Since summer the idea of reclaiming a small landscape in our backyard, not only to rejuvenate it, but also to plant some food to help my family eat better, has been of huge interest to me.
So for the past three and half months we have been carefully planning the better use of our space.
There are limitations to this that have been beyond our control. So, we’ve walked alongside them to the best of our ability in order to achieve something of value, sustainability and usability. Part of doing this has included implementing ideas which helped to identify and then redefine the use of areas that seemed too small, or were just under organised.
In truth in a lot of ways it has matured into a homeschool science project. For example: the outcomes of this project, not only directly assists our approach to homeschooling. It also provides an environment where our homeschoolers can study and experience nature, the importance of horticulture and experiment with some of the basic elements within agriculture.
Yesterday we arrived at the final part of that work. Accompanying this was the realisation that, now, it is going to be a matter of letting it grow.
Unfortunately, like most well programmed retail managers I inherited the struggle between active and passive participation i.e: I sometimes wrestle with patience and people pleasing, particularly when positive results are slow to materialise even if an objective has been achieved.
Thankfully, this kind of internal conflict finds a resolution when I acknowledge the value of stepping back and ‘standing firm’ (Eph.6:13).
Stepping back does not mean losing ground or “letting go” or “taking a back-seat”.
To “let it go” implies “abdicating responsibility” or worse, it suggests dropping any duty of care assigned to me.
Nor does stepping back mean that I “release the garden”, or find some woefully poor excuse “under grace” to ignore my commitment to it.
After all, the garden still needs watering, weeding and pruning.
By taking a step back, I am re-evaluating and observing. This prudently precedes firmly standing on a pre-emptive movement towards, not away from further engagement.
Like transforming a garden and small, apparently unusable areas around our house, transforming space becomes a witness to the process of transformative grace.
If I take a perfectionist stand, the process is compromised; the foundation is weak. If I retain my right to do what I want at the insane pace at which I demand, or am pushed to go, the process is sabotaged; the foundation is weakened further. If I deny grace by refusing to recognise God’s role here then the attempt to reach for the objective ends in utter failure; the foundation is abandoned.
Instead, if I exercise an already present grace by inhaling God’s costly claim on my life, I find myself summoned to ‘stand firm’, only after I have done the best I can with what I have already received.
Out of this flows a response to grace. In other words an actualising of gratitude, and in due course joy, contentment and peace.
A garden of abundance, tended, loved, redefined, reconciled, redeemed – life deemed worthy of life, by the giver of life.
‘He knows he must deny himself for the man he needs to be…the burden here is sweet compared to Calvary’
– (Marie Bellet, via Mrs C )