Walk with God in the Garden

“How are you doing these days, honey?”

“Things are really good, Dad. I feel like I’m finally getting a handle on motherhood. Avery is finally sleeping better, but after this past year of health problems, I feel like I’m just holding my breath waiting for the next thing.”

It was spring of 2014, and I had just gone through one of the most difficult times of my life. A difficult pregnancy, vertigo, job loss, a death in the family, a (deeply not-desired but beautiful nonetheless) C-Section, postpartum infection, two months of antibiotics and wound healing, a difficult-to-soothe baby…my life was a hot mess!

But God met me in the valley of that mess. I remember sobbing in the middle of the night, holding my baby, and struggling with pain and all of the overwhelm (any other first-time mamas been there?), and in the middle of the night, God showed up.

He brought verses to mind. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart…” “…And the peace of God will transcend all understanding and guard your heart and mind in Christ Jesus…” He sent family and friends my way who offered to sleep overnight so I could feed Avery and hand her off to be rocked to sleep while I crashed. I didn’t cook a meal for 3 months! God wrapped his loving arms around me in my moment of brokenness.

So when life got normal again, I wondered if I had to choose between dark times and more of Jesus’ goodness, or settle for a comfortable life with God on the periphery.

My dad nodded in agreement as he listened to me, and then said, “Yeah, I think it’s easy for us to cry out to God when we’re in trouble, but the Bible tells us a different story about our Father’s heart toward us as his children:

“In Genesis, we see God walking with Adam in the cool of the day, talking face-to-face with him in pure relationship. Not because Adam desperately needed him in a time of trial. There was no sin or sickness yet! Our Father’s primary desire since the beginning of time has been to walk with us in peaceful places and listen as we share our lives with him. His hope is that we feel his unconditional love and live life out of that love, instead of trying to earn it.

“Will he use trials to get our attention? Yes. Will he come through for us when we cry out to him? Yes! But he desires for us to come to him with a ‘garden mentality’, day in and day out, sharing life and seeking his face.”

My dad was right. In that moment I could remember lots of times where I vividly felt the presence and love of God, and they usually happened right in the middle of momming. I wasn’t doing anything amazing, and I wasn’t crying out to God in desperation. I was just living life, and God showed up with huge blessing and overwhelming love.

This reminded me of how much God’s love is unconditional — no matter what and no matter when. God loves me not because I do something right or in spite of what I’m doing wrong. He loves me because he loves me. And he wants to walk with me in the garden…even if my garden right now is loud and messy and imperfect.

Journal / Reflection Question

Have you felt God’s unconditional love towards you lately? Ask God to show you how he really feels about you today. You might be surprised at how little disappointment and condemnation you hear, and how much deep, enduring love you find.

Danielle is a mom to two (soon to be three!) girls & has been married to her husband for 8 years. She works part-time as a nurse at the VA Medical Center & enjoys eating out and lake vacations. Normally a sane individual, she is currently spending the better part of her third trimester potty-training her 2-year-old (send the bleach wipes!).