The Unexpected Garden: Look Up Child

Have you ever been digging and planting in a particular path? Have you seen blooms in the forward moving garden you’ve been planting? Have you added rows and depth to the field you have been given? Perhaps you have even seen the fruit of your labor. This is the good stuff life is made of.

When I speak of the garden, I am speaking of our lives. We pursue the calling that God gives us. We listen, learn, study and practice. We measure risks and take steps of faith. We do our best to direct our energy in areas that serve eternally, valuable ends.

Occasionally, however, we get so focused on the planting and digging that we forget to look up.

And then, abruptly, without notice or knowledge, the bougainvillea you planted rises as a palm tree. The herbs you planted come up as daisies. The roses you planted grow up the wall as lovely vines.

God has done a very unexpected work.

You had been working so hard digging and planting the path that you missed the work that the Creator’s hand was forging. He was composing a different, yet beautiful path.

Yes, we can become so focused on the planting and digging that we forget to look up. I guess I am saying that we can have our head in the dirt. Good, fertile dirt. Nevertheless, garden dirt is hard to see through and it doesn’t provide much of a reflection.

The Moon over Montana

This summer, I stared out the window into the dark Montana night. I watched the full moon glow as it traveled across the sky. Until it was no longer in my view. The moon was my companion that night. I tend to think that the Covid pneumonia was setting in at that time. While there was no solace in my body, the moon was a reminder that he is with me in the dark.

The moon is a reminder that even darkness is light to him.

Inspired by Psalm 139:12.

Since the spring of 2020, the glowing moon in the dark sky has been calling me. The glow has brought my gaze up and away from the fields. The moon has been asking for my attention. The moon has acted as a stable focal point calling me to less and calling me to rest. The moon helps me see the big picture.

What is your big picture?

If you can respond to God’s call to you with a soft heart, you will know the big picture of your life. You may miss the message if you are digging in the dirt of your garden more than gazing at the glow of the moon. You may miss the call to shift or shed if your heart is bent towards the planting more than it is bent towards the awe.

So, what happens when the bougainvillea rises as a palm tree? Or, the herbs come up as daisies? Roses as vines? I am guessing that your answer is the same as mine. Nothing makes sense. The garden plans must be revisited from the perspective of awe, rather than good works.

When nothing makes sense, awe and stillness make sense.

The awe has shown me rest and less. It’s my nature to opt for more. It’s my nature to broaden the horizon rather than narrow the possibility of it.

What’s your nature? In what ways do you veer from God’s path for you?

The awe has shown me to weigh and measure the short term value along with the long term view. I truly love to spontaneously, whole heartedly serve in the here and now; often spending more resources than I have. I later find myself burning the candle at both ends to serve the purposes that were meant to be at my forefront.

For most of my life, I glanced at the moon, heard its message of rest and less and carried on with field work. Until the landslide. Until the palm trees, daisies and vines were full grown in my immediate view. Until I was so awestricken that I dropped the map and stared at the moon.

Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts. Enter into his rest.

Hebrews 3 & 4

Striking the Balance

James conveys to us the perfect balance of looking up and digging and planting. As you read the verse below, focus on the importance of hearing the word and doing the work. When we engage in both, we are blessed. Hence, do the garden work and look up to Jesus for truth and direction. This way, our perseverance in our work will live in congruity with the perfect law of freedom.

Be doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. Because if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like someone looking at his own face in a mirror. For he looks at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what kind of person he was. But the one who looks intently into the perfect law of freedom and perseveres in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer who works – this person will be blessed in what he does.

James 1:22-25

It’s Okay to Let a Few Things Die in the Garden

These past few months, I let some big and small dreams die. Some of the dreams were for myself and some were for others.

Let that settle for a moment.

We are allowed to let dreams die or let them live on without us. We are allowed to reset in the light of the glow of the moon. Such an act of death or abandonment of a God inspired dream seems counterintuitive. The ways of heaven are sometimes counterintuitive.

I hesitate right about now. The hesitation is 50% fear of vulnerability and 50% commitment to confidentiality. I will be both vulnerable and confidential.

God knows I love to teach and encourage women in small groups. I had the desire to shift fully from my law career to something entirely new in range of my passion and calling. In my efforts to shift, I came to realize that the handful of women in my life love me and believe in me so deeply that I don’t have to make a full shift to live out what I love. My dream of a career shift has died a decent, honorable death.

In light of confidentiality, I can share wisdom but not details of the second dream. I had a dream for someone else. That dream was snatched away in practically an instant after years of hope and pursuit. The wisdom of the palm tree-daisy-vine garden is that sometimes the big dream overshadows the hidden dream that was quietly being sown in silence and humility by Jesus himself. Perhaps silence and humility grow the best gardens. Counterintuitive, but true.

The Season of Shed

Sister, shed. Shed, and shed some more. Look up. Take a break from the garden digging to find the awe of the stillness of your Father who is a constant source of light.

Sister, be soft hearted. Embrace the palm tree-daisy-vine garden and don’t lose heart when dreams die. For new dreams form when we are soft hearted.

Sister, be still with awe. Drop the shovel and the map long enough to see what he’s been growing under your nose. The roots are strong. The smell is sweet. And the fruit is tasty.

SHED CHALLENGE

Can you relate to the analogy of life as a garden?

Have you stared at the moon lately?

In what ways do you veer from God’s path for you?

Do you have a soft heart when nothing makes sense?

Is your heart bent towards planting more than it is bent towards awe?

Read the book of James. It’s short and full of wisdom.

Info Overload: More Things I want to share with you

My mom and I have a fall cookie project. My mom has a professional photoshoot next week, but I had to share today! You get these gorgeous cookies & fun filled cards from me including the Fall Bucket List, Gratitude List, my mom’s secret pumpkin cupcake recipe and a Fall Photo Challenge for you and your people! You can preorder by clicking here. The order process is a little rudimentary on my blog, but you will get your stuff! Email me at sasha@sashaakatz.com with any questions.

I am part of Ruth Chou Simons launch team for her new book When Strivings Ceases. Do you think I am a little excited to read this book during my season of shed? Yes! Check out the book and preorder. It comes out on October 12.

Last thing is kind of the first thing for me! It’s fall my friend! Woohoo! If you like my seasonal bucket lists, here is it girlfriend! Get to it and share your pics with the Fall hashtag #Fallbucketlist and tag me @sashakatz. One winner will receive Ruth’s new book (see above) and a Fall cookie box from my genius baker mama!

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