Sunday, May 21, 2023

The Comeback Garden by Becky Van Vleet

“And provide for those who grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.” Isaiah 61:3 (NIV)

Every year I look forward to planting my vegetable garden, knowing my husband and I will enjoy fresh salads almost every evening for a period of time. I get excited when I see my rhubarb, chives, and raspberry bushes wake up from their winter slumber.

The spring and summer months invite me to a bright and colorful foliage party every year, and I never miss it, always praising God for his artwork right in my yard.

But a couple of seasons ago, my yard party not only stalled, but nearly didn’t happen at all. When the heavens broke open on the last day in May with hail about the size of golf balls, I was gripped in fear for nearly an hour as the hail pummeled our entire house.

While I was thankful we had no broken windows, and I believed our roof stayed intact, I went outside after the storm to assess the damage. I was heartbroken. My garden was beaten to a pulp, and my flowers were no more. In less than an hour, my beautiful yard turned from hope and beauty to ruin and ugliness.

But God didn’t leave me there. Slowly, ever so slowly, my garden and flowers revived over the summer when restorative gifts of sunshine, gentle rains, and rainbows hovered. I saw new promises of a beautiful yard, a comeback garden. I watched the progress each day.

And isn’t that what God does with our lives? One day we are a mess and we feel hopeless, like there can be no comeback. But when we trust God and we’re patient, He can and will do mighty works to turn ruin and ugliness in our lives to new hope and beauty again. God can replace the worst circumstances and grow afresh something beautiful, a spiritual comeback, Isaiah tells us.

Storms in our lives are tough, but God’s steadfast calmness provides sources of joy to get us through. Rest assured, God will come alongside us with his love and comfort and even new surprises.

Do you trust God for His restoration after difficult times?

Becky Van Vleet 

Becky Van Vleet is a retired teacher and principal and award-winning multi-genre author. She has been published in Guideposts, The Country Register, and Christian Devotions Ministry. Her children’s picture books are the recipients of the 2020 Excellence in Editing award as well as the Purple Dragonfly award in 2020 and 2021. She and her husband make their home close to Colorado Springs where she enjoys gardening, hiking, oil painting, power walking, and spending time with her family, especially reading books to her grandchildren.

Becky is the author of Unintended Hero, a true story about her father’s battles, experiences, and adventures in WWII aboard the USS Denver. She is passionate about sharing the values from the Greatest Generation and enjoys speaking to high school classes about patriotism.

A member of ACFW, Allauthor, and Pikes Peak Writers, Becky has devoted her website to creating and preserving family memories and sharing family stories for the next generations through her monthly blogs. You can find her at: She would love to hear from you, especially if you have a family story to share!


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