What memories do you savor this morning? Are there good memories of a grandmother that make you smile? Did she teach you even as she loved you? Praise God for loving and faithful grandmothers!
She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
Proverbs 31:26 – NIV
I can still see her standing there, garden hose in hand, watering her flower beds as the summer sun slid down behind the crest of the hill. My grandmother adored her flowers, and boy, did she have a green thumb! She could make anything grow.
I realize now that I don’t really know whether the flower gardening was a retirement hobby for her or a passion she pursued in her younger years as well. My memories of the white clapboard farmhouse always include flowers. Whether showcased in the flower beds that surrounded the house or in the collection of pots that adorned the front porch, her plants bore healthy foliage and gorgeous blooms.
My favorite flower bed was the one filled with dahlias and Xenia’s. It was a kaleidoscope of color sure to impress, its beauty no doubt benefitted from inhabiting the ground that was once a chicken coop!
A high school biology teacher and farmer’s wife, Grandmama had a wealth of knowledge about how to make things grow. When I turned a teenager, I started taking an interest in her plants, and she, ever the teacher, was more than happy to share some of her botanical secrets. As she made her watering rounds, I tagged along, learning as I went. She commented on one plant, and then another, impressing me with the Latin names for most of the plants in her gardens.
I loved our little chats as we moved about the yard, watering and admiring her flowers. Looking back, I guess that’s where my passion for gardening began, although it took me until retirement to really pursue it.
At the bak of her house, she had a small bed filled with canna lilies. Their coral blooms stretched toward the sky, making me smile as I peered out my bedroom window.
Several years after my grandmother’s death, my aunt and uncle moved into the old homeplace. On one of my visits to the farm, my aunt offered me a few of the canna bulbs to take home and plant in my yard. I was thrilled at the prospect, and upon arriving home, planted the bulbs in the bed that skirts the bank of windows on my back sun porch.
Twenty five years later, not only are the canna still blooming outside my sunporch, but the plants have grown so tall and thick that we have divided the bulbs countless times, transplanting them in new spots. What began with eight bulbs from my grandmother’s backyard now covers multiple beds in my yard and even my neighbors.
When I look out my sunporch window and see those gorgeous coral blooms, I think of Grandmama. Not only do I remember her green thumb, but I recall her keen intellect, strong work ethic, delicious food, and gracious hospitality. More than that, I remember her faith, an unwavering faith that saw her through countless trials in the course of her journey. The roots of her faith grew deep in her Scots-Irish Presbyterian heritage, and she nurtured that faith in me.
Her life lessons covered far more than botany. She taught me about living through adversity. She shared her hope in Christ, a hope that did not waver despite difficult circumstances. She treasured the bonds of family, and passed that deep love of kinship along to me. Her love for me came through, not so much in hugs and kisses, but in her time, attention, and teaching. In passing on her knowledge and wisdom, she passed on her love.
My canna are amazing this summer, with thick lush foliage and bright coral blooms galore, towering far above my head. All these years later, they continue to grow and multiply, not to mention bloom voraciously. It’s as if part of Grandmama remains here with me, but plants or not, I know that to be true. For with me, Grandmama’s faith, hope and love remain, solid and strong as if I were seated beside her on the front porch admiring her flowers.
Today, may you and I send forth our roots deep down into the soil of God’s marvelous love. May our faith grow strong, thriving, multiplying, stretching toward the sky. May the brilliant blooms of our hope stand tall and radiant for all to see. Let us spread the love of God far and wide, bringing hope and peace to a world that needs it so.
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
1 Corinthians 13:13 – NIV
O Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of loving women who taught us the faith. May the roots of that faith take hold in us, making us grow tall and strong in Your love. May we spread that glorious love to all those we encounter that they also might learn the lessons of faith. Thank You for being our Faithful Gardener, constantly tending to our needs and bringing beauty out of what You so lovingly planted.
In the Abundant Name of Jesus, we pray,