I come from a long line of gardeners and I probably should throw in farmers too because that was a basic part of my family’s heritage. My great, great, great grandfather migrated from Wales to the States and joined the Continental Army at age 16 to fight for our Independence. After the war he crossed over the Smokey Mountains and ended up owning land in Tennessee and he started farming and raising livestock and his wife planted a garden. She called it a kitchen garden and she grew everything in it that could be served for meals and “put up” for the winter. My great, great, great grandmother also grew flowers, planted fruit trees and basically landscaped the area around the house. Now this land in Tennessee is still in my family and cannot be sold, although my cousin is caretaker of the property no one farms it anymore but a few of the flowers still come up each year among the rock of the old landscaping. When I decided to plant a garden I journeyed down to the homestead and with the help of my great aunt dug up flowers from her gardens and also shoveled into trash bags some good rich dirt from the barns….not a pleasant smell driving home…but it would help my garden grow.

Once home the fun began and I laid out a plan for my kitchen garden and began landscaping around my home with the flowers I had dug up and adding that good rich dirt to my poor soil and before I knew it I had beautiful gardens growing. Each year I would add something new to it and enlarge them and my harvests were bountiful and lovely. My garden reached full maturity in about 5 years and it was beautiful.

Then came the flood….. in 2015 the creek flooded behind my home and washed everything away. The little decorative fencing, the shrubs I just planted and of course the flowers and good dirt and the mulch. It was all gone except for the bricks around my kitchen garden. I was heartsick and heartbroken because a lot of my plants had come from my great aunts home and she had passed away earlier that year. The flood was so bad I had to go stay with my daughter for a couple of weeks. Fortunately I lived in a mobile home and the flood took most of the skirting but it didn’t damage my home.

After the flood I decided to move to a different park to get away from the creek. I moved in January 2016 and because it was winter when I moved I couldn’t really take anything with me so come spring I had a new yard with nothing but an old tree in it. During this time I was struggling with Parkinson’s Disease and retiring out on disability from my job so my funds were rather limited. I had no idea what I could do in my yard with flowers, a few vegetables and a limited income. I didn’t even know if I wanted to bother with it again. I felt I was back in the depressive slump like when I first left the United Pentecostal Church and trying to work through the legalism and abuse.

Then I opened a box of books in my office and I saw a Bible and when I picked it up it opened to Genesis 2:8, “The Lord God planted a garden”….and His word penetrated my heart….and I knew I was going to rebuild and replant my garden even though I was still heartsick over the lost of my other garden.

I knew it was easier to quit than to commit to another plan and process but I would rebuild.  Sometimes the joy of today is destroyed by the joy of the past. But I couldn’t let myself be stuck in the past. I was going to choose joy and “rejoice in the Lord always” (Phil 4:4) just as I did before.

Although it was  easier to stay upset and hurt than forgive, I knew I needed to forgive the Park I moved from for refusing to pay for any of the damage that was caused by the flood….even though it was their fault by putting trees and leaves in the dry creek which caused it to channel the water straight to my home and gardens…so I forgave and moved on (Matt 5:23-24).

I chose to plan, prepare and plant passionately with the abundant life I had through Christ Jesus (John 10:10) and I worshiped God and praised Him continually as I replanted (Psalm 34:1). And God helped me with strength and finding bargains at the nurseries like never before. I continued to love my new garden and although it wasn’t as large as before it was coming together and was bringing beauty to my yard and spirit.  (1 Cor 13:8).

So I did rebuild and replanted and this year I will add more and enlarge my garden and I will finish well. By not giving up or giving in to the disaster, I succeeded by perseverance and my garden grew.  Just like my soul grew as I healed from spiritual abuse….and I finally found truth in Gods grace and mercy.

Romans 5:1-5 sums it up like this…”Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character, and character, hope.  Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”