Hoeing "In the Garden" 3c – Who, What, When, Where – THERE!

Hoeing “In the Garden” 3c – Who, What, When, Where, – There

Note:  The memoir, In the Garden, portrays my mother, Ellen, an ordinary woman, who became extraordinary by surrendering her will and ego to the will of God at every crossroads of her life.  She chose faith over doubt, acceptance over resignation, hope instead of despair.  “Not my will, but Thy will be done,” was her mantra.  Ellen lived out her life in the house, on the hill, on a farm in west Michigan (the site of present day Country Dairy) rooting herself in the place where she believed God had planted her.  There, alongside the love of her life, Henry, she found her calling as a helpmeet for him and transformed the house on the hill into a place of beauty and sanctuary for their family.  To view the memoir visit www.principia.com or www.janethasselbring.com.
In Hoeing “In the Garden,” the author revisits her mother’s story, cultivating and digging up tidbits of truth to provide inspiration and encouragement for the challenges of her life.  Janet invites her readers to share in her findings.

“Establish the work of our hands for us…”  Psalm 90:17

     If you had to list the defining moments of your life, what would they be?  Moments or events that changed your life forever and set it on a new, different course.  For my mother, leaving a life of luxury, marrying Henry, the love of her life, and moving to his family farm was one of those defining moments. There, as she and Henry eked out a living, Ellen found her calling as a helpmeet  and a homemaker.
     “If she had wanted, Ellen could have been a dynamo in whatever profession she chose. She had the intelligence, determination and energy to accomplish whatever she set out to do, but she had no aspirations outside of being a homemaker. Though she supported Henry’s work on the farm, her place was in the home.  She was like ‘a fruitful vine in the inner part of his {Henry’s}house'” (In the Garden pp 21,22 )
      Vance Havner, a beloved country preacher, emphasizes the importance of finding the place of God’s will, being there, where God calls us to be. In a sermon entitled, “Are You There?” he recounts the story of Elijah (I Kings 17: 2-4, 9, 10), who was sent by God to the brook Cherith and the city Zarephath.  It was there, where God sent him, that he found God’s purpose. 
     My mother found her “there,” on the farm with Henry. There was nothing glamorous or dramatic about farm life, by today’s standards; yet going about  their work, day in and day out, my parents had a deep sense of being connected to something bigger than their daily labors and menial chores.

     “While guiding the plow in the fields behind Maud and Daize, Henry listened to the birds chirping and singing……Ellen was a master at multitasking.  her chores were done within the rhythm of the day.  She would peel a bushel of peaches, get them into jars and into the cooker and then, while they were boiling, she’d hang out a basket of clothes, mix up a batch of bread dough or pick and snip a pan of green beans from the garden.”  (In the Garden pp.35, 25)

       Walking back and forth across the field all day or peeling a bushel of peaches became meaningful because it was part of a bigger plan – the great plan of God.  I realize this is what gave their lives lasting beauty and dignity. They were “there.”

 “…yes, the work of our hands, establish Thou it.”  (Psalm 90:17)

     And so Psalm 90 ends with a hopeful look to the future and eternity. I like to imagine that when my parents entered the pearly gates, for a well deserved rest (before they took up their new jobs), they heard a voice saying:  “For they rest from their labours and their works do follow them.”  (The Story of the Psalms, Van Dyke, pg. 24)

                (View from the porch where my parents sat in the evenings after a hard day’s work)



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