In previous years I would have had that soil ready for rest, but this year my plot still held a long-dried-up bean vine, matted black-eyed pea vines, and shriveled cucumber vines with rotting cucumbers on the ground. But even in the midst of the cleanup I found myself rejuvenated. What had taken me so long to get out here again?
Although most of the garden’s lush growth had browned, I found joy in discovering a lone tomato seedling and a budding potato sprout – both volunteers from the year’s crops. I was so moved by the sight – and the immediate life application – that I did an unplanned video on Periscope. What would make me video myself live with no makeup, hair in a ponytail, and unflattering sunlight? Only this: I love gardening. I love talking about gardening. I love sharing my gardening journey to anyone who will listen. And if someone asks me a gardening question, well, I work hard to contain my excitement.
In the past on my blog (journeywithjill.net), I’ve written only sparingly on my gardening experiences. Most I’ve limited to spiritual lessons in the garden (which I also wrote a whole book about), but for the most part, I’ve shied away from posting much about my gardening journey.
You see, the subjects of faith and gardening are two different writing genres. The experts say to choose one theme for a blog or ministry or business and stick with it. I’ve chosen to mostly write about my biggest passion – my relationship with God – and I figure most of my readers want to read about that.
But I’ve wrestled with a strong desire to write about gardening more in-depth for years. I’ve squashed that little hope like a whack-a-mole every time it comes up.
I’ve even questioned gardening itself. Is it a waste of time? Shouldn’t I be spending my time on more spiritual matters?
But every time I’ve gone to the garden, prayerfully placing this Isaac on the altar, I felt more strongly than ever that just like writing and teaching, gardening is what I’m made to do and enjoy.
Among other benefits, the garden is where God speaks to me.
In my garden that day, the desire to share my journey in the garden and help others who want to start a garden was so strong, I couldn’t shake it. It was then that I realized perhaps instead of stifling this passion, I should use it.
After all, where did God place Adam after he was created? A garden!
Who planted the first garden? Not Adam. God Himself! (Genesis 2: 8)
I, of all people, should understand that helping people plant something, even if it’s just one thing, has the potential of bringing them closer to God through His creation. (Romans 1: 20)
So last November I decided I was done with stifling this passion. I readied myself to embrace it as the God-given desire it is.
What has that looked like?
For starters, I created a weekly gardening e-newsletter, complete with gardening tasks and information for each week. Then I started a new Journey with Jill in the Garden Facebook page to share gardening tips and articles there. Finally, I’ve committed to writing a gardening-centered blog post each Monday.
My hope is not only to inspire others to garden and to equip beginning and seasoned gardeners alike, but also to use this passion God has given me to get the gospel message to those who may not hear it otherwise.
What God taught me is not to stifle a God-given passion, particularly if it doesn’t look all that spiritual. Perhaps that passion is the avenue through which God has planned to minister to others through you.
Embrace it! Enjoy it! And glorify God in it.