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Gardening: cultivating hope and faith

Gardening: cultivating hope and faith

by Kimberly Knowle-Zeller 


I’m a novice gardener. Yet, gardening seems to be in my bones. My mother tells me that mulch was my first word.


My husband and I are in the third year of gardening at our home and each year we’re learning.


This year, with our travels, a toddler, and a baby due at the end of July, the garden came together a bit haphazardly. My mom helped out a bit with the planting. My husband and I each weeded and mixed the soil with mulch and compost. I planted the early crops quickly before it was too late and I planted the later crops too early since we’d be traveling.


With each seed dropped in the ground and each plant lovingly planted, I said a prayer.


I have to admit that when anything grows, I’m amazed. Amazed that such a small seed in the ground can transform into a beautiful, fruit-bearing plant. Amazed that I planted the seed in just the right place. Amazed that the seed grew with the needed amount of sun and water. Amazed that the seeds didn’t simply scatter away from the garden or get buried too deep.


Gardening is always a lesson in hope and faith.


This year when we returned from our travels, to an overgrown garden, we found some surprises: volunteer plants and flowers.


Where we planted sunflowers last year, they’ve come back.

From our compost, we have unidentified squash growing throughout the garden.


I’m struck by the lessons learned from our garden – that from small seeds, much beauty comes forth. That from cultivating a small plot of land, we never know what will come.


Surprises abound!

I need this daily reminder from my garden that love and hope can be cultivated when we tend to where we’ve been planted. Sometimes we’re lucky enough to see the fruits of our labor, to see life and beauty multiply, to see faith growing.  



Kimberly Knowle-Zeller is an ordained ELCA pastor, mother of a toddler, and spouse of an ELCA pastor. She lives with her family in Cole Camp, MO. Her website is


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