How a Garden Restored My Sanity

I am growing a garden. The thought makes me giddy.

                   Hands in the dirt.

                   Toes in the grass.

                   Sun on my back.

                   Seeds planted.

                   Sprouts growing.

I did not always feel this way. In fact, just last year, the thought of all of these things (while inviting) exhausted me. Last Spring as the birds began chirping, I did not feel as though my soul could chime in. I was in a rut. A hole. A pit. I was depressed. Nothing in the world made me want to get out of my bed and face the day. But then one day….

My parents suggested I start a garden. Though I cringed at the thought of going outside and sweating and digging up weeds, I knew I had to do something. If my situation was going to change, I needed to take a step. I love flowers. I am entranced by the facts that such small pods can hold so much beauty and wisdom. They are like miniature canvases God saw fit to paint. And, if you are an Etymology nerd like me (if you’re not that word means the study of root derivation of words) you must know that each flower has a meaning. It was the entire thought of these things that made me wonder, maybe starting a garden would be a sort of therapy. Surely, I thought, it has to be cheaper than going to a retreat.

So I did. And let me tell you, it was the best thing I could have done at that moment. When I started to notice the buds blooming, watching the butterflies sip their precious nectar as bees skittered their pollen brushed knees passed, I knew the Lord was trying to tell me something. “You’re worth more than sparrows, Sarah. I have dressed you finer than these flowers. Trust me.” Everyday day working in that garden, smelling lavender and getting dirt in my hair, I felt what it was like once again to be close to the earth. I realized I wanted to be on it, not in it, for as long as He willed. If I had the choice to be on the receiving side of this beauty, why would I not want to be? I grew stronger, little by little. With each turn of the trowel I buried my sorrows. With every pull of the weed I felt my anger break loose. Grace fell with the afternoon showers as feeling returned to my skin. This was life, and I was still a part of it. On the receiving end of Grace.

That was last March. As I ready my garden to grow vegetables this year instead of flowers, I have a feeling there will be new lessons to be learned. Though I approach life with a fuller outlook this time, I still have weeds I need to root out and seeds of His word I need to plant. But with each time I see our seeds sprouting, I feel a rush of joy and thankfulness that God used a garden to ease my worries, to return my sanity. This year I have someone to share that with, and he and I are planting seeds with the expectation of a great return- in reality and inside our hearts. For the Lord is leading to paths we cannot yet see, but we trust Him all the same.

If you feel more like you wish you were in the ground than on it, if you feel like you can’t face another day, I encourage you to find something, just one tiny thing that has the potential to bring you joy. It could be a step outside to feel the breeze, or a word on a notepad that speaks of a poem yet to be written, a brushtroke on a canvas rotting in the corner, or a call to a friend who has said they’d be there if you needed them. Take one step, and see if your garden doesn’t bloom. If you want, you can even write me here, I’d love to hear your story.

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