This summer, I have the amazing privilege of leading the garden club at one of the Minnesota Teen Challenge houses. It is a job where God opened the door and I delightedly ran through. Once a week, May through October, I arrive for two hours of planting, weeding, and harvesting with any woman who wants to join me. I love the interactions we have in the garden, but my favorite time is the half-hour we take after weeding to sit around the picnic table and talk, eat, and pray. Besides giving them my friendship and prayers, I want to teach them about sticking with a project, the principles of sowing and reaping, and other life lessons learned in the garden.

There is a rhubarb plant in the garden and I have been making rhubarb cake or crisp for them as our treat each week. It’s loaded with sugar and not healthy for us, but up until now, it has been the only thing to eat from our garden.

This week, we finally had the opportunity to eat a healthy, nutritious first harvest from the garden. We picked swiss chard, kale, red and white onions, radishes, and basil for a salad. There were a few raspberries ready to pick for color on the top. From my home I had brought romaine, peach balsamic, and a watermelon I bought at the market. What a feast!

It was inspiring for all of us to eat the fresh, just picked, in-season food. Everyone oohed and aahed over the clean, earthy taste of our salads. For some, it was their first taste of garden-picked produce. Others had experienced gardening when they were younger, but drugs and alcohol had ruined their taste buds or even the desire to eat something healthy. Now, as each of them is in recovery, they are not only experiencing new health in their souls, minds, and spirits, but their bodies are beginning to heal as well.

“Fill your thoughts with My Words until they penetrate deep into your spirit. Then, as you unwrap My Words, they will impart true life and radiant health into the very core of your being” (Proverbs 4:21-22, The Passion Translation).

Taking time for God’s Word is like eating a fresh-picked salad. If you read slowly and then meditate on it throughout the day, it will bring true life and radiant health into your very core.

Idea for the summer: Read from a new translation to get a different perspective and different insight. I would highly suggest buying one of the Passion translation books that Dr. Brian Simmons has written. Psalms, Proverbs, and Letters from Heaven (Paul’s letters) are my favorites.