Winter rest and restoration
Into the Garden …
Spending time in the garden during the winter months, over the years I have become aware of the winter season in nature being a season of letting go and resting. Trees and many other plants have become dormant and stopped actively growing. Low sunlight, reduced day length and a drop in temperature slows down a plant’s metabolism, giving way to rebuilding worn-out cells and reconditioning tired tissues. Every year you will have watched deciduous trees such as oaks, sycamore and ash being stripped of their leaves to conserve moisture and help withstand winter gales. I am amazed about the perseverance of evergreen trees in keeping their leaves in winter, but they do have specialised leaves which are resistant to cold and moisture loss.
Gardening our hearts …
We too need seasons of rest, especially in this age which in many ways demands frenetic activity and over busyness. We need both physical rest where we can come away and have time with God and be refreshed in our souls, and spiritual rest which comes from allowing God to take the reins and understanding the security he gives us when we enter into his Covenant rest.
It is very difficult for most of us to take a day out just to do nothing. Circumstances of life rarely allow it. However In my life’s journey through my enjoyment of walking and being in my garden, I have sensed God’s calling to become more aware of the beauty of my surroundings, the particular character of the season and the behaviour of plants and animals, and to recognise that they can teach us about some of the important issues of life.
How you can take breaks from your busy schedules and spend time resting in God’s presence? Read a Psalm, especially Psalms 23, 46, 62 and 147, and ask God to show you where you need rest and restoration. Read Psalm 147 and pick out the verbs which describe all the good things that God promises to his people.
Caroline Steel February 2016