I’m Not Used to the Cycle of Death and Resurrection Yet

garden pic

Today I’m digging out 40 bulbs of garlic from our garden, a grape vine, and a blackberry bush. The latter two were birthday gifts for my wife 4 years ago.

We’ve been renting this home that we’re preparing to leave, and our landlord changed his mind about the raised bed garden and surrounding plants that I put in. He wants it all removed and reseeded with grass.

I took the phone call about the garden in a crowded café last Saturday, and I nearly broke down in tears at my table. I can’t tell you what that garden has meant for me, what it has done for my life and for my family, and what it symbolizes to me. I want to try to put it all into words someday, but for now I’m just feeling the ache of that loss.

If we want to move on to the next season of our life together as a family, we need to literally dig up the old stuff and leave this place as if we had never been here.

We’ve moved quite a bit since marrying back in 2002 and moving to Philadelphia. In 2005 we moved to Vermont. In 2009 we moved to Connecticut. In 2011 we moved to Ohio. In 2016 we will move to western Kentucky.

We’ve dug up so many things, packed so many boxes, and left so many people behind from each place. Each time I’ve clung to a promise from God that we were doing this living by faith thing, moving on to a place that we knew we needed to go. We trusted that new life could spring up in each new place we settled.

And so today we’re digging up the life we planted at our home in Ohio so that we can move on to the next thing. I’ve had plenty of chances to get used to this process of planting, uprooting, and moving on, the cycle of death that must precede resurrection and new life.

Among the Bible verses that I wish didn’t exist, there’s this one:

“Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.” John 12:24 NIV

There’s this cycle of life, death, and resurrection that spins on and on in our lives, and each time something comes to an end, I can’t help holding my breath and worrying about the next thing that follows. Will life come out of this loss? What will come next?

Today I’m looking backward at the past provision of God and all of the times that I didn’t think we would make it. As we stepped out in obedience into the great unknown, leaving behind what we knew for certain, we didn’t always find what we were looking for or wanted, but we learned that God was holding us. Isn’t that funny how we want God to hand over what we want, but then we find that God has only wanted us all along? I have pouted and fumed that God’s hands were empty when I reached out to him. Why didn’t God give me what I wanted when I wanted it?

Little did I know that God’s empty hands are there to hold us and to draw us near. When I asked God for the desires of my heart, he showed me that I’m the desire of his heart.


6 thoughts on “I’m Not Used to the Cycle of Death and Resurrection Yet

  1. Oh, my friend, as I sit and stare at the garlic I have nurtured through the winter, my heart hurts for you. As someone who has moved many, many, many more times than I would have liked, who has left friends and churches and houses I have loved, my heart hurts for you. And as someone who just loves you and your family, my heart hurts for you. Prayers for peace, for moments of joy, and for hope in this new journey.

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  2. We moved six times in seven years between 1994 and 2000. Before that and after we stayed in one place during our thirty-nine years of marriage. So, we’re really not “movers.” By that last move of the six I felt thoroughly stripped of roots, baggage, and ties that bind. Our oldest children had been scattered across several states, and I felt barren.

    Each place we arrived I would I put in a garden. It tore my heart out to leave the raspberries and the hard-earned fertile soil each time. The last move I went out in the cold November weather and dug up as much of our peppermint as I could squeeze into a bucket. All winter I watered it inside our home and transplanted it outside as soon as I could. It’s now been flourishing here for sixteen years. That peppermint helped. It truly did.

    Can you take some of your precious plants with you? Will anything survive the move to a new garden if you put it in sturdy buckets, keep it watered, and put it into Kentucky soil as soon as you can? I hope something can be salvaged. So sorry.


  3. I understand the value of a garden, not only for the practical reasons but the mental and spiritual. Through this change, though, came an abundant and sustaining harvest of words. Thank you for sharing them with us.


  4. Ed, this is painfully beautiful in the truth you shared today on your blog. My heart aches at the pulling up again of family, relationships, memories, gardens, hopes, and dreams. I’ve done it and I’ve gone through unwelcome changes too many times in my 50+ years. I can picture in my mind’s eye of God holding you and your family close on His large lap while you journey this road. I will pray for God’s Presence to rest on you and your family continually and to surround you with His healing encouragement, His love, and His guidance.


  5. This bit is so true for me: “As we stepped out in obedience into the great unknown, leaving behind what we knew for certain, we didn’t always find what we were looking for or wanted, but we learned that God was holding us.”
    This is what God has been showing me over and over as He calls me to step out into the unknown – that God is holding us, and therefore the rest (no matter what it is) can be borne. Our roots are important, but God has been teaching me to dig them and grow them into God. Although that doesn’t make the breaking away to a new place any less painful, it can help make it bearable. Wherever you go, God is there preparing the way for you. Remembering the times God has shepherded you through change before can be encouraging.
    “Before me, even as behind, God is, and all is well.” – John Greenleaf Whittier.


  6. There is no life without death, in fact the very reality of the Christian life is Life out of Death! We will never know the very Life of Christ if we do not share the death He died for me! I am reminded by your thoughts on this to Romans chapter 6 and verse 5 that if we have been planted in His death we will in that same manner know His Resurrection Life out of dying to ourselves and this old world. The old must past for the new to come! The True Christian life is Life out of Death! God bless!


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