16 May Growing Faith in a Garden
Gardening is my exercise, therapy, and quite often the incubator that gives birth to new ideas and frequently provides me with creative answers when I’m stuck in my head on a writing project-in-progress. As springtime in Texas begins to reach its full potential, I’ve found myself immersed in a DIY landscaping project that has given me countless hours of personal satisfaction while at the same time fueling my creativity and inspiring my spirituality in unexpected ways.
Gardening, in all its cyclical stages of hibernation, germination, growth, and abundant glory gives me the rare (and deeply appreciated) ability to combine physical labor with spiritual introspection and prayer. I feel close to God when I’m in my garden. This season, as I progressed through the stages of tilling, digging, planting, fertilizing, weeding, watering, and pruning, I found myself likening the structured stages of gardening to the growth in my personal life and professional career as a writer. Without structure, a life purpose can get lost, a story idea can run rampant, and the point of both can become obscured in an overgrown tangle of weeds.
The theme of this issue of Kaleidoscope is harvest time—a season where growth (in all its forms) is taking shape all around us. Be it literally in countless fields across the country, to the far more personal areas of spiritual, emotional and relational growth. For me, growth in all its forms is visible everywhere. It surrounds me like a warm blanket on a cold evening—like a burst of sunshine on an overcast day. It’s even helping me connect in unexpected ways with my incarcerated adult child.
As a writer, I didn’t set out to be the author of a series of books based on setting healthy boundaries. I’d written 24+ trade published books before I penned the story of my challenging relationship with my adult child—the book that became my first bestseller and gave birth to a new season in my professional—and personal—life. Thirty-two books later, growth continued when I branched out into working one-on-one with clients to help them achieve their writing and publishing dreams. I have learned so much from the godly men and women I’ve worked with over the past years.
Today, working closely with Dr. Victoria Sarvadi and her team of spiritual warriors to produce Kaleidoscope and develop ministry outreach projects and books has produced in my life a harvest of exceptional opportunities. Even more important is the incredible insight into the Bible I have gleaned from her teachings and the newfound connection I have with Jesus as I’ve begun to study the Bible and view my faith through His 1st-Century lens of faith.
Bridges and Boundaries is a column about building healthy connections in challenging relationships. The bridges that connect us, and the boundaries that define us. Those we make with others, ourselves, and yes, even with God. The truth is, there are times when setting healthy boundaries is the only way to build a sturdy bridge between those we care about.
When this fruitful season of abundant growth begins to wane and the color retreats underground, we can rest assured that the cycle of growth will return at its appointed time. This is God’s unfailing promise to us.
There is no escaping pain, hurt, and disappointment in life. We live in an imperfect world filled with imperfect humans. However, we also live in a world of second chances and new beginnings. Getting over something often requires going through something. It’s important to remember that heartbreak isn’t the final destination, it’s a season where hibernation, contemplation, and expectation can give birth to unexpected blessings, unforeseen miracles, and a bountiful harvest of opportunities. Don’t lose sight of what God is doing beneath the surface. Your heart and soul matters to Him—in all the seasons of your life.
Happy gardening as you dig into God’s Word!
For more information on Allison’s soon-to-launch SANITY Support Podcast or on her books in the bestselling Setting Boundaries© series, visit her website at AllisonBottke.com