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Cultivating Nature to Cultivate Time with God

Garden with bench, photo credit: Pat Mingarelli

[Originally published as God and You in a Secret Garden]

Finding a Secret Garden

Did you ever wish that you could find a secret garden? To discover a secret place to meet with God in quiet and in nature? After all, meeting with God in silent seclusion stills our heart. And we better hear from Him with a still heart.

Last summer my wife decided to create a secret garden in our backyard. I kind of scoffed at the idea. We already had a big vegetable garden and plenty of flowers around the perimeter of the yard.

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Nevertheless, undeterred my wife went to it. She found an old bench and a small table at a garage sale. She set them along the brick path that ran underneath a big oak tree next to our deck. In addition to the vinca vine and hostas that grew in the shade by the bricks, she added some flower pots to finish off her secret garden.

The finished project looked rather simple, but inviting.

Our Simple Secret Garden

The next day after I finished my morning bike ride, I headed to the back deck for some devotional time. My wife’s secret garden sat below the stairs of the deck. I thought I’d give it a shot and went down and sat on the bench. I met with God there in the simple peace of the little garden.Bible and devotional books on a table, photo credit: Pat Mingarelli

The rest of the summer I spent many quiet times with God in that garden. The small little space of nature produced the peace I desired before heading off to work.

As someone who loves the great outdoors I enjoy meeting with God in nature. Sometimes I think I need mountains or a forest to best meet with Him. But my wife’s secret proved that we don’t have to venture into the great outdoors to find a peaceful place.

Even the small things of nature help still our busy minds, making it easier for us to meet with God.

We can create our own secret gardens in the space where we live. Some simple flowers under a backyard tree can make for a perfect natural place to spend time with God. The quiet of such a place helps us better connect and hear from God.

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Jesus and Time Alone

Garden Bench with books, photo credit: Pat MingarelliThe Bible tells us that Jesus often went to secluded places to meet with the Father. Some of those places were in the wilderness. But just like us, Jesus probably couldn’t always get to the wilderness. When the wilderness wasn’t available to Him, He most likely found another peaceful place.

Just like Jesus, we too can find another place to meet with God. My wife’s secret garden serves as such a place. Do you have a quiet place to meet with God? If not, how can you create one?

Pat Mingarelli portrait

Written by Pat Mingarelli

Hi. My name is Pat Mingarelli. I am an award-winning nature photographer with a unique kind of creation ministry. As an outdoor photographer I’ve spent countless hours observing God’s hand in creation. I’ve learned that God speaks to us through His creation and the creation speaks to us about God. You find me at

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