Article by: Sarah Koontz, Founder of Living by Design Ministries
I had been bracing myself for the storm. Somehow, I knew it was coming even before I saw the clouds rolling in. Things were just too perfect, too pristine.
I enjoy working with my hands, tenderly caring for my plants and nurturing their growth. Each time I step foot in my garden I witness both vulnerability and strength. I see the beauty of the emerging seedling, so much life contained in such a small package.
I see the daises, zanias, and calendula and am amazed by the intricacy of their design.
“Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; but I tell you, not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these.” Luke 12:27
Each moment I spend in my garden brings me one step closer to the life that I envision for myself. A fruitful life, a different life.
I have sacrificed much in my journey towards health. I will never forget the hard times that lead up to our decision to move to the country. The weakness I felt in my own body, the overwhelming anxiety that came from pushing myself too hard, and the moment I realized I could not carry on as I always have.
When we built our home in the country, we decided to live a different kind of life. We chose peace and tranquility over the hustle and bustle of the city. I didn’t know if I would like this new life, but I knew it was my only chance.
It took time, but slowly I discovered a new purpose. Encouraging growth in my children, my friends and my garden taught me that I was created to nurture others. With my words, my actions, my hands, I help things grow.
So when I saw that storm rolling in, and looked out over my beautiful garden, I felt a sense of overwhelming peace. God will always give us refuge from the storm, so long as we seek Him first. As I sat in my home and watched the large hailstones rip apart my garden, I realized that those stones held no power over me.
“You have been a refuge for the poor, a refuge for the needy in their distress, a shelter from the storm and a shade from the heat.” Isaiah 25:4a
As I surveyed the damage after the storm, I cannot deny the sorrow I felt. I have diligently toiled in my garden for months, doing everything within my power to help those plants grow strong and produce a bountiful harvest.
But then, I stopped, and I looked around at the magnificent calm that had settled into our little valley. The peace that comes after the storm surrounded me and I recognized these undeniable truths.
Sometimes, our best efforts end in failure. There are times when we are helpless to affect the outcome of a situation. At the moment when the very thing we wanted most is ripped from our grasp, we have a decision to make.
Will I continue to trust? Will I continue on the path to which I have been called, or will I allow bitterness and anger to overtake me?
“Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.” Ephesians 4:14-15
When we are surrounded by dark clouds, will we fear the storm or will we allow the storm to draw us into the safe embrace of our Savior? When our spirit is downcast and our hard work lay in broken pieces all around, will we give up or press on?
I do not know if I can nurture my garden back to life, but of this I am certain, I will try. For it is in the trying that I will discover what I am made of. I choose to continue to nurture, to continue to hope, and to continue to work with my hands in spite of it all. For that is what I was created to do.