter fruit in the vineyard that is my own.
I don't know how I missed this gem...it is truly a beautiful, refreshing, yet tranquil work of art with the Holy Spirit's breath of life all over it. Thank you so much for listening to Him and sharing it with us. We love you and I for one wanna write just like you! Although I never will - LOL! Love always in Christ,
Wow! What a beautiful picture of the relationship between God and His child. Yes, we are called to fear the Lord and be reverent. But we are also called to have an intimate relationship with Him. Where we can walk, talk, and even lay our head on His shoulder. This entire message is a revelation, but that intimate relationship with God is what hit me closest to home. Thank you for this blessing. I am sorry it has taken me so long to get back on track with my friends here. I have missed all your writings. Keep serving. God bless. In Christ, Christian
Many times you've invited me in your own vineyard, and I was deeply honored to walk there with you. I felt so comfortable knowing we have the same Master Gardener. Your gentle and quiet spirit, your joy and wisdom and deep faith inspire me in my own journey of faith. Love you lots, Gloria
God bless you, keep you, and continue to use you here and abroad to encourage and empower souls from the rising of the sun till the going down of the same. May this year be all that you have dreamed it would be. Thank You for your writings; Past, Present and Future, they all speak to the NOW. They are a great blessing.
Now you know I'll sit there and splash in that brook with you every chance I get. As always, you've produced another work of art. I love the visual of walking with the Lord in the garden. And I will walk in yours as long as you allow. I'm honored that I'm invited.
Dear Treava... I am so blessed to be part of your Vineyard! It is here that we all open up to God TOGETHER - a group of loving people who deeply care about our Lord and about one another. This message is exquisite - we can feel the close connection to our Father and picture walking with Him throughout our own 'vineyards'. Yes, may all who visit us there take away the Love of the Lord! God bless you, dear friend! Love, Peggy
"So I sit here today in prayer for guidance, the wisdom to know better whom I should give to and just how much I should give, for the discernment to know the difference between one who can and cannot appreciate the handiwork of God that is me."...Well, Joyce, I am sure that God has given you the wisdom in this case as to whom you should share your wonderful garden. You invited us to walk that gravel path, down through the meadows with the wildflowers. You refreshed our souls with the drink at the brook and the talk with the Lord. We watched the sassy squirrel with you....This was a most delightful walk...Now as we begin work on our own gardens, we will think of this walk. (Although I am not a gardener, and my husband, who was, can no longer garden.) Thanks for sharing your devotion with us...God richly bless you...Helen