Over the years we’ve come to appreciate and learn from a plethora of observances and celebrations we may not necessarily have grown up with but are now cultivating inside our own family nucleus. Though in my own childhood my family celebrated Easter, we didn’t make a habit of walking through Lent. This came as something new for our family and has morphed over the years with how we’ve chosen to use our forty days to bring meaningful and thoughtful reflections, and a focus on slowing down in order to do that. It was never the same each year, nor did it even happen one year at all when slowing down wasn’t allowed in our headspace in the chaos we were living and breathing on a day to day basis. But it’s beautiful that Grace is like that…accepting us in the chaos with no expectations for doing, or getting it all right or having it all together.
We’ve borrowed from books, guru bloggers, and friends to help us enrich this season with reflection and a slowing down. And I admit I was a bit of an Ann Voskamp stalker (though my hubby still thinks I am since I was so excited to find I live not an hour’s drive from the city she calls home). True confession: I’m still secretly hoping to bump into her at the Farmer’s Market one day. Certainly these above pics are evidence of my early I wanna-be-like-Ann days of trying to copy what a friend and I deemed, “Ann pics,” particularly those famous shots of just feet. You’ve no idea how many I have now.
I loved her dig in the dirt idea to create one’s own Grace garden, so our family decided to take on this project a few years ago to “put something where our eye can see it so our heart will remember” (Martha Zimmerman quote). Walking through the garden of Gethsemane is a reminder of Christ’s falling on his face there in the garden before God, pleading “not my will but yours be done.” (Luke 22:42) It’s a reminder of the grace extended to us because of his suffering and sacrifice. So we chose to remember by making our own version of the garden, where we’d daily be able to see and be reminded of Grace.
We found a large stone with a bit of a groove in it to use as the tomb, sealing it with another rock with the words GRACE written on it. We used rocks from our outdoor garden to line the path toward the tomb, adding moss and plants, and a glass dish with water set into some of the soil as a pond. We attached two nails together for the cross and placed it in front of the rock.
We have used different books each year to walk through devotionals for Lent, but this activity from one I chose to show above, Trail to the Tree, included seventeen spiritual paintings to download for hanging on a vase of sticks, and walked through seventeen days leading up to Pasch/Pesach/Easter.
Since plants aren’t allowed in cross border resettlement, we sent this one pictured above off to a good home, and will now seek out some new plants at the nursery to make another Grace garden for this season of Lent. If any of you also use Grace gardens in your season of Lent, or decide to do so this year, please do share the photos with us all. I would love to see and share your garden creations here on the blog.