Wednesday, July 23, 2008

This morning, the TODAY Show on NBC, featured the 80's, and I thought, has it really been that long. ...long enough to pay tribute to those years past. The 80's were my "growing up years." The years when I graduated from high school and started college, years when I transitioned into young adulthood. And the 80's are when the hymn I would like to share with you today, came to be my favorite hymn, take on very personal meaning to me.

~ In The Garden ~
Written by C. Austin Miles in 1912

I was fortunate to have a wonderful relationship with both of my grandmothers. They were as different as night and day. The only similarities they shared, were that they loved God and their families, and that they had made a living farming. But they were both unique and very special to me! My paternal grandmother's name was Maybelle. She wasn't "fancy" in the least, and to say she was frugal, was putting it mildy. The one and only thing I ever knew her to splurge on was Jackson and Perkins Roses. It was a happy day around the farm, when the mailman delivered the annual J&P catalog, full of new and beautiful roses. Grandma Maybelle would browse the catalog for hours, circling new varieties to try, and I, myself looked on with excitement! Grandma was known over the county for her rose garden. If you know anything about the South, when you meet someone for the first time, it's common to be asked, "Who are your people?" When asked this, I proudly would say, my grandma is Maybelle, and she has the large rose garden on the hill in Beaverdam. Most knew exactly who I was referring to.

In 1988, four days before my birthday, I returned home after a date one Saturday night. Shortly after, the phone rang. Dread filled my heart, knowing that no good phone calls come after 11 p.m. As I listened to my Dad's end of the conversation, I knew that my life had been shattered Grandma Maybelle had suffered a heart attack. She was gone in an instant. ...One that was so full of life and adventure, with no indication that she was anything but healthy. During her funeral, a quartet sang in four-part harmony, the most beautiful hymn, "In the Garden." It seemed so befitting for my dear grandmother.

In The Garden
I come to the garden alone, While the dew is still on the roses,And the voice I hear falling on my ear, The Son of God discloses.

Chorus....And He walks with me, and He talks with me.And He tells me I am His own; And the joy we share as we tarry there,None other has ever known.

He speaks and the sound of His voice, is so sweet the birds hush their singing,And the melody that He gave to me, Within my heart is singing.

C. Austin Miles was asked to write a song that would, "bring hope to the hopeless, rest to the weary, and downy pillows to dying beds." As he was seated in a dark room, he turned to John 20 (10-18), and read the story of the greatest morn in history.

It was a time of great anguish for Mary Magdalene, as she stood outside the empty tomb crying. Her precious Lord had been taken from her, and now His body was gone. ...two angels sat in the place He had lain. She cryed out in despair and turned around. A man Mary didn't recognize spoke to her. One she mistook for the gardener. It was Jesus. I wondered as I read this, how many times has Jesus spoken to me, and I didn't realize it was him. ...or maybe I just didn't listen.

Jesus then called her by name.....Mary. He called her by name! Chills run over me as I think that God and His son, Jesus, know us by our names! The chorus of the song says..."And he tells me I am His own." How exciting, how wonderful, that God knows each of us individually.

Psalm 139, is a beautiful passage that offers this assurance....

"O Lord, you have searched me and you know me." (v.1)

"For You created my inmost being, You knit me together in my mother's womb.

I praise you because I am fearfully made; Your works are wonderful,

I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place.

When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body.

All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be."

(vs. 13-16).

How amazing, God knows my name, and He knows each of your dear names! It is my prayer, that you know Him too! Even in the sad times, times of anguish, He gives us a melody and offers our hearts a reason to keep singing.....Hope and Love! ~Rhonda :)

Note: Next to 'The Old Rugged Cross, this has been one of the most popular gospel hymns ever written.

Pictures: Borrowed from Flickr


Kim's Treasures said...

What a sweet post...what great memories of your grandma! What a beautiful hymn too! I remember when my grandma died and picking out hymns and scripture. Have a blessed day!

Penless Thoughts said...

What a special tribute to one of your grandmothers and what a special lady she was. In The Garden is one of my favorite songs because it was my Fathers song that he loved and sang often.

Jan and Tom's Place said...

My...such a loving tribute to your grandma...'your people'.

I pray that the hearts of those reading and hearing this today and in the future, come to have a relationship with Jesus!

Thanks for stopping in and leaving your comment for me! Since the Lord has worked on my heart, it's easier to tell my "story" than most can believe. Maybe, since I had NOT told my story until about 8 years ago...finally telling it...with a BLESSED ending...makes it easy.


Deb said...

Simply beautiful... Deb

Beverly said...

Rhonda, this was just beautiful. Thank you for sharing with us.

In The Garden was the song at my father's funeral.

chelle's winks said...

This was a very special post and tribute to your was nice of you to share this with all of us..

Don't you just love the ways of the South..."who are your people" many times have I heard this one....

My grandmothers were opposites too...God and family were the one thing they both had in common also...I think that's what ties all of us together...Life is so sweet!

Judy said...

You're going to have to start offering kleenex like Picket! This sweet song is one of my mom's favorites. I can hear her now singing in a sweet soft voice...


Pearl said...

Hi Rhonda... I really enjoyed this weeks Encouraging Words post... What a precious memory of your dear Grandmother... The hymn you picked for today made me cry... it was my Mom's most favorite, ever, and I have so many memories of her singing it at different times in my life... we sung it for her at her funeral.

I want to thank you for visiting and for the very kind comments you left for me... and, you're welcome for the E.W.W. Logo that I made for you... truly it was my pleasure to be able to do something for you and I am glad you're happy with it. I hope your trip to and from the grocery store wasn't too awful for you... I actually miss being able to do that. And thanks for reminding me about the Baby Shower... I'll do my best to not forget to get my post up... Things are kinda not going too well around here right now, so even with lists and reminders, I'm not really counting on my mind all too much... Give David a wink 'n a smile for me, please and I'm keeping y'all close in prayer... God bless...

~hugs 'n love~

The Berry Patch said...

Beautiful story!


Heather said...

What a beautiful post this Wednesday! In The Garden is one of my favorite hymns. And the scripture from Psalms as well!! I am so blessed to have one of my Grandmother's still living (two have already passed) but I know that God will be calling her home soon and it breaks my heart. I have not been able to see her for months because of travel restrictions and I so badly want to go to her and just hold her hand and walk though her garden with her. She loves her garden and she has taught me so much! She is a true woman of God and I have been blessed greatly by her inspiration.
Thank You for this post today!
-Heather :)

Susie Harris said...

Oh how I remember the80's.... They had some great songs back then! Susie h~

shaybert said...

That is on of my faves as well. In fact, I can pick up a hymnal and sing all the way through it(my kids groan when I do) and it is pure bliss-- only for me, not the listener. Hymns are so full of God's love.Thanks for making me hum along! The comfort of hymns are special for so many reasons including this story: Probably 15 years ago my Sweet Husband's former youth pastor was driving the church bus for a mission trip down in Mexico and the tire got caught in the ditch on the narrow road and the bus turned over. Only his own daughter was killed. He had to spend the night in a Mexican jail and God comforted him all that long night through prayer, memorized scriptures and hymns he sung all night long in that cell. I think of hymns as portable scripture and doctrine. Blessings, Shay

Kellie said...

Beautiful, Rhonda.... that is one of my Mom's favorite hymns, which causes it to be one of mine as well. It is amazing to think of Jesus calling out Mary's name in the garden after He had risen. Like you, I wonder the times He has called my name and I didn't hear Him or failed to listen. I am truly enjoying your Encouraging Wednesdays. I love the old hymns you are posting!!

Shelia said...

Hi Rhonda! How sweet was your post. This was my grandmother's favorite hymns, mine too!

I know I've told you, but I'm just making sure you include me in the Virtual Baby Shower for Heather. This is so sweet of you!!
Be a sweetie, well, you are already a sweetie!
Shelia ;)

Picket said...

Oh Scooter I loved this post every word of it and that was so touching about your grandmother...My grandmother (Maw Smith use to go thru the house singing 'Wayfaring Stranger' and I love that song..Years ago I sang in a church group and I sang that song for daddy one Sunday...I will never forget the look on his face and the tears in his eyes as he stood with his hands stretched toward heaven shouting praises to are such a special soul Scooter...I am honored to call you my friend.

DebbieCalif said...

Good morning Rhonda! Beautiful words today and lovely post. Enjoyed it so much. A lovely memory of your family, the song, one of my favorites. I was amazed when I read your blog this morn. you and I used one of the same scriptures in Psalm 139. Amazing. I will have things ready for tomorrow for the sweet baby shower. I am going to scan something so it can be copied by Heather. Bless you, Debbie

Dawn said...

Rhonda that was a beatiful. What a loving tribute to your grandmother. You post was very sweet and moving.

take care,

Susie Harris said...

Good morning...again! That little metal thing on my counter came from Hobby Lobby... I got it last year but they do have them ahain this year at my store... I saw them the other day.. Take care my sweet friend!.... Susie h~

onlymehere said...

Beautiful post Rhonda. I love your thoughts about the song. My mother too was "gone in an instant" from a presumed heart attack. She had just told my husband and I to come up more often as the doctor had said my dad wouldn't be around for another year. When the call came at 1:00 a.m. I was prepared to hear it was my father. I was totally shocked when my sister said it was my mother. Dad hung around for five more years. God takes us when he needs us on the other side doesn't he. I wasn't on the computer yesterday so I'm catching up today and what a nice thougth to start the day with!

Feathering My Nest said...

This was so lovely. I'll be back to read it again. I really enjoy it. I've been such a slow blogger this summer. I'm enjoying the break, but missing my friends. Your lake house is so pretty. Your Partridge Family post was so cute. Hugs, Kathi

Southern Lady said...

What a beautiful and heartwarming tribute to your grandmother, Rhonda. I think "In the Garden" is one of the most moving and inspirational hymns of all time and it never fails to give me chills when I hear it.

Your sweet story about your grandmother affected me the same way and was such a nice way to end my day.