I’ve been contemplating “Belonging” this morning. I guess it all goes back to my recent start up of the Beth Moore Bible study “Chasing Vines”. There’s much said in the first couple of chapters about being pulled up from where you were planted and transplanted in an unfamiliar land. Boy do I get that. I think any woman my age starts to feel the whole “transplanted” feeling. All the familiar is shaken: Relationship with kids as they grow up, relationship with husband as you have more time together, relationship with friends as we weather the ins and outs of our new schedules, new responsibilities, new season… that’s just a few. When one of the questions in the study asked “Do you feel like you’ve been transplanted?” My reply was, “Absolutely…” Transplanted May be an understatement. “Completely rearranged” May be more accurate.
But there is a constant in an ever changing world, Jesus. And my “Belonging” to Him. My Belonging is not conditioned by my perfection, my position, my situation, or my feelings. It’s just a fact. Belonging brings security and it brings a certainty that no matter the situations we face we are secure and loved.
All this contemplating of “Belonging” brought to mind a poem I wrote several years ago. It makes me think of something I heard years ago in a meeting. “No matter where you’ve been, no matter what you’ve done, come home.” When I am “at home” in Jesus, it doesn’t matter what my current circumstances may be. I am accepted by Him. “I Belong”.
Originally written in 2009: (I read the account of a woman who had a double masectomy for breast cancer. She was concerned about how her husband would react to her disfigurement. When he saw her for the first time after the operation he came close to her, stroked her hair, and told her with tears in his eyes, “Oh sweetheart, you are so beautiful.” Like her, I look at my imperfections sometimes with a lot of discouragement, but God holds me as beautiful in His eyes.)
You see the disfigurement of my soul. You see the ugliness of my sin. You touch the brokenness inside. Your blood washes, cleansing the dirtiness within.
I am moved by Your compassion for me. I am set free by Your love. I am made whole in the light of Your Glory. I am not left alone. I belong.
You have watched me cry in sadness. You were catching all my tears. You were there when loneliness engulfed me. Though I was unaware, You were there.
I am moved by Your compassion for me. I am set free by Your love. I am made whole in the light of Your Glory. I am not alone. I belong.
I belong to You. Held by Love divine. You have called me precious. You are truly mine. I am Yours. I Belong.
It was 12 years ago in April that we moved into our current house. Everyone was extremely excited. We had lived in an Earth Contact/ basement home for 7 years. It was half the size of our new home and it had no windows. The new house had tons of them. Plus we had more than twice the acreage with a yard with grass as opposed to woods all around. Things were looking up. When we got settled in my husband told me of some of his plans to make this place truly our own. One of his first ideas was a garden.
To be honest, if I were a cusser, at the time that would have made me cuss. All I could Think of was WORK… I begrudgingly opted to help him out. Neither one of us really knew exactly what we were doing but we gave it a try with some success. But by July our nicely tilled, freshly fertilized plot looked like a giant weed experiment. All I could think of when I went out to get stuff was how much easier it would be to just buy frozen produce and call it good. But he loved the idea of gardening, and continually told me how I should get into gardens and flowers and such. After several attempts I told him, “Look Gardening is not my thing. It’s your thing. I’m not going to do it anymore.” So for the first time since moving here, we went without one.
Life got busier and more complicated and I found myself fighting things inside me that were bigger than my ability to figure out on my own. So I ended up trying counseling for the first time. After talking a little, my counselor asked me, “Do you like to garden?” I replied, “I don’t know. I’m no good at it. All I grow is weeds.” She said, “That’s because you really haven’t tried.” I told her, “I don’t know what I’m doing…”. She said, “You can learn anything you want to. That’s why they have YouTube and Pinterest.” I went home that afternoon and told my husband, “If you want to do the garden thing again, I’m willing to give it a try.” He was like a kid at Christmas. We planned, we planted, we worked it, and we ate all kinds of goodies, and though I have hated to admit he was right. I should get in to gardens and flowers and such…Now it’s become an ongoing project for the past 3 years that I have a newfound joy, along with landscaping, flowers everywhere, and my new found love of bird feeders. I think I’m morphing into my mom and grandmas. I love it! And come to think of I actually do have a green thumb. I just never let it come out until now.
Most mornings in the summer, I spend some time with a cup of coffee and my Bible. Then I head outside to take care of the garden and plants before the heat of the day. When I’m out there, the sound of birds singing, cow mooing in the distance, bugs making their noises, etc. fills the air. There’s been many times I’ve thought to myself, “I think I understand why God has a thing for Gardens.” He’s the original gardener. When I’ve spent time pulling weeds, I think about how it parallels Bible stories I’ve read. When I pick the veggies, verses come to mind about bearing fruit. It’s kind of a spiritual experience along with the physical one. Good stuff.
A friend of mine asked me if I wanted to borrow a dvd/book/ Bible study by Beth Moore a couple of months ago, “Chasing Vines”. I hesitated. Beth Moore is known for being in-depth and I wasn’t so sure I wanted to be engaged in an in depth Bible study. In between just finishing up quarantine and the governor’s stay at home orders and a lot of other stuff going on, I wanted to do my thing and not get too in depth. Yesterday I saw it sitting there and I picked it up. Let’s just say what I had resisted looking at, turned into an adventure. (kind of like the garden dream 12 years ago) The first chapter was all about God and gardens. The more I read the more I realized, “I’m going to have to buy Joy a new copy of these books because I have got to underline and write in them.”
Then of all things, a verse Beth Moore quotes hits me. “”I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener.” John 15:1 NIV I’ve heard it in other versions as “my Father is the vine dresser.” God is the “Gardner”. The Gardner who gets a kick out of working in the soil of my heart. Planting new plants that He enjoys watching develop and bear fruit. God loves to spend time working in the heart of me. He loves to cultivate, prune, and pick so I am the most fruitful I can be. In fact, He loves a beautiful garden. I can be assured that the garden of my heart is beautiful because of His constant attention and care. He’s been at this Garden development in my heart since before I was born actually the Bible describes it as “before the foundations of the world.” Ephesians 1:4.
God’s great Garden work in my heart brings me to an assurance that His intentions for me is to “bear much fruit.” Just as a garden has different seasons that continue to work the garden, so does my life. There may be a time of rest, where snow covers the ground. It may look like my productivity is frozen during cold temps and freezing precipitation. But all this contributed toward the goal of productivity in my heart. Nitrogen released from the snows of winter is needed for a great harvest in the summer sun.
Nothing is wasted in the garden of my heart and I am assured that God is not done with me. He promises me fruitfulness now as He tends my life and that fruitfulness will continue even into old age- Psalm 92. What was, what is, and what will be are all under His care. And I must always remember “He has done all things well”. Mark 7:37. That includes me. God’s not just a gardener. He is the Master Gardener working in me.