When the COVID-19 social distancing restrictions were implemented in March 2020, in Australia, I asked God what He wanted me to do during this time. He simply said, 'Tend to your garden." I knew He meant literally, as our garden was long overdue some TLC. But I also knew He was speaking metaphorically about areas in my life, family relationships and other activities I'm involved in. What has God been saying to you during COVID-19?
For me, tending to the literal garden wasn't going to be a complex activity. It just involved a plan - with achievable goals, time, a little money, and sunshine. Over the past six weeks we have transformed our front path, planting seeds to create a border of white cottage flowers. What a joy it has been each morning to walk out the front door and see the growth.
Another section of the garden has been weeded and had turf laid. In the midst of those improvements a stunning white Camellia tree has bloomed, dropping petals white as snow on the newly laid turf. So beautiful.
Our youngest daughter has planted seeds to create flower borders around two trees. The shoots are starting to come through now. Doing this gardening together with her is part of the other 'tend to your garden' that God was speaking to me about.
Through our journey of having four children and one with cancer who obviously required more attention, understanding the concept of love languages has been essential. They have helped immensely in working to restore relationships with our other children. For more information on love languages, see 'The Five Love Languages of Children by Gary Chapman and Ross Campbell.'
Over the years we had purposefully implemented routines and strategies to increase the frequency that we 'spoke' each child's love language. Strategies that God used to bring healing into relationships. For example, for those with a love language of Quality Time, we identified specific times during the weekly schedule. They often happened in the car on the way to sporting activities.
So guess what happened when the COVID-19 social distancing restrictions came in? Sport stopped, and along with it those precious Quality Time moments. The flow on-effect? Increased tension and frustration as the love tanks were suddenly running very low!
There was frustration for me as well as the children. I was so angry with the enemy for attempting to destroy what God had restored.
The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. John 10:10 NKJV
However, I am grateful for all God has taught me over the years about the enemy's attempts to steal, kill and destroy. A couple of key scriptures that help me in these times of frustration - although sometimes only after I have loudly expressed my frustration! ....
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Ephesians 6:12-13 NKJV
So he answered and said to me: “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ Says the Lord of hosts. Zechariah 4:6 NKJV
So with the help of the Holy Spirit we have created new ways of 'speaking' each child's love language in this COVID-19 season and possibly beyond. And yes, for one child, that does include time in the garden. Praise God. He always has a plan and it is good.
Another area that I knew God was referring to with the 'Tend to your garden' response was a ministry group I am involved with.
In January this year God spoke to me about doing something new with the group. I was excited about what He had said, but did not know how to implement it. Sure I had ideas, but none of them seemed to be feasible, so I did nothing.
Yesterday I was outside at sunrise preparing the ground for laying the turf before the forecasted rain came, when God spoke to me about that new thing. He said something like, 'Now is the time to do that, and do it this way.' The strategy was brillant, masterful! Thank you God.
In January, how could I have known that COVID-19 would impact our country in this way? And that there would be a flow-on affect impacting the way our group operated? How could I have known that this would be the perfect time to implement what God had spoken to me about? The answer to all these questions is, 'I couldn't have known.' Only God knew.
For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:8-9 NKJV
So why am I sharing these stories? Because I really believe God has at least one thing, probably more, He wants to say to each of us during this time. And His words to us, as always, are critical for our future. They give us purpose and the strategies on how to achieve that purpose.
How are you going to make space in your day to hear what God wants to say to you?
For some more thoughts on hearing from God please visit these posts at https://wendyrobinson.com.au God hears our heart's cry God's timing and our patience God is listening - Day 22 - Drawing Closer to God devotion