Tuesday, June 02, 2009

A Garden's Secret


"One day you will wonder how you could have resisted your Father's kindness for so long and at such cost."

Bruce Wilkinson, Secrets of the Vine

A narrow, sunlit garden path wound beside the humble ranch home. The leading of the little lane found at its joyful end a simple garden gate, covered with English ivy and crowned by an arbor of oaks, so dense one could stand under and be untouched by drops of rain or rays of balmy sun. Honeysuckle was profuse. Its scent provided pause, but proved unable to sustain the curiosity of the world lain behind the ivy port that beckoned an open, a push, and a deep breath at the glimpse beyond of gathered green, a bricked cottage porch, screened from old, the enduring sweet fragrance of honeysuckle vines mixed with earthy ivy, and the perfume of blooming hostas. All enveloped the garden portal. All gave summons to the curious dweller, cottager, or caller who found the mystery of spring and beauty of God's good grace too much to refuse.

Two ways went from the entrance. One routed right to the modest little porch; the other, a path of worn cobblestones, leaned gently onward under a blooming dogwood and stopped at the edge of a grassy yard, which opened to a world of grand, blossoming magnolias, day lilies, sunny yellow daffodils, tall irises that were proudly pink, peonies, profusely poised near roses, climbing vines, diverse herbs and hosts of annuals. Cannas awaited to awaken their spring voice with their purple leaves and fearless red flowers, while birds flew, chipmunks darted, and squirrels climbed.

Dawdling amongst the little lawn, lingering under lofty trees, and idling beside beauteous blooms, I grasped God's good gifts. Praise pommeled my heart. The voice of the Creator burst forth within me just as flora and fauna gave life and breath to a square little spot beyond an old rusty garden gate. What joy! What peace! What wonder! What quiet victory dwelt there in that perfectly imperfect portion of life! And, oh, what lessons were there in God's sanctuary, His habitat, His home, His abode, my simple slice of heaven!

Before that garden, there had been none other. Graycroft was my first. My soul was therefore wide open to its teaching. And when God spoke, I heard, I held, I hovered, I heaped His precious treasures and gathered them in my heart, so my joy would remain. And it did. It does. Even now. It has stayed. Has fixed my spirit on God's store. Set my heart with value for which I'd never had sufficient thought.

The songs of nature, May's flowers, snows of December, October's pumpkins, rains of August, the days' twilights, the sun's golden risings and amber settings, the miraculous stripes of rainbows, whispering winds, thunderous storms, majestic mountains, glowing marshes, fields of wild flowers, mighty oceans, vast seas, somber streams, clamorous waterfalls, babbling brooks, quiet woods, diminishing days speak. All bring me to quick praise of the one, true God, Who was, and Is, and Ever shall be.

He is the God of Genesis, the Creator of man, the Maker of marriage, the Whirlwind of prophets, the Song of the Psalms, the Shepherd of David, the Deliverer of Daniel, the Babe in the manger, the Healer of blind, sick, and lame, the Dominie of His disciples, Feeder of five thousand, the Lord of the harvest, the Sender of the Holy Spirit, the Savior of Saul, the Redeemer of all, the Son of Man, Son of God, Giver of life, Lamb that was slain, Light of the World, Word of Life, the Author of our faith, and the Finisher of our race. And He is with us all and in us all! Praise His glorious Name that is above all others!

With each view of God's creation and each word of His counsel, my heart yields praise and thanksgiving. I pause to give Him glory for nature's goodness. And if I desire to walk in obedience, I must praise Him for more, in everything, that of beauty, and that of pain and affliction. Somehow, a few brief years with a cottage garden I had not sown, brought to life a path to praise for the sweet details of life and the depth of love of our Creator. My soul enriched, I found a new beginning and a journey to a life of real worship. His gift to me was not just a bountiful blessing of blossoms, greens, trees, cobblestones, vines, and a porch swing, but a stony road of faith in His faithfulness, a winding way of peace in His calling, a precious walk with my Master in His own fragrant garden, and the pleasure of being His own vine that He prunes, waters, and cultivates with His mighty hands. Yes, His path, for my life, whether a graceful garden or lonely wilderness, must be my sacrifice of praise to Him.

"By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, And by the breath of His mouth all their host. He gathers the waters of the sea together as a heap; He lays up the deeps in storehouses. Let all the earth fear the Lord; Let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him. For He spoke, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast" (Psalm 33:6-9).

"For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities-- all things have been created by Him and for Him" (Colossians 1:16).





I am very humbled to have received this award from Jo. She has a beautiful blog. It is, indeed, uplifting. Jo's blog is a place where you can sit down with a cup of tea and read and explore with delight. Please check out her sight and express your kind regards to her for being a blessing to all. http://www.abritintn.blogspot.com/

Along with the award, the following words are to be passed on to bloggers who are very inspiring and work hard to create a beautiful place for all who visit them.

"The Uplifting Blogger Award, goes to fellow bloggers who visit frequently and raise my spirits with their kind words of encouragement, their beautiful images and their wonderful outlook on life. They make blogging a positive experience and continue to make my life richer."

It is very difficult for me to choose particular ones for this sweet award. All are uplifting. All give encouraging words and post lovely images, and all have made my life richer and have drawn me nearer to my Lord and Savior. Each one inspires me. Their kindness, dedication, and gracious comments and posts bless my life with much joy and comfort.


A few of these women of courage are listed below. Please take a few moments to visit them. They are truly inspiring ladies who love God and do their best to enrich our lives.

Cori at www.gingerbreadcrumbsandcompany.blogspot.com

Elaine at www.peaceforthejourney.blogspot.com

Karen at www.hallelujahanyhow.blogspot.com

Kim at www.thevictorianparlor.blogspot.com

Lady M at www.ladymslavendercottage.blogspot.com

Lidj at www.mla-crownofglory.blogspot.com

Miss Jen at www.blessedfemina.blogspot.com

Mrs. Teapot at www.blossomingwhereiamplanted.blogspot.com


Thank you, God, for sweet friends, hot tea, and Your grace to share.

22 comments:

  1. Andrea, What a beautiful post! What a blessing. Thank-u for sharing this. Hope you have a great day! Blessings, Faye

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  2. Oh Andrea, your blog is truly uplifting.

    Everytime I stop by, I leave with a greater understanding of the love you have for Our Savior, Jesus Christ. I thank you for taking the time to write and express yourself with the talent given to you by Our Creator.

    It is such a joy to stop by :-)

    Thank you dear friend for the award.

    God bless,

    lady m

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  3. Dear Andrea,

    I close my eyes, and I am there. Under the oak trees, amidst the honeysuckle being intoxicated by its fragrance. And yes, I too was beckoned to enter. I gasp at the beauty of God's wonderful creation all laid before me to drink in.

    Thank you for sharing and painting such beautiful imagery with your words. Yes, I will give Him my sacrifice of praise whether in a graceful garden or a lonely wilderness, yes.

    From one enraptured soul to another,
    Mrs. Teapot

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  4. Dear Andrea,
    I have been blessed to know you chose my blog as one of the places where you have been uplifted. Thank you for your kind words. It is wonderful to know the Lord can use His children to glorify Him in many ways, both great and small.

    At times I feel so isolated, but the Lord knows our thoughts and answers the desires of our hearts as He pleases. I can't tell you how blessed I have been by meeting you and other godly women which the Lord has used to encourage me along the way. Thank you for allowing Christ's light to shine through you. May He continue to give you wisdom for His glory.

    Mrs. Teapot

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  5. I've not been in long from working in our yard and small garden spots and your post evokes many of my senses and reasons why I love gardens. You have such a lovely way of stringing together your words into the most delightful and colorful sentences.

    Congratulations on the Uplifting Blogger award - you are so deserving Andrea. I look forward to checking out your list as Elaine is the only blog I recognize.

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  6. What a beautiful blog as always! Isn't it wonderful to enjoy all that God has for us in nature to enjoy? What breathtaking beauty he has placed around us for us to soak in. He is such a Master Designer and oh the joy in my heart that is unspeakable at times for his awesome works!!

    Have a beautiful day today!

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  7. Dearest Andrea,
    What a lovely post, as always I am
    refreshed and renewed by visiting you!!
    Oh my... I am SO honored and touched by this award!!!!!!!! What a surprise and sweet blessing of rich encouragement!! I am ever so happy that we have met through the blogging world to encourage one another in the art of beautifulfemininity and Biblical Womanhood!!!! *hugs*

    With Much Love~ Jen

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  8. The picture reminded me of "The Secret Garden"...a favorite book of mine. But your words drew a picture much more beautiful than the garden in that story...you, dear sister, truly have the gift of uplifting others to see the grace and majesty of their Saviour. I would imagine the anointed words you share with others, in turn bless you as they are inspired by the Lord.

    You are most kind in passing on this award and I am humbled that you have been encouraged by my blog. It is an honor to be your friend.

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  9. Andrea,

    I have tears in my eyes as I read this. You are too kind and I humbly thank you for your gracious words and this award. Your blog has been a place of refuge for me where I can find beauty and peace in the Lord. Although we live so many miles apart I feel as if you are a dear old friend and a gift from God. God is in my heart and you always find a way to stir that love with your words:). Thank you so much for making my life and my walk with God more speical. I have a good friend visiting this weekend who is great with computers-I am hoping she can get the award posted on my blog-it has never worked for me:)

    Blessings,

    Kim

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  10. Andrea,
    Aweeeeee.
    Lovely lovely post.
    A breath of fresh air.

    I look forward to reading your devotional that you will have published very soon!
    Please...XULON PRESS?

    Blessings,
    ~Deanna~

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  11. Isn't it amazing that with all this technology, it's still connecting "old fashioned" people like us who just prefer to enjoy life in the garden and a nice afternoon over a cup of tea. God is so good to give us a way to connect with others whom we would never have met without this medium. Thanks Andrea for the beautiful post.

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  12. Hello Andrea,
    I'm without words at your graciousness! THANK YOU! I read your comment this afternoon while at work and was so blessed that you chose me for another award. Especially one that's about inspiration because I don't feel inspirational at all. Just the opposite in fact. So thank you for your kindness :).

    God bless!

    PS your story about the garden is so beautiful!! Was that your garden? I love the description of the cobblestone path and the cottage covered in ivy...so beautiful!!!

    xoxo Cori

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  13. Thank you for the award. It means so much to me. Thanks, also, for checking in. I hope to be back in action soon, but am still so weary and in need of rest.

    peace~elaine

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  14. My dearest sister and friend, where is this Graycroft that you speak of? Oh, beautifully you describe it, I find myself right in the middle of the garden that you have put into words. A photograph couldn't do better than what you have, for with your words, my imagine comes to life!

    I have always desired for such a secret garden, one where no one else enters, but me... and there I could meet the Lover of my whole being, my God and my Creator, my King, my heavenly bridegroom.

    But not having such a physical garden, I have another one, my prayer room... and there "I come to my garden alone, while the dew is still fresh on the roses..."

    Dearest Andrea, congratulations on your blog award. You are truly deserving of it.

    And I do thank you so much for passing it on to me as well, it is an affirmation and recognition of what God is doing through you and me.

    I must go back to this post another day. It is too beautiful to read just once. It is worth not just one more read, but several!

    Be blessed with joy and peace today...

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  15. Andrea, this post was simply beautiful.
    He has truly given you a gift of words...I am thankful you are sharing it.
    Congratulations on your award and to all those lovely blogs you have passed it on to.
    It was a pleasure visiting!!!
    everything vintage

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  16. Especially enjoyed reading the names of God you listed. What a truly enjoyable post!

    Blessings dear friend!

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  17. Beautiful story, inspirational post!
    Thank you for stopping by to see me too and for your kind comments. I'm so happy to "meet" you!

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  18. Dear Andrea,
    Thank you so much for coming by and visiting my blog and leaving such sweet words! I too have enjoyed my visit to your blog and shall be back to visit some more!!!
    Take Care & God Bless!
    ~Nadine

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  19. What a peaceful place to visit. Every corner, every paragraph here speaks of a love for spiritual things. Thank you for visiting 'America The Beautiful'. Many blessings,
    Linda

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  20. Dear Andrea...

    I always look forward to reading your beautiful Posts. I'm a bit behind this week as I've been swamped with work. Whenever I do peek in I always come away refreshed and renewed. Your Bloggie is like a good book...I just can't stay away too long without "picking you back up again!"

    God blessed me when I found you.

    Love to you this very day...

    Rebecca

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  21. I love The Secret Garden, too. I read it a decade or so ago and felt the same way as Karen (above) did and does. It DID all start in a garden. There is something so beyond us in the garden. He walks with us and talks with us. I feel so loved.

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Thank you for visiting. I cherish your thoughts. You are special to me, but most of all, you are special to God, who loves you with everlasting love. May your life be swept into His joy and peace.

In the Wonderful Love of Christ our Savior,

Andrea