Friday, March 27, 2015

Filling In The Blanks

Two years ago I had a small area just outside my kitchen window fenced in.  The white lattice work fencing framed with redwood turned out very well, creating a charming view. But as is often the case in life - or at least in the gardening life - as soon as the fence was finished I realized that the space it enclosed had some major blank spots.

Of course, you might logically ask, had I not noticed this previously?  Actually not.  This area already contained a fifteen feet tall mock orange shrub, a large oleander and two big lilacs, one with white blossoms and the other one with lavender.  Thus, I had four large shrubs in the space, and I had thought that those would suffice as "anchor plants" (I am learning all this gardening vocabulary from my garden books) while I studied which plants to use to fill in the rest of what I was now calling my "kitchen garden."

I must woefully acknowledge that my gardening rhetoric gets ahead of my green-thumb skills.

Many dozens of plantings, and two full growing seasons later, I am still trying to fill in the blank spots.  I've thrown zinnias, candy-tuft, columbine, coreopsis and anything else I could lay my hands on, into the gaping void.  I still see bare spots when I gaze out my large kitchen window.  Phooey!
Selecting Plants for a Small Garden - Photo: © Marie Iannotti
This is not a picture of my garden - just an ideal to which I wistfully aspire.
God placed man and woman in a garden from the get-go to bless them.  But once disobedience happened, well they left the rest of us struggling with thorns, thistles and blank spots ever since.  What were they thinking?
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Then day before yesterday I came up against an entirely different kind of blank spot.

It was Wednesday, so for me that means I am at the local women's community Bible study, teaching a class.  They are such a good group of women, and I enjoy their company more than I can tell you.

We were sailing through the Jennifer Rothschild study on Walking By Faith:  Lessons Learned in the Dark when suddenly I came upon a ____________ that I had neglected to fill in.  I paused to glance down at it as several class members were participating in a discussion of the previous point.

The room became quiet as they looked at me to begin the next discussion point.  But I was having a senior moment.  So I just said, "I don't quite know why, but I didn't fill in this ... this ... what do you call those?"  

Puzzled looks and more silence.

"You know", I said pointing to the empty line on the page in my workbook, "these lines like this one."

One really feisty little lady with a wonderful sense of humor and a ready laugh responded with a big smile, "Marsha, do you mean blanks?"

"Yes!  Just like I am now." I said laughing.

Then we all laughed... and laughed and laughed.  We guffawed and belly-laughed.  We chortled and chuckled.  We laughed until we cried, and then we mopped our eyes as we settled into those snuffly little hee-hees you just can't help after a good long laugh.

Oh, by the way, did I mention that the lesson title for this week was "Remembering God's Word"?  Seriously, I cannot make this stuff up.

 Not exactly comedy central material, I'll admit.  But oh, the shared sense of "me too - I do that all the time" was soooo refreshing.
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Whether it is filling in the blanks in the garden, or filling in the blanks in a workbook or in our memory banks, God is still the answer to the bare spots in our lives.  He laughs with us not at us, and he weeps with us, too.  

So let's remember (when we can) and just trust (when we cannot remember) that:

Strength is for service, not status. (Romans 15: 2 - The Message)

and even more importantly

Remember, you aren't feeding the root; the root is feeding you.
(Romans 11:18 - The Message)
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So whether you are gardening, teaching, or relaxing today, may you rest in His strength and be fed from the Root.  Until next time, Marsha - your grateful gardener


  1. :) Too funny!
    I hate blanks too. In our bible study they gave us the answer sheet so we didn't focus too much on the blanks, and could pay attention to the lecture!

    1. Mari, Well, good for somebody in your class. They are certainly one (or several) ahead of moi. :) Blessings to you.

  2. I'm glad I'm not the only one with senior moments. And songs...hubby and I will hear a song that we loved from our youth and can't remember the artist. Drives us nuts! Loved hearing about your awesome Bible study class. A nice fit!

  3. Ah, yes, it's so good to know "we're not the only one." So, so cute and made me chuckle too. Love moments like this. Happy week!

  4. Chuckling in recognition! I was having a conversation with my sister this morning and I kept drawing a _________! I'd call them senior moments, but they happen more frequently than that. Maybe senior weeks???

    Loved this: "God is still the answer to the bare spots in our lives."

    Yes, He is indeed. He fills us up to overflowing.