Peace in the garden

For Dorothy McKinzie, a resident at Buckner Family Pathways in Lubbock, walking with Jesus was not at all foreign to her. Sitting in the quiet of a prayer garden while communicating with the Lord, however, has been a new experience.

In June, a group of employee volunteers from Papa John’s Pizza donated flowers in hopes of restoring beauty to the prayer garden at the Family Pathways campus. When Dorothy offered to care for the garden, it was an answer to prayer as the Family Pathways staff worried whether their busy schedules would accommodate the extra gardening hours.

Though Dorothy did not have much experience gardening, she felt inspired to learn. She had a feeling it would become fruitful. When she first began caring for the garden, she worked with a troubled heart. As the weeks went on, she worried about providing for her family, her employment situation and even considered leaving the Family Pathways program.

But there in the garden, she felt she could lay her worries at the throne of God. There she brought her brokenness and confusion to the Lord. She saw no signs of life from the plants, but still she watered and still she prayed. In response, the Lord began sweetly guiding her to feel a peace beyond comprehension. Slowly, the garden also came back to life.

“When I walked out here, it was like the garden had come alive,” Dorothy said. “I started talking to God, and he began to tell me, ‘Even though you can’t see it, you’re really growing.’”

For Dorothy, this garden has become less of a volunteer project and more of a refuge she can run to and experience complete oneness with God. The garden has come to symbolize the tender care God has in her life and others like her, proving he never abandons his children, but rather nurtures them and watches patiently as they grow in his love.

“I know I don’t have to be in the garden when I talk to God,” Dorothy explained. “But I like to talk to him there. I know he’ll always be here waiting for me.” 

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