What you are created for is not a mystery if you pay attention to the way your heart beats with purpose.
When a random thought causes you to walk faster or a smile to spread across your face at the most inopportune moment; when you begin negotiating with responsibility and prudence over what motivates you toward action – listen to what your heart is saying.
Sometimes and maybe often, these are tiny hints to how God made you to flourish.
When we moved to London, I assumed our lives would be that of simplicity in small spaces. We assumed a yard (or garden in English) would be non-existent.
Now, every morning while my son eats breakfast, I sit in our new brown chair in the corner of the dining room, holding a cuppa while looking through the windows at a wall of ivy fluttering in the breeze. I’m wooed into a trance of awe by God’s provision.
All I expected was one lone box of beauty propped on my window sill. But you should know something about me.
Gardening is like breathing. The act of digging deep and pulling out helps make sense of congested thinking, the same way writing helps process the pages of life God has ordained for me.
I shipped my bird bath and empty pots all the way across the ocean. I did.
We don’t have a car or Home Depot or even a nursery within walking distance. Transporting soil and plants is a challenge in London.
On Mother’s Day, shortly after I stepped inside the church, a new friend greeted me and then asked an astounding question. She overbought plants for her garden and asked if I would I like to have the excess?
Um, well, ABSOLUTELY! YES! OH MY GOSH THIS IS THE BEST GIFT EVER!
After church, I devoured a Sunday roast dinner hosted by a lovely family, inspired by the garden view beyond a wall of open windows.
I couldn’t pull my garden gloves on fast enough after we walked home and I didn’t even have the plants in my possession yet. The possibilities sparked creativity, a hint that creating beauty is a challenge I often accept with enthusiasm.
Bent over, while digging up an overgrown, weedy, neglected plot of earth, I heard a small voice above me saying, “Oh look, you’re cleaning your garden up today too.”
Standing on the top rungs of the wooden fence, I spied my six year old neighbor missing his front teeth; satiating childish curiosity.
“My garden isn’t as tidy as yours, I’m afraid.”
“It’s not your fault,” he said with alacrity, “the previous tenants didn’t take good care of it.”
As I scooped another pile of rocky soil into the shovel, something unnatural appeared on the surface.
“Oh look what I found,” I said to my young neighbor.
With eyes wide as saucers and mouth open, he exclaimed, “A dinosaur!”
Brushing the dirt off the small plastic figurine, I handed it up to him and he thanked me like a proper English boy does without thinking.
When you are awakened out of walking passively through life, tied down like Gulliver by all the little things, Jesus reminds you that the way to the Kingdom is modeled by children.
Be brave about new adventures.
Say what you think out loud when empathy and compassion are your only motives.
Conquer the walls that keep joy at a distance.
Follow your heart when it races with passion.
Love your neighbor as yourself.
In that uncomfortable middle place between the wilderness of circumstance and the hope of fulfillment, God is looking down and saying, “It’s not your fault. Let’s move forward in cleaning up the messes others left for you.”
He may just give you a gift you never asked for or expected in the process.