Called by Name

This inchworm is measuring a flower in units of its own length – thus the common name – inchworm. Its scientific name – geometridae – also alludes to its measuring ability. I now know this name and the origin of the name because I have been participating in the 2021 Mountain True BioBlast. It is a friendly competition between our county and two nearby counties with similar bio diversity to determine how many different species of plants and animals can be recorded within a two week period.

I have enjoyed this so much! Most of my pictures have been taken in our own yard. We are blessed with such diversity here on Macktown Gap. I don’t know all the names – but the app we use on our phones – called iNaturalist – identifies the plant or animal BY NAME! It records the location as well. Not only have I had fun looking for as many different plants and critters as I could find, I have learned their names in the process.

This butterfly, named Great Spangled Fritillary landed on a flower called Butterfly Weed. Such an appropriate name.

Names are important. They not only give significance to something but often describe it as well. Instead of “look at those plants”, saying “look at that Jack-in-the-Pulpit” identifies and singles out one plant from among many others.

God gave Adam the task of naming all the animals and birds in the Garden of Eden – Genesis 2:19. The names of things has been important since the very beginning of creation.

As a teacher I worked very hard to learn the names of my students. I was not always good at remembering – but I really did try. It was important to me that each student knew they were unique and important to me. Knowing their name was a way for me to acknowledge them. (Kristen and Chelsea Cucumber are identical twins and they had to constantly forgive me for mixing up their names – as did twins Kristen and Kelsey Bradley) Now I have identical twin grandsons. Poor Amos and Tyler…..

But now, O Jacob, listen to the Lord who created you.
    O Israel, the one who formed you says,
“Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you.
    I have called you by name; you are mine.  Isaiah 43:1

I love that God tells us, His people, that He has called us BY NAME. He knows us, He formed us.

We are His.

Who Will See?

This year of 2020 has been a year of challenges. No matter where we live, or who we are, COVID 19 has affected our lives in some way, big or small. Some of these effects will end, hopefully soon. Some will continue because we have been challenged to see our lives and priorities in a new way.

As most of you know, because it is the theme of many of my posts, my “hobby” is gardening. I love working outdoors in our yard which is surrounded by woods. Being outside renews my soul and puts me in the mind-set of communing with my Heavenly Father.

Actually, it all started in a garden, didn’t it? Creation, relationship with our Creator, human’s fall into sin….. all began in a garden. I feel God’s presence most personally in our garden.

Phil and I work hard on tending our plants and keeping the weeds at bay. Because of COVID 19, we have been home much more this year. Meetings in our community, trips overseas, visits out of state, gatherings with friends – all have been cancelled. So, I found myself devoting more time to tending our garden than I ever have before.

The results of that work shows.

But who sees it?

The entrance to our home looks so lovely and inviting – but no one comes to visit.

I cut these flowers and arranged them, but no one was invited to share our table.

So, what is the meaning of all the work if no one sees the end result?

I “drag” Phil around the yard to see a new bloom. I obviously take pictures, but all you gardeners know that a picture does not touch the vibrancy of the color in real life, nor can a photo transmit the smell that emanates from the bloom. Pictures are a nice but incomplete image of the real thing.

So these thoughts caused me to contemplate my motivation for my gardening efforts. Do I do this work so it will be seen by others? Am I just acting on compulsion – driven by some unknown need to pull weeds? (some of my children think that is indeed the case)

Jesus teaches about our motivation for praying in Matthew 6: 5,6

“When you pray, don’t be like the hypocrites who love to pray publicly on street corners and in the synagogues where everyone can see them. I tell you the truth, that is all the reward they will ever get. But when you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father in private. Then your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.

Now gardening is not prayer, but I do view my gardening efforts as an act of worship, of tending God’s creation. These verses encourage me to continue tending, weeding, trimming, pruning, and nurturing. The point is not if anyone else sees it, the point is in the doing. God sees.

It does bring me joy to see plants flourish. There are probably many activities that we are currently doing that are not noticed, especially during these times of staying home and staying safe.

So, continue doing what pleases the Father, whether it is noticed or not.

#26 In My Garden with God

Full Disclosure: We have had family come, and some friends who have driven through the driveway. They have fed my extroverted soul as well.

Scattered Seeds

I was out raking up leaves and the dead parts of plants this afternoon. It was such a beautiful day! I came across the seed pods from butterfly weed and marveled again (as I do each year) how many seeds burst forth from one pod!

The silk carries the seed off in the breeze to find a resting place to germinate, if conditions are agreeable. Human intervention sometimes helps, or interferes – depending on one’s viewpoint. I usually take a handful of silk and seeds and find a sunny spot with loose soil and bury a few. I did so today.

Below is a picture of the butterfly weed in our yard when it was in bloom this summer – with the butterflies it attracts. It fascinates me when a butterfly the same color as the flower lands on one of the blooms.

Plants are finishing their growing cycle this time of year. If we weren’t familiar with this cycle it would be easy to assume that plants were dead or dying. Leaves fall off, no new blooms open up, stems turn brown and brittle.

Yet think of all the potential life there is in that small seed!

Sometimes our lives are like plants. We seem to be doing well, growing, producing flowers and fruit. Then situations and circumstances change and it seems that everything that was so full of potential and growth has now become dead and useless. The winter of life has arrived.

Jesus addresses this very issue in John 12: 24, 25. I like how the Message interprets these verses –

24-25 “Listen carefully: Unless a grain of wheat is buried in the ground, dead to the world, it is never any more than a grain of wheat. But if it is buried, it sprouts and reproduces itself many times over. In the same way, anyone who holds on to life just as it is destroys that life. But if you let it go, reckless in your love, you’ll have it forever, real and eternal.

There are times in our lives when we must let go of things or situations – in a sense let them die. Yet, that is often the very chance God has to renew that area of our life – even reproducing many times over what we thought was dead. Letting those seeds spring to life!

Just as I rake and throw away the old dead foliage in our yard, I must allow God to enter every area of my life and get rid of the old dead attitudes and habits so NEW life can take root.

 

In My Garden With God #21