A Winter’s Garden

a story about planting seeds and trusting God during winter’s passing..

We struck out one January afternoon to find the Missouri Botanical Garden buried beneath a bluish-gray winter sky.

The air was crisp and the walks were cool when we rumbled with our stroller baby to explore this winter garden.

I call the garden “Shaw’s Garden” out of childish habit.  I remember school field trip instructions:  The garden was built almost 200 years ago by philanthropist Henry Shaw. Teachers told me Shaw donated his thousand acres of beauty so visitors could come to the peaceful place.   

In January, Shaw’s Winter Garden was gray and sodden. It was full of a secret life, however, life stemming from the planting of a man so many years ago.The seed was planted and life continued, even in the darkness of cold times. Now, more than a hundred years later, we enjoy the beauty

…So it is with all winter gardens.

As God’s children, we all plant seeds.

We don’t always see them grow. 

My walk through Shaw’s Garden reminded me I need to trust God. In dark, cold times, He will care for what I’ve planted. Somehow, something will grow. 

Nothing you do for the Lord is ever wasted.

I’ve shared God’s Word with hundreds of children, teens and adults.  In all cases, some listened, some laughed, some sat silent, some rolled their eyes, some responded with anger.

Regardless of other’s responses or my discouragement, I taught, I spoke, I parented. I planted God’s garden to last through winter.

You may have also planted a winter garden. Cold paths can be discouraging…but let’s trust God with the spring.

Ironically,  when I stepped into the warmth of the Shaw’s Garden Museum, I was amazed to find pages of a book Henry Shaw wrote entitled, “Plants of the Bible”.

Businessman and philanthropist Henry Shaw took the time to meticulously catalog the plants we find in God’s Word. Henry Shaw, it would seem, read the Bible.

Shaw’s winter garden is different from his spring and summer garden which dazzles and almost overwhelms you with color and beauty.

The winter garden is deep and dark and dazzling with tall gray naked trees to shadow your walk . Shaw’s winter garden is full of promise.

Henry Shaw built his summer house in the country outside of St. Louis, Missouri in the 1800s. Inspired by the gardens of England, he created a beautiful oasis. 

While he was living, Henry Shaw invited others to walk his gardens, He studied the plantings and  wrote about the plants of the Bible.

Henry Shaw would never know I’d be marveling in the beauty of the wondrous garden he and God created almost 200 years ago.That’s what planting is all about. That’s what winter gardens are all about. You don’t always see the growth.

Walking Henry Shaw’s winter garden reminded me,

Nothing you do for the Lord is ever wasted.”

We’ve got to plant the seed.

We may never see the growth in our lifetime, but we trust God with the flower.

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