"God is Alive in Our Home…" By Nancy Alexander
And at The Center of Our "Every Day"…
Yesterday was such a beautiful, warm and sunny Spring day. As Steve and I sat in our office, the birds were flitting from limb to limb as if they were pleading for us to come outside. They really wanted us to fill their empty feeders. I can always tell when our feeders are empty, because their songs change; they are much louder as if to be calling out to us: "Feed me, feed me, please!" It takes a lot to fill up our many bird feeders, and we had just purchased a 50 pound bag of their very favorite — sunflower seeds.
"You have made known to me the path of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence…"
I glanced over at my favorite little devotional book, "Jesus Calling". Before I knew it, I was picking up my book and pen, and was on my way down the steps into my neglected "Secret Garden" walking along the winding, weed infested, stone path anxious to curl up in my favorite chair as I escaped into our Pergola.
View of our house from inside our Pergola
My Pergola is now almost enclosed with the yellow Lady Banks Roses, and purple Wisteria. These cover the top like a head full of hair in badly need of a trim. But, oh, these climbing rose clusters are so beautiful in the spring as they open out so full and pretty in their splendor!
This picture was taken last year when the Lady Banks roses were in full bloom!
I wanted to commune with God in all of His majesty as I renewed my mind and spirit in my secret hideaway. All over, the flowers were popping their little heads up for Spring, and the birds were singing even more loudly as I walked outside. Steve would be coming soon to help me fill the feeders, but for the moment, I was alone with God, enjoying the earth He created just for us.
"Somebody cares and always will,
The world forgets, but God loves you still,
Somebody cares and loves you still,
And God is the someone who always will."
~Helen Steiner Rice~
I have tended to avoid our garden and Pergola for a while now — it seemed to me like the weeds had grown taller than the flowers and shrubbery. We have had many more important things to focus our attention on. But, yesterday, the outdoors was calling to me as I walked outside into my own "Secret Garden" to talk to God as I enjoyed the fresh warm air of Spring.
Our garden always required a lot of time, attention, and money. And, for a while now, many much more important things have taken the place of our "secret garden". So, as I sat in the pergola reading yesterday, I was reminded of renewal and of beauty that is sometimes hidden — but is still there all the same.
"The Lord is my strength and my shield;
My heart trusts in him,
And He helps me.
My heart leaps for joy,
And with my song I praise Him."
~Psalm 28: 6-8~
As I was reading and praying to God, I noticed that my clay pots had lost pieces of their rims from the cold of winter. Many of my flowers in pots that had come up year after year were not coming up. Grass was growing taller than the flowers dispersed throughout the garden. My rustic, shabby chic, painted furniture in the pergola was falling apart. Loose pieces were either hanging on, or lying on the ground. Neglected paint was noticeably peeling off. Bushes in desperate need of a trim were much taller than they should be. Grass and weeds which had been cut back by a weed eater last week (instead of being pulled up), were now filling in our stone pathway again.
I looked over into the corner, and was amazed at how
the small limbs of Wisteria that I had wound
throughout the lattice five years ago had now grown into
large, curling extensions of that beautiful, flowery vine.
"I am the vine; you are the branches.
If you remain in me and I in you,
you will bear much fruit;
apart from me you can do nothing."
~John 15: 4-6~
As I looked around more,
I could see God's hand all around me.
Day lilies and lamb's ear were growing
right in the middle of the stone pathway.
Bumblebees were drilling their holes in the pergola
making a home for the season.
I was amazed that our Japanese Holly ferns are fuller
and greener than I have ever seen them before.
My concrete angel, even though she was surrounded by tall grass,
was still looking very beautiful peeping through the
ground cover which had come up from three years ago.
Pretty flowers were showing off their colorful blooms as
if they were not conscious of the weeds that surrounded them.
The forsythia vine growing up my back porch was
shouting out in all of it's glory that God is alive —
He is always here — He is always in control —
He can bring back beauty out of anything.
"God always gives you all the grace you need.
So you will only have to suffer for a little while.
Then God himself will build you up again.
He will make you strong and steady.
And He has chosen you to share in His eternal glory
because you belong to Christ.""
~1 Peter 5:10~
As I stood looking up at the flowers opening their blooms
in a splendor that only God could have created,
I felt SO blessed — SO grateful that He had seen fit to bring
this neglected "Secret Garden" back to life for us to enjoy.
"I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which
God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus."
But, even more so, I felt overwhelmingly grateful and SO blessed that He had seen fit to work in MIRACULOUS ways in our lives with miracles that brought His Grace, Joy and Forgiveness back into our marriage. So, when I say we spent the last three years ignoring our "Secret Garden", we spent those years saving and renewing a marriage which could have been so easily destroyed by the insidious chronic diseases — Celiac, and Fibromyalgia.
God got our attention! He broke us down, He pruned us, He carried us, He covered us with His love, He gave us encouragement, He gave us hope. He redeemed us, and He forgave us. He "looked through our faults and saw our needs". And, He brought our "Secret Garden" (a marriage now definitely made in Heaven) back to life — just as He did our "Secret Garden Outside", when just a few short weeks ago, it was dead — full of weeds — needed pruning, and in need of renewal.
"As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another,
as good stewards of God's varied grace."
~1 Peter 4:10~
I talk all of the time about chronic diseases and how they can destroy all that is good and pure and loving in an entire family. And, it can! I feel as though God has given me a ministry to help all of you who email me almost daily, talking to me about the trials and the pain that you face. There IS hope! God is there — He is always with YOU! And He DOES answer prayers. I know — He answered mine.