Dec 28, 2012

the Desires of our Hearts

Years ago, my friend Julie, told me to pray. 

Pray not for money or specific things,  but pray for the essence of what I wanted.  
I thought to myself, "Wouldn't that be selfish?"    
...Then she said "God wants to give us the desires of our hearts."  

"the desires of our Hearts."

At the time, I was recovering from a painful divorced.  
It had been a very difficult time heart was broken.
Working full time, juggling a career, I was busy taking care of a 4 year old boy.  
I always prayed for my son, I prayed for our needs…but never for "wants".    

Short on money, in reality there were so many things we needed...   
like a new roof for the house.   

Like many mothers, I had been neglecting myself,
neglecting my soul and the things I needed or wanted.  
So, I thought about what my friend had said.....
What were the "desires of my heart"?     

A husband?   
No, I kind of messed that one up and 
I knew I should focus on my son....
a new roof? 
No, that was a need, and too specific.  

I really wanted a garden...
but, I couldn't afford a beautiful garden.  
(I am picky picky pinky.  It would need to be an extraordinary garden, with texture and color and year round interest.  Not an ordinary garden.  No, the garden of my dreams would be way too expensive and frivolous to even consider. There was no way I could ever justify or afford the garden of my dreams, especially now after a divorce.  I would just have to give up that dream...

but the words of my friend kept playing in my mind...God wants to give us the desires of our hearts.) 

I decided to pray for a beautiful garden.  I wanted someplace where I could pray, and nourish my soul.  A garden offers results from ones efforts. 
I felt close to God in my garden.   Plants made me happy, there is something about tending a garden that makes your soul feel joyful and healthy.  It also inspires my work.

 It seemed selfish to pray for a beautiful garden,
 but it was on my heart and was an authentic desire.  
I prayed for a Beautiful Garden.

The next day, a wind storm knocked down my fence.
The storm caused a huge tree to fall on my house and garden. It put a big hole in the roof. The tree, limbs and damage crushed most of my plants.  My garden was a mess, and now the roof and my house were a mess, too. 

Discouraged,  I thought,
"God, this wasn't what I had in mind".   
I cleaned up the broken branches.  
The good news was that insurance covered a new roof.   
I gave thanks to God and thought,  
" how creative is God ".  

Then thoughts turned to my mess of a garden.
I was lamenting about the garden problem to a man I had just begun to date.  
He said, "I can help you rebuild your fence".  He told me to design the fence of my dreams and he would build it.  This man was kind and creative .....and could fix things!

I love design.
Thoughts turned to the large window in my living room.  The view from this window was a huge dark wooden fence.  I'd always wanted to see the garden from my living room.  

Doug suggested a see through design, 
an open fence design with a big open gate 
to view the garden from the living room.   

We designed an arts and crafts kind of fence with an interesting pattern, see-through  with copper detail.  We designed it so that you could view the garden from the living room.   (ok, so it was the destroyed garden; first steps first) 

The Gate.
I called iron companies.  It cost a small fortune to have a gate made like the one I had envisioned. Doug suggested we go to Architectural Salvage, a local shop for old salvaged materials.  We found a gorgeous iron gate with beautiful scroll work, it was embellished with birds and vines with a beautiful patina.  No one had wanted this oversized gate. It was on sale.  The gate fit our design perfectly because Doug built the fence around the gate. We found vintage hardware that complimented the gate.  Again, I called around and found companies that solder, but they wanted hundreds of dollars put the hardware on the gate.  Finally, we found a man soldering parts for Autos.  We took the gate to him.   He said the gate had inspired him and it renewed his spirit.   It was such a beautiful piece of work he told us he would solder it for free.  (Doug tipped him ; )

The gate really was breathtaking.   

Kind friends had heard about what had happened to all my smashed plants.
They brought divisions from their gardens, bulbs and clippings.  
It was fall and I had pruned my damaged garden to the ground. I would put these new plants in the ground just to survive the winter, then replant in the spring when I could see what was what. Plants were randomly put here and there, depending upon where I could see an opening.

I cleaned up tree branches, and cut back all the broken bushes and plants.
Trees were trimmed so they wouldn't become diseased.  

Winter came.  
Through the garden gate,  
I enjoyed looking at the snow covered garden through the window.  
The trees began to have beautiful willowy shapes, 
dark branches against the pure white snow. 

One spring morning as I sipped coffee and gazed out the window, I saw a beautiful light streaming into the garden.    I couldn't believe my eyes.    

Spring growth!  As I walked into the garden I noted how shockingly gorgeous, full and breathtaking was the new life that surrounded.    It was not ordinary.....  It was extraordinary!

I breathed a prayer of deep gratitude.  "God, Thank you!  This garden is amazing!"
Light was streaming in, birds were singing....the trees had been pruned and had taken on beautiful shapes, letting in more light, and blooming plants in an amazing array of color filled the garden.
It was as though the most talented designer, the most brilliant artist 
in the world had hand painted my garden.
...I became profoundly aware of how God is the most amazing Artist.
God is the designer of all good things!
God hand painted my little garden!
It was perfect. 

God had pruned my garden and caused it to thrive! 
God's creativity is limitless.  

God knew my plants had needed more light.
Now, the colors and textures were truly breathtaking.
Soft grey greens contrasted with the dark greens, beautiful against vibrant yellow greens.  I knew I could never have planned this garden.  The trees were pruned to allow for more light, yet they had the exact amount of shade needed to flourish. Plants and flowers were thriving.

I couldn't believe my eyes.  Not only did I receive this beautiful garden, but it served as a reminder of how God is working, pruning us, taking away the bad, allowing the good to grow, even when we don't see or realize what is happening.  

God is there, working for our best good.  
We just have to trust.  

And the great guy that built my fence?
Yep, that cute guy is the one I married.    
Through this garden gate I not only received a beautiful garden, 
but God's blessings.

...and a wonderful, creative, lovable, giving husband.

It was a reminder.
In the midst of adversity, God is working.

You may have just had your fence knocked over, your garden crushed, your limbs pruned….
but just wait and see what God has in store for you.

"Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart."  Psalm 37:3-5

~Becky Kelly 

I married Doug in 2002 and moved to a new home....I wonder? 
Yes,  I will pray for a beautiful garden.    

I wonder.... if I had prayed for something specific? Like a lilac or a rose bush?  
Would I have limited all that could have been?     
I've learned to pray for the essence of joy.  
To pray for good friends, family, love, good health, beauty surrounding...and a beautiful garden.

God's creativity is limitless.     



Annelies said...

Just coming home from Church and reflecting on the message. I told myself NO you must NOT go to the computer. You have to many things to do, but then I allowed myself ten minutes. I read your message as a prayer. I will now reflect on both messages that God has revealed to me. Thank you for taking the time to share your message, your life.....both have been an inspiration to me. Merry Christmas, and may your year ahead be filled with blessings from our loving God. XXX

becky kelly studio said...

Annelies, your post is beautiful and you made my day today. Thank you for posting. God is good.

wendy said...

Loved reading your message. I love gardening and wish I was able to do it all year round. Michigan weather does not permit it. Vintage items add a special touch to gardens...did you take your gate with you to your new home? God is wonderful and He does give us the desires of our heart! We have so much to look forward to! Thank you for sharing.

Susan said...

What a beautiful story! God is good, all the time! I once heard Lucy Swindoll talk about the "moments" of our lives...Are you having a good moment or a bad moment? she asked. The future is defined by moments in time, and you just never know! God is redemptive and creative and amazing! Thank you for sharing your story, Becky. Merry Christmas to you and yours!

Phyllis Harris said...

What a beautiful post, Becky! Thank you for the wonderful reminder that God is truly in everything...the good and the bad. All things work together for good for those who love Him. :) Happy New Year!

Lynn :-) said...

LOVE your story- it is a great reminder to trust God ALWAYS- when you can't trace His hand, trust His heart :) thanks so much for sharing, it's a beautiful story, like your art and you :)

Jackie @ Fred-and-Cissy said...

What a lovely post. Its a great reminder to bring my dreams to God and that He works in ways we could never imagine.

becky kelly studio said...

Wendy, gardening all year long sounds wonderful. I didn't take the gate with me, but my memories of it are strong. ;)

becky kelly studio said...

Thank you for all the lovely posts. :D