God’s loving hand in our garden of life Print
Everyday Faith

Everyday Faith column by Julianne Nornberg

I looked and saw for the first time today a beautiful sunflower in the backyard garden.

There it was, standing tall, cheerful, sunny, unexpected.

It was the same day I saw my oldest daughter laughing openly, loudly, and with complete abandon. Cheerful, sunny, unexpected.

How I reveled in that unexpected joy. Thank you, God, my heart sings, for I know these sunny days are limited, fleeting.

When had this sunflower taken root without my noticing? When had my daughter taken flight, become a jovial young woman with dreams and happiness of her own?

God’s love in our lives

All things of this life are of such seasons, all things ebb and flow in their passing, whether or not we are aware of them.

And whether or not we notice, God’s love flows through it all.

There have been times in my life during which I didn’t notice God at all. I was so busy changing diapers and wiping mouths and blowing noses that I couldn’t even see His great hand at work in my life.

But now during this new season of my life I am allowed to step back and breathe anew, to see firsthand how beautifully God has orchestrated my life into a gorgeous garden woven with such love and care unknown to human hands.

How lovingly He has cared for and guided my daughter toward teenhood; with such ease and finesse she now stands on the brink.

Have I taken a part in her growing? Of course. But God has been guiding the hands of the gardener. And for that I am eternally grateful.

For how can we take credit for that which is not even ours? Our dear children, who go off to school and to their homes and to their jobs and to their lives, are not ours, but God’s, given to us for a little while.

“I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him. So now I give him to the Lord. For his whole life he will be given over to the Lord” (1 Samuel 1:27-28).

Children are on ‘loan’

“Our children are only ever lent to us,” according to artist Carly Marie Dudley. “We never know just how long we will be able to keep them for. So kiss them, cuddle them, praise them, and hold them tightly. But most of all . . . tell them you love them every day.”

If we remember this more, how much more humbly would we interact with them, how much more carefully would we tend to them.

If we only see ourselves as God’s gardeners of our children here on earth, how much more thoughtfully would we care for these growing people who are not our own. For we want to return to the owner in good condition those whom He gave us to oversee.

So when I see my nearly teenage daughter laughing openly in the sunlight — with a new sunflower opening in the garden behind her — I simply thank God for both of them, for the joy of witnessing both beautiful surprises.

Julianne Nornberg, mother of four young children, is a member of St. John the Baptist Parish, Waunakee.