Monday, July 25, 2016

The Greenhouse: Where Fantasy Meets Reality

Three years ago (maybe four), I saw an ad in a discount tool store sale catalog, and thought I'd found a way to fulfill my lifelong dream of having a greenhouse. 

To be perfectly honest, I wanted a greenhouse that was a "glass house". I imagined a lush tropical garden inside, the sweet fragrance of flowers filling the air year-round. I anticipated starting plants from seeds on my workbench, and growing herbs and vegetables, even in the winter. In this fantasy greenhouse, I'd have a table and chairs so that my friends could join me for prissy-girl-lunch-parties. The fun we would have! I couldn't wait. 

What I bought was a $600 box of parts with a set of directions that didn't quite match up. The frame was aluminum and the panels were flimsy and definitely not glass.

I was not quite ready to give up the fantasy, so I hired someone to do the ground work and gravel floor. More hundreds of dollars.

The gravel floor looked so good that I hired someone to assemble the whole mess (AKA kit). I don't want to be negative about my employee, but, to put it simply, he could neither follow the directions nor complete the project. In his defense, they were terrible directions.

At last, I begged my tall nephew to come help me finish the assembly. Unfortunately, the aluminum frame had been bent a bit during the non-direction-following days, and it never did go together perfectly.

I finally proclaimed it perfect (even though it wasn't) and filled it with shelves, a work bench, seeds, and pots. 

Then, the first storm came and I spent part of the next day picking up panels and replacing them. I put the clips that held the panels back in a more secure manner. I was sure it would hold.

It didn't. 

Two years went by. The storms came. The panels blew off. 

I put them back on with dogged determination and caulked them in place. They blew off. Over and over again. 

Finally, I wore out. The roof panels were too high and I couldn't get them back in before the coming storm. In desperation, we tied a big blue tarp onto the greenhouse and left it for the winter.

By this time, my fantasy had crashed and burned, but I still wasn't ready to give up. Yes, I have literally given the talk on perseverance.

The Hired Hand had a great idea. I should buy some tarp straps to hold the panels in place. I bought the best ones I could find, but they wouldn't stretch far enough. We were out of solutions. 

The Hired Hand finally offered his opinion. We should tear it down and burn it. I still wasn't ready to give up.

Finally, more to humor me than anything else, he suggested I try bungee cords. I just shook my head. After the blue tarp and the failed clips, I didn't have any hope for bungee cords. Since it was my last hope, though, I finally gave in and bought a dozen cords. 

I tried to attach them, but they wouldn't stretch.

I was utterly dejected. After all those hundreds of dollars, all those hours spent reattaching panels and clips, and all the tubes of caulk I'd squirted out, it seemed like I should have a better outcome.

One Saturday morning, I woke with great resolve. I would not be denied. 

I hauled my ladder from the barn, enlisted Sam to hold it, and climbed up with my bag of bungee cords. We worked for hours, stretching bungee cords, praying fervent prayers for help, and sweating as I tugged the cords and begged them to reach across the panels.

After what seemed like weeks, but was only a few hours, Sam and I were drenched in sweat but the cords were in place. The panels seemed secure.

Then, the storms came. The wind blew. The rain poured down. To my absolute amazement, the panels held secure.

They are still in place, the bungee cords hugging them to the frame. For now. Bungee cords, as you've probably guessed, are not a long-term solution. My panels seem secure right now, but they aren't.

I don't know about you, but I've found that life is a lot like those greenhouse panels. More flimsy than you expect, and apt to fly apart at the least little storm. There is nothing this world offers than can hold our lives together when the winds and rains of adversity beat down.

There's nothing that will hold us together, that is, except the no-slip grip of the hand of God. If your life seems frazzled and flying apart, maybe you need the security of the One who created this world and everything in it. The One who sustains the universe and keeps the stars in the sky. 

No matter what comes our way, our God can see us through, hold us together in the worst of times, and bring good from all the bad things we face.

Today, let's stop looking at the storms and turn to the One who made the wind and the waves. The One who calms both the storm and the child in the storm. 

Turn to Jesus and let Him handle whatever you face.

"And he got up and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, "Hush, be still." And the wind died down and it became perfectly calm." Mark 4:39 NASB

"And He is before all things and in Him all things hold together." Colossians 1:17

"I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand ." John 10:28 esv

In case you missed it, here's the link to yesterday's post: The Frog Surprise and Having an Egyptian Heart

Here's the link to the prayer guide: The Prayer List 

You might also like these greenhouse stories:
Digging, Ditches, and Water
The Blessing of the Busted Pipe 
In But Not Inside 
The Greenhouse
Making Preparations
Answered Prayers in Disguise

#stormsoflife #disciple #greenhouse