In the sermon on the Mount in Matthew’s gospel chapters 5-7 Jesus used illustration after illustration to send home the message of how profoundly God loves and cares about us. “Oh yeah, Oh yeah, I know that”, says you, “but it is a message with a price tag that I don’t hear anymore.” You might not even be sure it matters because, perhaps, you are in a world of hurt and nothing seems to be getting better. But I am here to tell you God is not a cosmic killjoy or some lawgiver that is ready to rap your knuckles if you don’t toe the line. I am here not to defend God because God is God and doesn’t need me to stick up for Him. But I want you to take a close look and what I saw yesterday in His garden. I saw life. He is the Giver of Life. I saw beauty. He created it all and said it was VERY good! Look closer. Really look. God is an artist. He is a scientist. He is a chemist. He is a poet. For He inspires songs and poems and dance and joy with all He puts His hands to. We love our gardens. We look out for pest and weeds and promptly dispose of them. We love our gardens for their fruit. We love their fragrance. We love their looks and how they transport us to our happy place when we are there. We love their shade. We love and tenderly feed and water them. We watch them grow and agonize when they fail to thrive. Jesus said if God cares so much for His garden that is so temporary: gorgeous today and withered tomorrow, how much more does He care about your needs?! Cheer up! You are vastly more important and treasured in God’s thinking. With each picture will you please say out loud: God loves me more than this! God loves ME more than this! GOD LOVES ME! Take a deep breath a begin the tour! Enjoy!
So, after 20+ years of benign neglect we saw a tremendous need for reshaping our yard: bringing up levels, expanding slopes, widening parking access. The first step for improvement on any level is to see the need for change. We needed dirt. We needed a plan for where to place it. We needed a plan for how to protect it from washing away in the rains. We threw out the net to find who were the contractors in our area best suited in both expertise and our budget to do the dirty work. That is, haul in and compact the dirt. The Lord led us to a family owned and run business that was well respected in our community and came in at almost half the bid of their competitors. After hundreds of yards of dirt was brought in and compacted we walked the property and became alarmed at the sandy, loose structure and concerned ourselves with the potential for erosion. Again, seeing the need is the first step for planning. The Lord led us to a local lumbar yard and the purchasing of jute to cover all slopes. This is a rough netting fabric often seen for slope maintenance along freeways. Still, after applying the jute we were unconvinced we had done enough to secure the slopes. Again, seeing the need led to researching the plants best suited to this zone, the slope, sunlight and watering needs of this location. After connecting with a local nursery we added our names to a list of customers in line for their next shipment of vinca. Passing this nursery early in the morning because it was closed we stopped, by divine “chance” at their competitor’s in the adjacent town and discovered they had more than enough ground cover in two varieties to meet our needs on the spot. In addition, the garden expert that waited on us provided counsel on shrubbery, discounted our bill 10% because of the volume of our purchase, and offered to stop by our property to make sure our water timers were working properly.
The astonishing and delightful discovery to top off this wonderful encounter, is that we shared the last name with this sweet lady and she graduated from the University in the town my husband came from! Is that fun, or what?!!!
To further stabilize the slope we purchased 40 2x4x9 foot lengths of cheap lumber and stakes to nail alongside as supports to prevent further erosion. Then, thinking of the history this area has for torrential rains, the Lord gave us a pattern for laying down the wood that would serve a dual purpose of slowing down and diverting the water flow while providing a pattern for planting each variety of ground cover in adjacent sections. Brilliant!
Looking forward to lots of hours of planting and anticipating more joy in seeing the Lord supplying our needs in the years ahead. God is good. ALL THE TIME!
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