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Lessons Learned From the Garden

Alyssa Robinson shares what Laura Sennott taught her about God's restoration, using her garden as a teaching tool.

I bought my first house in 2020. I was so proud and excited, and my family and friends shared in my excitement. But here’s the thing. Nobody warned me about the rude realities that come with homeownership. They were probably colluding with each other and whispering, “We got another one to take the plunge!”

Why does every little update cost at least $1k? What do you mean I have to remove leaves from my roof? Does anyone know a good plumber? It’s an emergency!

If you’re laughing to yourself right now, I consider you an accomplice. Owning a home also meant I had my own yard to take care of for the first time in my life. I started with big dreams about a large, beautiful garden with blooming flowers, beautiful aromas, and calming green leaves. I imagined sitting peacefully on my sunny patio without a care in the world, watching the birds and squirrels at play.

More rude realities…

Mulch costs how much?! Wait, I have to replant those every year? Why did the previous owner think it was a good idea to plant bamboo! I’ve been working out here 6 hours and have only managed to dig 5 holes. Roots everywhere!

Fast forward to 2022, and our Lenten theme is Restoration. As a worship team, we were talking about the beautiful metaphors we could use to illustrate God’s restoration: mended pots, restored furniture, classic cars, and, of course, gardening came up. I still struggle with gardening, and it has never felt like a restorative experience for me – but I know someone who has the opposite view, Laura Sennott.

Laura is our Hospitality Coordinator, and she has a deep love and passion for her garden. She even started the Instagram account @roomforflowers (check it out) in which she shares the beauty found in her garden and gardens throughout the city. So, I sat down with her to get the scoop on why she feels so spiritually connected to her garden. Rather than trying to explain the spiritual restoration to me, she shared some practical lessons she’s learned over the years.

5 Lessons Learned from Laura's Garden

  1. Do no harm
    Don’t try to control or force the garden to do your will, you are in a coop with God’s creation.
  2. Death brings life
    Some things must die for other things to grow.  When you think all is said and done, there’s more to the story.
  3. One step at a time
     The garden only happens one step at a time – don’t let the project overwhelm you.
  4. Never give up
    Sometimes you do everything you’re supposed to do, and it still doesn’t work. That’s okay; keep trying.
  5. We’re better together
    The gardening community is so helpful, and they want to see beauty in the world. It’s taught me to open myself up to receive help. I don’t know everything, and I don’t have to do it on my own.

These were all lessons that I needed to hear, not just to help me in my garden, but to help me spiritually, mentally, and physically. I started to get it. Laura’s garden has changed her life outside of the garden. Her garden has revealed how God’s restoration happens in the world. It helps center her and reminds her to pay attention to the little things because the little things help her remember God’s big picture. With a smile on her face, she said, “There is something magical about planting a seed. When you let go of entitlement and ownership, unexpected beauty pops up in the most interesting places.”

I don’t know if I’ll ever be a gardening guru like Laura, but I want to better recognize the magic of restoration in the nature outside my window. God is at work in big and small ways, and we can see it if we know where to look.

Check out some of the beautiful pictures from Laura's garden to see God's magic at work.

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