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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Flowers (10/03/05)

TITLE: A Seaon in God's Garden
By Michelle Fout
10/07/05


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Father,
I ask for permission to get back into my garden. I have been so long away from it. The rose thorns are taking over, that little white flowered weed that pops its seed everywhere if you touch it, seems to have become the signature weed here. How can dirt grow rocks? When I get to heaven will you explain that one to me? There is so much work to be done. (sigh) I know Lord, work that is done in weeping produces a harvest of laughter. Youíve taught me that well.

Didnít she look so beautiful and didnít her groom look magnificent? It was straight out of a picture book Father! Their faces like bright sunflowers beaming liquid gold at us from the window frame of the limousine. That was my harvest day Lord, the day of laughter and sunshine and wine and song after a long weary season of sowing and removing rocks. I still donít know how you can do this Lord, loving people who donít want to be loved and youíve done it from the beginning of time!

For me it was just three short years ago when I was the wicked step-mom and she the ungrateful step-child, a bed of rocks and poor soil between us and neither of us much interested in the work. Until the day of the wedding I didnít understand why you kept me in that garden of rocks and weeds. So many times I wanted to give up on getting that garden bed of our relationship cleaned up and fertile. I had no idea how sweet the fragrance of victory through perseverance would be but you did. Thank you for insisting that I continue pulling each weed, you were right and I was wrong. It was all worth it.

I understand now why you forget our sins. I donít want to remember the tears and the fighting between her and I anymore than you do. I donít want to stain what we have now with what it used to be and canít be anymore. It would feel like putting weeds back into a freshly turned garden bed. I want to enjoy the work you have done in my heart Lord, and in hers. I want to smell the fragrance of your Spirit as it tumbles over this new soil and watch the buds beginning to open.

Father, I know now this garden I am standing in doesnít represent me. I used to think it did. I spent so much time out here and resented it when someoneís needs pulled me away from it. Then You showed me your garden God. Filled with people, needs with deep roots, you showed me how to nurture stubborn transplants until they couldnít resist the soil of your love any more. You took care of me too, filling me with your living water, not letting me run dry, sufficient grace for myself and for those in my care.

I thank you Father for filling my garden with Your flowers, for helping me to see what was most important. So many lessons in that garden Lord, what a season of labor and love! But your Son learned that lesson too, didnít He? He had his own rocky garden to work, that required sweat, tears, blood and rejection. Thank you, Jesus, for not giving up. Thank you for giving me my season to love the unlovely in your garden. Help me to walk with you there often. Even as I ask for permission to return to this puny little earthly thing, I will cherish the time spent with you, both there and here. I will remember Lord, which of my flower gardens is most important.


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Member Comments
Member Date
Anita Neuman10/10/05
I love that 4th paragraph. What a beautiful lesson in forgiveness. If I could suggest anything for improvement, it would be to tighten your focus - your analogy seemed a little broad, perhaps trying to incorporate several ideas into one piece. But your writing itself flows nicely - engaging descriptions and well-crafted sentences. Keep up the good work!
B Brenton10/11/05
That's great. I never thought to look at it like that - but it's all there in the bible. Nice analogy. Nice devotional. I really do love it. Thanks.
Jeffrey Snell10/12/05
What an excellent prayer! Thanks for allowing us to share in your experience and your insights. I appreciate your metaphors. Good job maintaining a steady balance in describing feelings toward the earthly garden and the spiritual one, particularly the relationship with the step-daughter.