Julie Lyles Carr is on day 4 of filling in for Erica this week and is moving into Genesis for a look at some “spiritual gardening.” God is the ultimate gardener and sometimes we’ll find ourselves in situations and challenging times, but remember, He has a plan in which to use that for your best and to glorify Him.
You’re unique in the garden of God. Julie Lyles Carr
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Erica Parkerson: Welcome to The Bible for Busy People. I’m Erica Parkerson. This is the place where we meet up to read half a chapter of God’s word together and remember how loved we are. Jesus extends an amazing invitation to us in the Bible. He says, come to me and I WILL give you rest. This is us RSVPing: Yes!! to that invitation. So take a deep breath, and let’s get started.
Julie Lyles Carr: Welcome to The Bible for Busy People. I am guest hosting this week. My name is Julie Lyles Carr and I’m the podcast host here on the Purposely Podcast network for a little show called the All Mom Does podcast. I would love to see you over there at some point where we talk about all things, parenting, marriage, career, faith, all that great stuff. And I’m so honored to be a neighbor to The Bible for Busy People, a podcast Erica is usually the host of. And it’s where we take you through the word of God in about seven minutes a day, trying to break things down into bite size pieces into your busy schedule. Erica has graciously allowed me to guest host for a few sessions of this. I’m so delighted to be doing that today. We’re gonna jump back into the Old Testament. We’ve taken some time to look into the book of Acts and Luke and Ephesians, but today we’re gonna jump over to Genesis 2, there’s a passage there that I find pretty fascinating because it tells me a lot about how God creates and develops things in very specific ways.
So, let’s begin reading in Genesis 2 at the beginning of that chapter. “Thus, the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array. By the seventh day, God had finished the work he had been doing. And so on the seventh day, he rested from all his work and God blessed the seventh day and made it holy because on it, he rested from all the work of creating that he had done. This is the account of the heavens and the earth, and when they were created, when the Lord God made the earth and heavens. Now no shrub of the field had yet appeared on the earth and no plant of the field had yet sprung up, for the Lord God had not sent rain on the earth and there was no man to work the ground. But streams came up from the earth and watered the whole surface of the ground. The Lord formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being. Now the Lord had planted a garden in the east, in Eden, and there he put the man he had formed. And the Lord God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground, trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden, were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. A river watering the garden flowed from Eden. From there, it was separated into four headwaters.”
You know, I think that often we are so amazed by that passage of scripture. When we read about the creation of man and how God created man, from the dust of this planet that he had spoken into existence. And of course, that is fascinating, but there’s something in there that catches my eye. Now when I was a kid, my grandmother Lyles lived in Mississippi. And for a period of time, when I was young, she lived down on the coast of Mississippi in Pascagoula. And then when I got a little bit older, she moved back up to the central Mississippi area where she and my grandfather had farmed for several years. And she lived in this darling little house, and out back of that house was one of the biggest gardens you have ever seen. And in the front of her house were flowers. Flowers, flowers. She could grow hydrangeas that were the size of basketballs. Now I was a kid who was growing up in Southern California at the time, so you can imagine when we would come back to the humidity and the rain showers and the lushness of Mississippi, and I would see what my grandmother could grow and I would see all the neighbors she’d feed from all of the produce she was getting from her garden in the back, and all of the gorgeous flowers that were out in the front of her house.
I kept thinking one of these days I’m gonna have flowers like that. I don’t know why my parents aren’t growing stuff like that. This is incredible. So once I got married and started having some of my own kids and had my own little house, I was gonna garden, it was gonna be a thing. It was my destiny. My grandmother was the most amazing gardener ever. And so I tried. And friend, I tried, and I tried and I tried, I tried to grow all the things that I had seen her be able to grow. And it was a flop. I just, I could grow weeds that was about it, but I was just super challenged to grow anything of what she had been able to do into the level she’d been able to. And then I hit pause and I began to realize that all of these different plants require different conditions. Some of them needed dryer soil, some of them needed warmer soil, some of them needed more water, some of them needed less. It made me remember that my grandmother, after she would go fishing, would once she had scaled the fish and gutted the fish, she would go to certain plants and actually put some of that in the ground by those plants. She would put eggshells and coffee grounds around some of the other plants. And then it all started clicking for me. Oh, there are certain conditions in which things flourish and grow. And yet I had been comparing what I was trying to do in a completely different part of the country with of course a decided lack of knowledge, but I was trying to compare my results to what was happening in my childhood memories of my grandmother’s garden in a completely different part of the country with a completely different level of expertise and knowledge.
I feel that way in my own spiritual journey, sometimes. That I see someone that I so admire in the faith and their ability to do this, that or the other, whether it’s that they get up at four in the morning and they pray for two hours or they run this incredible kitchen ministry where they’re providing meals for the homeless or someone who has never missed a day of teaching Sunday school in 15 years or whatever it is. And I can start feeling like, well, shouldn’t my spiritual garden look like that. Shouldn’t I be able to do the things that they’re doing? But then when I go back into that passage in Genesis, it’s like, I feel God reminding me again, that he’s put me in different kinds of conditions and soil to flourish for what the purpose is he has for me, not that I’m to be looking to how everybody else is flourishing and making a difference in the kingdom in their way. So when I think about God as the ultimate gardener, when I think about the details that are revealed in Genesis two, about his irrigation systems for what he was planting on this earth, for the variety of things he was planting, and where and why for the way that even today in this gorgeous creation that God has given us to have dominion over and to take care of the various things that grow in various places, even. This country here in the United States, everything from what you can grow on the coast in Mississippi, to what you can grow in Seattle, Washington, it’s completely different. And when we honor that, when we honor that there are things about us that thrive and grow beautifully in certain conditions. And there are things that grow and thrive beautifully for other people in different conditions.
And that God gives us that indicator even in the very early days of his creation. How powerful that is to release ourselves from the bondage of comparison. So I hope that you’ll reflect back on that today, as you think about Genesis two, as you think about God planting his garden and what he put there and how specific he was in what was needed for those plantings, those creations to flourish. Just remember, you’re unique in the garden of God. There are unique things that make you flourish, that make you light up that may be different than someone next to you or someone in your church or someone in your small group. Embrace that because that’s exactly what our great gardener, our great God, has intended. Be blessed today, and I will see you tomorrow for another installment of The Bible for Busy People.
Thank you so much for listening to the Bible for Busy People. If you need prayer or you’re ready to go a little deeper in your faith, we’ve posted some resources for you in our show notes. We’d love for you to share this podcast with a friend and leave us a review. It helps us reach even more people with the hope of Jesus. This podcast is part of Purposely, a podcast network designed with practical podcasts to help you find and live in God’s purpose for your life. Find more podcasts that will recharge you at onpurposely.com.