Posted by: Kara Luker | March 7, 2018

Patience in gardening (and life)

When I first planted the bougainvillea plants in my yard, they couldn’t have been more than a foot tall. I tied their wee limbs to the bottom of the wooden arch that gets bathed in sunlight, watered them faithfully and waited for growth that just didn’t seem to happen. I wondered how they could ever make it up the sides of the arbor, no less meet at the top, particularly in the hands of such an unskilled gardener as myself. Even if they did grow, it seemed unlikely that their pace would allow us to enjoy them before leaving our rented house.

My neighbor Ruth, whose half-acre beams with life and beauty, was over in my small garden one day. Her response to my doubts about my bougainvillea’s future was “oh yes, they take a while to get established.” It was such a relief to realize that the slow start was not a failure on my part, but simply the nature of what I planted.

Jump ahead a couple years (we’ve lived here way longer than anticipated) when the first of two small branches met at the top of the arbor. The plants were still mostly leaves with sparse flowers, but it was such a joyous occasion that I grabbed John from inside to witness the miracle. I felt like we could now move from this house because this long-awaited delight had happened. But I am so glad we stuck around a few months longer, because those plants are now so established they’ve gone a bit wild and are covered with brightly colored blossoms that make me smile every single day.


Ever since Ruth made that statement and I’ve watched the truth of it play out, I have wondered about some of the things God has planted in my life and yours. Maybe we have become discouraged by the painfully slow pace of the growth of these dreams. Maybe we feel pressured because of a predetermined time frame or doubtful because we believe they are dependent on some magic touch we lack.

But what I know is that God is a master gardener. He knows the nature of what He’s planted, He knows the beauty that’s going to come from it, and He isn’t worried for a moment that it’s taking too long. So what I’m learning to do is rest in the golden warmth of His love and drink up the water of His word while He works to establish the good and joyful things He has created me for.




    • Well said June!

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