Monday, April 3, 2023

Devotionals for the Heart: When God calls you to love Him and the earth

Loving earth and loving God
A devotional by Jessica Brodie

As someone who was born and raised in the city, gardening is absolutely foreign to me. But I’ve always admired it. Deep down, I have a secret fantasy of being a homesteader, and I’m certain if I lived centuries ago, I would’ve been a farmer’s wife—maybe a farmer’s wife who somehow figured out time to write books on the side, but definitely someone on a farm.

I’ve made a couple of minuscule attempts to garden over the years, but they all ended in disaster. I did grow a tomato once, but something ate the rest of them, and I don’t know what I did wrong, but the other vegetables didn’t grow at all. And while I managed to grow one or two dahlias, that was it. I know the problem was with me, of course. I didn’t have a lot of time in that season of my life, and I didn’t put in enough devotion and care to really do it properly. Also, I gave up too quickly.

But in the last few years, for a variety of reasons, I’ve become increasingly convicted that I need to start gardening. More than that, I’m feeling a deep sense that not only my family but all people need to start returning to our roots—literally. By this I mean growing my own food. I’m entirely too dependent on my grocery store for food. Yet our ancestors were not this way. And frankly, between the prices of eggs and the shortage of some grocery items that we saw during the pandemic and its aftermath, it’s kind of scary to realize how dependent I am on stores.

What happens if catastrophe hits? How will I eat? Will I even know how to feed my family? I know God will always provide, and my earthly life is just temporary, but I also want to be equipped to help take care of people as long as God has me on this earth, and while I’m living here, I want to do so responsibly and thoughtfully. And I feel like God is telling me I need to start learning how to do some of these things for myself.

So this summer I’m going to start baby steps toward a garden. I’ll try a few vegetables, and my daughter is really interested in growing some flowers. We’ll see what happens.

It’s completely out of my comfort zone, but I feel like it’s an act of love and faith and obedience to God. Most of the time when I think of love, I think of it in relation to other people, or maybe even to animals. I might think of it as how I relate to my family or those I encounter in my community, and it’s also the wider community of people all around the world. But love also includes the earth. I know God loves the earth because God created it. God intentionally spent much time handcrafting the land and the seas and the heavens, and when He created people, He tasked us to take care of the animals and the land, to manage it well for Him.

As the Bible says in Genesis 2:15 (NIV), “The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.”

I appreciate technology as much as anyone. I use a cell phone, a laptop, electricity, running water, air conditioning, a microwave and stove, a dishwasher … all things of my ancestors did not have.

But let’s face the truth: Many of us are far too disconnected from the natural way of things, myself included. There’s no substitute for touching soil or leaves, for planting our feet in dirt or sand, for breathing in fresh air, for feeling the sun on our skin.

The Holy Spirit is nudging me to start gardening, and so I’ll respond. I’ll see what happens.

Whatever happens, I trust it’s going to help me appreciate creation more and, in turn, appreciate God more. For we are all connected—people, the land, the Lord, everything.

Let’s Pray: Lord, help me to love the earth as a way of loving You. Help me to honor You as I learn how to garden and tend and till, trusting and remaining open to whatever You wish to teach me. And help me always to love others in Your name. Amen.

Song of Reflection: “For the Beauty of the Earth” by BarlowGirl. Listen to it here.

Author Bio:

Jessica Brodie is an award-winning journalist, author, blogger, editor, writing coach, and devotional writer with thousands of articles to her name. 

Since 2010, she has served as the editor of the South Carolina United Methodist Advocate, the oldest newspaper in Methodism, which has won 123 journalism awards during her tenure. She is the author of Feed My Sheep: A 40-Day Devotional to Develop a Heart for Hunger Ministry (2019) and More Like Jesus: A Devotional Journey (2018) and the editor of a number of other books from her newspaper’s Advocate Press, which she helped found in 2017.

She has won more than 100 writing awards and is a seasoned speaker and frequent contributor to,, and, among many others. She has a weekly faith blog at and is part of the team at Wholly Loved Ministries, with her work included in many of their devotionals and Bible studies.

Brodie holds a Master of Arts in English, and she graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in communications/print journalism from Florida International University. Born and raised in Miami, Brodie now lives in Lexington, South Carolina, just outside Columbia. She has also lived in Ohio and in the mountains of western North Carolina. She and her husband, Matt Brodie, have a blended family of four teenage children and stepchildren.

Brodie has written several novels and is actively seeking publication through her agent Bob Hostetler of The Steve Laube Agency. Her novel The Memory Garden won the 2018 Genesis contest for Contemporary Fiction from American Christian Fiction Writers, and her novel Tangled Roots won a third place Foundation Award in Contemporary Romance at the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference in 2019. She is finishing the third in the series, Hidden Seeds, now.

Connect with Jessica:
Facebook Author:
Facebook Personal:
Linked In:

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.