africa · Faith

It All Started in a Garden

It’s that time of year, when you visit a friend and walk away with an armload of veggies, or find a basket of garden goodies up for grab at work. Or at least, if you visit me, you’ll come away with an odd variety of veggies. That’s the benefit of being friends with a gardener-you get some of the extra harvest.

flower garden

This whole gardening thing? It’s still a new passion.

Don’t get me wrong-I grew up near gardens. We usually had one growing up, and one of my earliest memories is of running through the taller-than-me corn in my grandparents’ garden. But I never really “got it”. I never really cared.

It took moving to Africa and landing in a village that wanted a garden for me to find a passion. One that had been hiding deep in my heart, and now brings me great joy and peace.

flowers in garden

Even days like today, when my arms are covered in zucchini-harvesting-scratches, when my pants and shows are covered in dust and grass, and when the dirt under my nails never really washes off…it’s something I love.

Because despite the scratches, I have far too many zucchini, fresh from the garden to make into a number of delicious dishes. I have bags of fresh cut herbs in my fridge. My grocery budget has dwindled in recent weeks, as the harvest begins.

Beyond that material gain of gardening, I find pleasure. It’s something natural, a part of being a human, to plant and tend a garden. It’s going back to our roots, figuratively and literally. Gardening is at the heart of simplified living, and has given me a new appreciation for where my food comes from.

houston museum of natural science

And it just brings me back to this fact: It all started in the garden.

God could have chosen any number of ways to begin life on this earth. But He chose to create a garden, and then created humans to live there. He created a place to live, one which nourished the first life here on earth, and was undoubtedly stunning.

And thousands of years later, I find this place where I just belong. Where the hum of nature surrounds me, enveloping me in a different story. Bees buzzing around, collecting nectar and pollinating plants which will eventually nourish me. Birds cheep overhead, flying and twirling in the wind. Ants march onward, hidden in the grass. Life continues here, in the garden.

houston butterfly garden

Summer, despite all its heat and humidity, is an incredible time. From the soil bursts forth seedlings, which take energy from the sun and earth and climb higher and higher. As the days lengthen, life emerges from the previously barren ground. It’s like a miracle playing out in front of my eyes.

God could have chosen to nourish us in a number of ways, but He chose this miracle of growth. He could have given us barren land to live upon, but He gave us all the beauty of nature.. He could have done everything differently. But He chose for life to begin in a garden, surrounded by the wild beauty of nature.

-Jen

I’m joining up with Holly for Testimony Tuesday. Check out the fun at her place!

Holly Barrett
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12 thoughts on “It All Started in a Garden

  1. I so don’t have a green thumb!! And so envy those of you who do…well not the work so much, but the joy of seeing the garden grow and enjoying the harvest. Wish I lived near your garden!! Thanks for linking up today, friend!

    1. Ah well we welcome the brown thumbs into our community gardens, even the dreaded “black thumb of death”. 🙂 But really, most days gardening isn’t too much work, if you do it right. Work smart, not hard! And if you lived near me, I’d be knocking on your door with an armload of zucchini right now!

  2. Oh I love this: “God could have chosen to nourish us in a number of ways, but He chose this miracle of growth.” Amen! (And yum… there is nothing better than fresh from the garden goodness!)

  3. Thanks for taking me through your garden this morning, Jen! I can hear your birds and bees and can’t wait to taste that zucchini ! We’re getting ready to start a garden co-op with our neighbors and I can’t wait! I’m actually researching places to purchase seeds that haven’t already been genetically altered. If you’ve got any recommendations I’d love to hear from you. Have blessed week!

    1. I’ve had luck with Seed Savers. I’m not sure where you’re located, but that’s a well known seed saving/heirloom variety company in Northern Iowa. Feel free to send me an email at jenpcv(at)gmail(dot)com. My job this summer involved starting a community garden, which has been a blast (but also challenging). I planted some heirloom Moon and Stars watermelon in one of them-can’t wait!! 😀

  4. I’m like Holly. Don’t have a green thumb. My time in the garden right now consists of pulling weeds. But I loved how when I recently spent a morning catching up on getting rid of the weeds God showed up and refreshed my soul in a way I did not expect. Blessings to you. xoxo

    1. Weeding is one of the most important parts of gardening! It allows room for the good stuff to grow….hmm, I suppose weeding in the heart in something we need to consider too! 😉

      Thanks for coming by! Hope you get some goodies out of your newly weeded garden.

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