Tuesday, August 8, 2017

This Abundant Life

by Emily Conrad

Another cucumber stretches downward from where it first budded near the top of the lattice fence, gravity elongating what the seed packet promised would be a “whopper” into something that looks like those seedless cukes that come wrapped in plastic at the grocery store.

I saw it days ago but forgot to check on it. It’s now over a foot long.

I catch another cucumber turning into a pumpkin. This one, too, was growing downward, but after about eight inches, it touched bottom. Supported, its bulk pooled against the mulch like a water balloon, stretching away from the faucet as it fills.

It’s barely August, and already my vegetable garden of seven plants—only one of which is bearing fruit so far—is producing more than I can eat.
When the onslaught of tomatoes begins, I’ll have to resort to pots and pots of soup.

Well, that or generosity.

The flowers, too, have multiplied. Dahlias, day lilies, morning glories, the ninety-nine cent hydrangea that was supposed to die, and what I’m told is rose of Sharon, buzzing with pollen-coated bees.

Despite these riches, I could tell you stories about things I want. While summer shines on one hemisphere, winter blankets another. Some things remain out of reach, some hopes seem to languish. I could tell you about winter and fitful spring. I could tell you about all that falls in autumn.

But this temptation is countered by the garden's abundance. Our world and my life is never void of growth and warmth. I just have to know where to look. I have to celebrate the harvest when and where it comes and let winter in another sphere of life serve its purpose--and with God, there is always a purpose.

Meanwhile, I must acknowledge the truth: there is more here than I can eat, more flowers than I care to pick.

God never stops renewing, reviving, refreshing, bringing to life things once dead. After all, Jesus said in John 10:10, "I have come so that they may have life, and may have it abundantly." (NET)

Something is always in season.

So we must not grow weary in doing good, for in due time we will reap, if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9, NET

As He has blessed my garden, He will bless the other, less physical, ground He’s given me to tend as long as I continue to tend it with Him.

It may not look like much now, but that’s because each part of life is on its own timetable, faithful to its own God-assigned calendar, poised to flourish in a divinely-appointed summer.

Instead of bemoaning the wait, I pick what is in season now. I slice it up and serve it to friends. I tend my little plot and praise the God of abundance whose love never fails and whose word never returns void.

God has blessed my garden and will bless the less physical ground He’s given me too via @emilyrconrad


  1. I love Rose of Sharon! Down here we call it althea or mallow. Did you know that you can make marshmallows (Marsh Mallow, get it?) from boiling down the sap? It's a really cool plant.

    We are so blessed, it just depends on how we view the world. Perhaps instead of rose-colored glasses, someone could invent blessing-colored glasses?

    Always love your posts, Emily!

    1. I had no idea you could do anything other than look at Rose of Sharon! Well, that or pick it and plunk it in a vase--it's well suited to that, too. At first I thought you might be kidding about the marshmallow thing, but Google has assured me otherwise. Very cool! Thanks for mentioning that! And thanks, too, for your encouragement. It means so much <3

  2. If we do not give up. Galatians 6:9--Love this reminder and hearing about your garden! This is the first year we didn't plant a vegetable garden. Instead we had loads of volunteer sunflowers pop up. I guess God's taking care of the birds, even though I gave up! :)

    1. I think I need some volunteer sunflowers in my life! How fun! A great example of his eye being on the sparrow, which of course is good news because it means He also watches over us :)

  3. Emily, your posts are always so encouraging and reflective! Thanks for sharing! BTW my daughter would probably be in awe of all your flowers. Gardens are her happy place :)

    1. Aw, I wish you lived closer! She would love the dahlias, especially, I bet--they're waste-high and some of the blooms are about the size of my face! Thank you for reading and pausing to leave such a kind note :)