My Shrug, God’s Shrub

There’s this shrub in our yard.

When we moved in, it was bare like everything else. I couldn’t figure out what it was, or what to do with it.

So, while I learned about our other plants and began tending garden, this shrub was left for God to manage.

It was a harrowing experience. My off-green thumb worried and fretted as spring began and the shrub showed no signs of life. Perfectly placed, I didn’t want to have to dig it up.

Come late spring, leaves were still MIA.

In a moment of fretting, I took shears and trimmed back a few dry sprigs in hope I’d wake up soon and find beautiful flowers. If I did, I’d finally know what to do with the mysterious shrub.

By early summer, green began to line the branches (even where I hadn’t pruned.)

Soon two gleeful brown birds were daily swooping in to rest in its branches. Mr. and Mrs. Brown feasted on whatever the shrub dropped to the ground below.

Still, it hardly filled out. A woodpecker visited routinely, and I was tempted to blame him as the culprit who killed the shrub. 

But finally, in late summer, the flowers bloomed.

They were purple and brilliant. It was more than I could have hoped for. The mystery was solved. I had a Rose of Sharon, and she took her sweet time coming along.

To my surprise, the allure of the shrub wasn’t just in its blooming. I was soon delightfully startled by a new color on the shrub. Bright, intricately patterned butterflies were ducking in and out of the blooms as they opened to greet the sunlight.

Then another pair of birds- smaller, faster, humming as they went, began daily visits to the magenta blossoms and the sweetness they produced. Their fluttering around its fringes made the shrub look like hospitality itself.

From my sun soaked chair I sat and delighted in the daily reminder:

This is God’s world to tend, adorn, and care for. He’s very good at it! Click To Tweet

(And He doesn’t need me to run the world.)

This is grace and joy and peace:

To know the maker of all is the caretaker, the grower, the guaranteer. That what He tends to WILL be fruitful and beautiful.

(And He doesn’t need me to make things happen.)

This is hope:

The one who lovingly feeds the birds and butterflies, the one who clothes the flowers so gloriously, cares for you and me.

(And we don’t have to earn it anymore than the shrub in my yard did, or fuss over it as if we’re the ones who give growth either.)

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16 Replies to “My Shrug, God’s Shrub

  1. I love when God teaches us such wonderful and precious lessons through the practical things we do such as tending our landscaping. They always prove to be so powerful.

  2. Yes! So often I’m trying to manage things (it seems to be what I do in the rest of my life, why not with my faith?) But God is so gracious and gentle, still loving me as I scribble outside His lines.

    I love this: “And He doesn’t need me to run the world” AMEN!!!

  3. What a lovely surprise to get the blooms. I love when God does things like that for us. “And He doesn’t need me to make things happen.” 🙂 I need these reminders often! Thanks, Bethany.

  4. Bethany! I love a good gardening analogy, and of course I am so proud of you for leaving the shrub alone and letting nature take its divinely directed course. I think your off-green thumb is getting greener by the day. 🙂

    1. Thank you for the encouragement, master gardener friend! I also transplanted a plant recently…and it still bloomed! There’s another lesson in there, I think.

  5. What a beautiful reminder that God works on His own schedule, not mine. I don’t know best, He does. I loved this: “(And He doesn’t need me to run the world.)” I forget that sometimes!

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