A Better Plan

 

I planted my window boxes last night. The sun was setting through the trees, but the long summer light allowed me to work until almost nine. The cooler temperature was welcome, and I thought of farmers who used to work late into the night with a full moon.

It wasn’t until we moved away from the city to the country that I even started to notice things like longer days and moon phases. Did you know the sun rises and sets at different places throughout the year? I know, that’s how we get our seasons. It’s a scientific fact, but that’s all it was to me. Now I know that in the summer I can sit on my front porch with my coffee and see the sunrise, but come winter I have to be in the sunroom to see it (someone thought this through I think).

I’m late to plant my flowers this year. I am every year. The advantage is cheap plants, and I hit the jackpot at Lowes. Almost everything was marked down to a dollar, and I loaded up! Ferns, callium, New Guinea impatiens, creeping Jenny, sweet potato vine. I crammed my cart, and then I crammed my flower boxes. I’ll probably have to thin them out in a month or so, but for now they’re full and lush.

That is, two of them are. The third is empty save a small mound of what looks like weeds to the far left side. Last week as I prepared the boxes in hopes of filling them with flowers, I started to pull the “weeds” out until I noticed their roundness and then four small white and brown speckled eggs. Someone had been here before me.

The little brown wren is a faithful momma. She stares me down when I come close to check on her new babies. Only two of the four eggs have hatched, and I’m wondering if the other two are duds. But she doesn’t seem worried. She’s too busy with two hungry babes to care for and protect.

This morning I walk barefoot, coffee in hand around my messy garden. It’s my favorite ritual. The window box flowers are settling in and beginning to reorient and turn toward the warm morning sun. The baby birds stir when I come close and open their mouths asking for breakfast. I tell them their momma will be back soon. I walk the garden border looking for signs of new growth, contemplating new flowers to plant, and trying to decide if that’s a flower or a weed. Bending down I grasp a definite weed at it’s base and pull gently so as to uproot it from the damp soil.

All the while, my head is bursting with the analogies.

Weeds. Flowers. Growth. Rain. Sun. Roots and uprooting. They’re so familiar, they’re almost trite. But I always find them fresh with new lessons.

Today it’s intention. Mine and Momma Bird’s. My “late” plantings and her opportunity. My weeds and her home. My imperfect, messy garden and her two babies.

The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.
~Proverbs 16:9

It’s a small thing, but I know too well how “small” plans and desires quickly add up to frustrating, “failed” days. When I set my hope on my own plans for a day, week, month, year, or even a life, I set myself up for a discouraging fall at best and life full of frustration and futility at worst.

Another Proverb offers a better hope:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.
~Proverbs 3:5-6

As we consider our intentions and make our plans, we need to remember that they are only that . . . our plans. A sovereign, loving God, who works all things for the good of those who love Him (Rom. 8:28) and according to His own will (Eph. 1:11), promises to establish our steps and make our paths straight. That is a sure hope, and remembering it makes all the difference! When my plans go awry, I humbly accept His. And when mine are successful, I humbly give thanks.

Moving on from my window boxes, I take stock of my leftover bargain plants and last year’s containers scattered around my front porch. Around the corner and behind a bench is the standing planter that held a beautiful fern last year. I come closer and hear small peeps.

“Hello, baby. I’m sure your momma will be right back.”

 

Photo by Soner Eker on Unsplash

When Less Really Is More
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