My sons’ dentist office is across the highway from our old house.
I couldn’t help it.
I had to look.
I drove by, real slow, trying to get a glimpse over picket fence and back alley of what had become of the blood sweat and tears of my garden. What had become of the beautiful tomatoes, green beans, cucumbers, corn, bell peppers, pumpkins, carrots, potatoes, and herbs that had barely begun to flourish when we left? Was there fruit? Was it being cared for by our former landlord/neighbor?
I don’t know what I expected, but tears stung my eyes as I saw all of my hard work and love pulled up carelessly by the roots and thrown over the back fence next to the dumpster like it was garbage.
I tried. I did. I tried to act like I wasn’t upset or disappointed. I halfway knew that’s what would happen to it when we decided to move. Because there’s no reason it should have been as important to anyone else as it was to me. New tenants wouldn’t want a house with a garden that I’m sure looked shabby and overgrown to the un-loving eye. But it had been mine. My careful planning. My financial investment. My heart’s desire. And to see it torn down and tossed aside hurt my heart, because unlike whoever tore it out, I knew the value of the fruit that was coming. They saw garbage. I saw hope.
This is what happens when Jesus moves you on.
When He calls you out of a relationship, a job, a city, a church…When He calls you into something and out of something else, you always have to take a loss. You have to deal with the fact that your hard work, your investment, your heart’s cry for however long is staying behind you. It is no longer yours, if it ever was in the first place (PS, it wasn’t). It’s an issue of trust.
We have to move on.
We can’t move into what is ahead until we move out of what is behind. I don’t want to grip the old so tightly and stubbornly that I can’t reach forward and take hold of what the Lord has for me today. I can’t plant a new garden if I am still worried about my old one.
It is never the Lord’s will that we look behind us, missing old ministries, friends, relationships, or possibilities. It is so easy to slip into idolatry when the eyes of our hearts are looking behind us, to reminisce, to wonder, to finish the story. When we keep our treasure in the past, our hearts are also in the past. We miss out on the new thing that the Lord wants to do in and through us, now, today.
I don’t want to miss it.
There is a new kind of green and growing and fruitfulness showing up in my life and in my heart and in my home, better than any garden on earth. Moving forward has given me room to breathe, to dream, to meditate, to delight in the Lord. I’m going to put new seeds in the ground at this house. I don’t know that I would be able to keep myself from growing things. But, more importantly, I want the seeds in my heart to make me like a tree, planted by a river, that brings forth fruit in its season and whose leaves do not wither.
Whatever gardens are behind me, I count as rubbish. But I’m looking forward to what lies ahead.
Beth would like to connect with you!