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The Garden: A Letter About Growth

*Note: During my junior year, I spent time in my school’s garden journaling and talking to Jesus. Although this practice first started as a way to rest in-between classes, it transformed my prayer life and helped me encounter God in an incredibly profound way. This post is adapted from a journal entry I wrote during this period.

As I sit here and reflect on my time in the garden, I can’t help but be in awe of all the memories we had together, all the days I drew closer to You, and all the ways You’ve grown me. There is no way I would have gotten through my junior year without getting to meet with You here. It’s incredible how You turn ordinary places into sacred spaces.

The garden is a place where anything can happen. It’s saturated with beauty at every corner, and if I don’t take the time to slow down, I can miss the miracles that are unfolding right before my eyes. The garden taught me that prayer is not limited to a certain place or reciting certain words. It’s a vulnerable, intimate time to pour out my soul before You and listen for Your still, small voice. By becoming intentional in seeking You, I’ve experienced traces of Your faithfulness in a million different ways.

I’ve seen You through the way a caterpillar grew in its pupa and slowly transformed into a stunning butterfly. I’ve heard You through the rustling leaves and the chorus of chirping birds. I’ve tasted You in the sweetness of a treat after a long day. I’ve smelled You in the freshly cut, watered grass. I’ve looked up at the big, blue sky and the tall, tough trees, and in doing so, got a glimpse of Your heart.

I’ve danced with You in the rain and sat with You in the silence. I’ve hugged You when I hugged Your beloved children and rejoiced with You when a lost soul found her way home. I’ve prayed for the people I cared about and finally cared enough to pray.

 You provided water for the sparrows, nectar for the hummingbirds, and beauty for my weary soul. I’ve seen miracles that were larger than life and more intricate than the painted design on a monarch butterfly’s wings.

It was in the garden that You taught me how to fight against my burnout and anxiety. It was in the garden that You showed me how to heal by being vulnerable with my scars. It was in the garden that I experienced Your overwhelming love in an extremely intimate way.

There will be winter seasons where plants wither and die before my eyes, and the garden becomes stark and barren. When I am powerless, I trust that You are in control. I know that You are still working on my behalf. Even when I don’t feel like it, I am growing and being molded into Your image.

Although I still struggle with my weaknesses, I know that taking up my cross is a daily practice. The refining fire stings, but it forms a treasure that cannot be destroyed. You are the God who resurrects dead things and breathes new life into them.

This garden is my war room. This garden is my safe space. This garden is my tent.

It was in the Garden of Eden that humanity was separated from You, and it was in the Garden of Gethsemane that You continued Your rescue mission and made everything new. You knew from the beginning that our brokenness was great, but You willingly allowed Your body to be broken so that our spirits could be made whole again.

Your sacrifice changed the way that I live. My life is a vessel that should only be filled with Your Spirit, not my own selfish desires. As I surrender my time to You, You transform my very being and the way that I perceive the world.

When everything within me screams to run faster, work harder, and do more, You showed me how to slow down and simply sit at Your feet. My worth is not found in how much I accomplish or even what I do for ministry. My worth is always found in Your enduring Word, and when I trust in this promise, I can overcome any obstacle.

These words that You’ve given me are Spirit-filled and will leave an eternal legacy. No matter the seasons I will face or how old I will grow, I can look back on this moment and confidently say, “The Lord was truly in this place.” Even when I have to leave this garden and continue fighting on the battlefield, I know that You are always with me. You will never leave me or forsake me.

You are my Healer, my Comforter, my King. I thank You for this garden and for this everlasting memorial stone of Your goodness. While I must leave, I don’t want this to be the end of my prayer life. Let this only be the beginning of knowing You and pursuing Your path.

After all, it only takes one seed to start a garden.

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