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Dream Garden?

Hatley Park Gardens, Victoria BC

My fascination with gardens stems from visits to Butchart Gardens in Victoria, BC. There's a picture of me in a stroller reaching for a red flower somewhere in my mom's photos. Bill and I visit these gardens often whenever we happen to be on Vancouver Island to visit family. We've been married long enough to know that if there's a garden to explore in our travels, we're going!

Butchart Gardens was once an ugly limestone quarry. The story of its reclamation intrigued me. One woman's vision became a generational legacy to her family and now is a national historic site of Canada. To read more about Butchart Gardens, click on the link here:

Ever since Eden, each one of us looks to create that perfect blend of beauty and function. A garden is a place of intimacy with the creation and its Creator. Yet my own backyard manufactures work, sweat and frustration as I battle weeds and insects for a slice of beauty. Yet there are beautiful moments with God that I treasure like the time my cat Mitzi gave birth while I was thinning carrots. Or admiring the delicate pale green pine needles emerging from a pale brown and gold protective covering.

Jennie Butchart hauled topsoil into the quarry with a horse and cart. I can't begin to imagine how long that took when I wilt from twenty minutes of weeding. Striving for this beauty seems daunting, impossible. Yet I long for that beauty, a connection with the sacred.

"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV)

When God sent Adam and Eve out of the garden of Eden, he didn't leave them without hope. He told them that He had a plan for restoration of the intimacy they'd once shared. The people of Israel had been removed from their Promised Land, their garden. The Lord's declaration echoes the promise of hope given in Genesis. He was going to make a way back to the garden.

Some prophetic voices told their fellow Israelites Babylon was a short term problem but Jeremiah's letter said to make plans to live there for seventy years. Which news reel held more appeal? Maybe the women breathed a sigh of relief and started unpacking but winced at the amount of work needed to set up a home. Maybe they decided to keep a few things packed for travel on short notice. Maybe the men argued over the veracity of the different views and stalled over building a permanent shelter. Maybe families became divided over Jeremiah's letter. In light of the length of time the Israelites had ahead of them in this foreign land, God's promise of hope takes on a deeper meaning. This hope needed to become embedded, rooted in their spirits.

"Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked

or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers,

 but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night.

That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season

and whose leaf does not wither—whatever they do prospers." Psalm 1:1-3 NIV

My word for 2024 is 'Planted'. It's based on Psalm 1. My dream garden is found in my delight in the Word of God. I will be like a tree planted by streams of water if I soak in the truth of the scriptures day and night. Fruit arrives in season and leaves stay green and lush. Kindness and patience will arrive in season. Faithfulness and gentleness will arrive in season. Fear will not shrivel up my leaves. Grace and forgiveness abound in my dream garden. Continuous growth is assured despite the windy storms of grief and loss. How? My roots are in the Word of God, the living Word, Jesus Christ.

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