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Wednesday
Feb082012

Dora and the Garden, Part 2

Brrrrriing! Dora sat up in her bed with a start and pushed down the button to stop the alarm. She shook her head to clear her thoughts. Oh, yes, that's right. I was in the garden … there was something I had to do. Oh yes, I had to weed and clean it. But how do I …

Then she remembered what the rose said about her Best Friend. I guess that means that I should ask Jesus to help me, she thought. And so she prayed, "Jesus, please help me to clean my garden today. Help me to be cheerful and caring to those around me."

Just as Dora finished her prayer, a thought came to her that she should make her bed and clean up her room right away, instead of waiting as usual until her mother came to remind her (and often she still didn’t do it even after being reminded). She got to work right away, and soon the room was spick and span—and just in time, as she could hear her mother's footsteps on the stairs.

"Come on, Dora, you won’t have time for breakfast if ..." Mother never finished the last word. She was so surprised when she saw the tidy room that she stopped in her tracks and stood there with her mouth hanging open.

"Why, you've cleaned your room! That's amazing—I mean, uh, wonderful!" exclaimed her mother.

"I did it because I love you," said Dora, giving her mother a big hug and a kiss.

This is real fun, she thought.

All day long, Dora looked for nice things to do to make others happy. She had a lot of fun when they all reacted with amazement—much like her mom had that morning. After a while, she began to think about the difference her kindness and cheerful spirit seemed to make. I never realized that my good or bad actions could affect others so much.

That night she got ready for bed even earlier than the night before. She couldn't wait to see the garden and what effect her good deeds had had on it. She lay in her bed with her eyes squeezed shut, doing her best to try to fall asleep, but she couldn't seem to manage, no matter how hard she tried. Then she again heard the mysterious voice, "If you want to go back to the garden, Jesus will take you there. All you have to do is ask."

Dora prayed right away, "Dear Jesus, please take me back to the garden. Please!"

Just then a peaceful feeling came over her. She felt as if she was being gently rocked back and forth. She began to relax and close her eyes. When she opened them again, she was sitting on a swing in the corner of the garden, directly across from the rose bush.

"Hello, Dora!"

Dora looked up to see the rose motioning with a leafy hand for her to come over. “Hello!”

"Look!" said the rose. "There are no more weeds here to crowd me out! I'm so glad!"

Dora smiled. It was true. The little patch of ground around the rosebush was now free from weeds. However, when she looked around the garden, she saw that everything else was still the same as it had been before.

"I thought that if I was a good girl, the garden would go back to being beautiful—but it hasn’t," she said, somewhat disappointed.

"Now, now," said the rose cheerfully, "you must realize that it took the garden a long time to get into this condition, and it will take some time to get it beautiful again. Don't be discouraged! Just keep making a little more progress every day."

"Isn't there anything I can do to make it happen faster?" asked Dora.

"Well," said the rose, "now that you mention it, yes, there is something you can do. Since the ground is quite hard, it makes it difficult for you to pull the weeds out. I suggest you try softening the ground first by putting water on it."

"All right," said Dora. "But where do I get water? The fountain is dry."

"The best place to find water is directly from the source—God's Word," answered the rose.

"Water in God's Word?" asked Dora, scratching her head.

"Yes, my dear," said the rose. "Remember, this is the garden of your heart, and the only water that will soften the ground of your heart is the water of the Word of God. If you water your heart every day with God’s Word, it will soften your heart so it becomes easier to pull out all those ugly weeds. God’s Word will also water the plants and bring the flowers back to life!"

 “The rain and snow come down from the heavens and stay on the ground to water the earth. They cause the grain to grow, producing seed for the farmer and bread for the hungry.

“It is the same with my word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it.” (Isaiah 55:10–11 NLT.)

Dora recalled how when her parents had first presented her with a children’s Bible, she looked forward to reading from it every night before going to sleep. She also smiled as she thought of some of the fun times she had with her father while they watched Bible movies together. Then she felt sad when she remembered that the last time her father wanted to watch a Bible movie with her she had pouted, and only wanted to watch a rerun of a popular movie that she had already seen several times.

Now, as she looked around the garden, she could see that the "water" of the Word was what was missing in her life. She felt a renewed desire to study God’s Word once again. And with that thought, Dora found herself back in her bed.

Dora looked at the clock; she still had a bit of time before her mother would call her for breakfast. Good! she thought, I have to find some water right away, she thought as she jumped out of bed.

At the bottom of her closet she found her Bible. Next to it was a notebook of Bible verses she had at one time memorized with her mother. Oh good, I can review these while I clean my room!

“Your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart.”1 So that’s what that means. God’s Word will bring me joy!

While Dora dressed for the day, made her bed, and straightened her room she started to sing “Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God… When Dora's mother came to call her for breakfast, she was amazed to find Dora not only awake and dressed, but dancing around the room in high spirits.

"Good morning, dear," said Mother. “I see you are a happy one this morning!”

Dora stopped her dancing. "Good morning, Mom. I decided to review some of the Bible verses we memorized together."

"That's wonderful, Dora," Mother replied, more impressed than ever. "It’s obvious it was a great way for you to start the day!"

"It sure was!" responded Dora.

"Mom, do you think we could read some Bible stories together sometimes like we used to?"

"Of course we can! I would love that," answered Mother. "Okay, off to breakfast or you’ll be late!" she added, tweaking Dora's nose playfully.

All day long Dora kept thinking about what she could do to put what she had read that morning into practice. Every time she felt like doing something unkind or saying something mean or grumpy, she was reminded of a verse she had reviewed that morning. "Let us love one another: for love is of God"2 she would repeat to herself, and she'd think of something nice to say instead.

It took quite an effort on her part, as she had gotten so used to being grumpy. But although it was difficult, and sometimes she’d fall back into her grumpy ways, as the day went on, she saw that she was improving.

That evening, she and her mother cuddled up in her bed and read some stories from the New Testament together. It was fun for Dora to once again hear about the miracles and helpful things Jesus did for people.

"I want to be like Jesus, Mom," Dora commented after they had finished reading. "I want to love people and be a help to them, too."

"Oh, honey, that's just wonderful," her mom replied, giving her a hug and kiss. "I'm so proud of you!"

Dora went to bed that night thinking of her mother's words. As she closed her eyes, she felt content. She knew she was changing. Soon, she was sound asleep.

When she opened her eyes, she found herself skipping down the path of the garden again. The large weeds that had been growing between the flat stones had disappeared, and as she looked closer, she noticed that the stones were a pale mauve (which just happened to be Dora's favorite color).

"Oh, what beautiful stones," she mused out loud. Dora now stood in front of the rose bush, and the rose spoke up to answer her.

"You'll be amazed at the treasures you will find hidden under the remaining weeds. And look, the fountain has water again!" the rose said happily.

Dora looked up to see the fountain with water shooting forth in all directions, splashing and creating a beautiful effect, as if the water was dancing.

"Oh," said Dora, awed by the beauty of this sight. "When I first saw it, I would have never thought it could look so beautiful!" She looked around the garden, taking note of all the things that still needed to be done. The bench needs varnish. The walls need to be repaired, and there are still weeds in a few places.

"Tell me," said Dora, turning to the rose again. "What’s the best way I can go about cleaning the rest of the garden? I’m eager to see what other treasures there are!"

"Let me see," answered the rose, placing her leafy hand on what might have been her chin. "You've been kinder and more loving, you've been reading the Word, hmmm ... I know! I suggest you ask the Voice!" the rose said triumphantly.

Dora looked surprised. "You know about the Voice that speaks to me?" she asked, dumbfounded.

The rose smiled knowingly. "Yes, yes, my dear. I know all about it. The Voice and I are great friends."

"You mean you hear this Voice too? Do you know who it is?!" Dora asked excitedly. "Please, please! Tell me!"

Dora suddenly sat up with a start. The alarm had woken her again, and she was back in her room, lying in her bed. The early morning sun streamed through her window. Oh, great, she murmured within herself. Now I'll have to wait another whole day before finding out where this Voice is coming from. I almost found out! She sat there with a grumpy look on her face.

"Cheer up, and have patience," spoke the Voice to her heart.

"All right," Dora agreed. She got out of bed, determined to be cheerful, even though she didn't feel like it. She remembered what the rose had said about asking the Voice what more she could do. Suddenly, she heard the Voice again. "If you will be quiet and listen, I'll whisper things to your heart."

And that's what Dora did. Throughout the day, she took time to listen, to find out what the Voice would tell her. All day long she found many opportunities to be kind and loving to people, to lend a helping hand to someone when they needed help, and to speak an encouraging word to someone who was having a difficult time. Whenever the Voice spoke to her, she would hear encouraging, loving tips about what to say, who to go to, and who needed help.

The day passed quickly, and soon Dora found herself snuggled up in her bed. Mother came to kiss her goodnight and tuck her in.

"Sweet dreams and goodnight, honey!" she said sweetly. Dora giggled with anticipation. I'm sure going to have sweet dreams tonight—very sweet dreams! She closed her eyes and the very next instant she was standing directly in front of the rose bush.

The rose smiled broadly at her. "Look over there," said the rose, as she pointed to where the old rusty swing used to be. Dora turned, but the old swing was no longer there. Instead, in its place stood a new one, with beautiful cushions and a canopy overhead.

Right away Dora’s eyes were drawn toward the man who sat on the swing, who had such kind eyes and a beautiful smile.

The man held out His hand and called her by name. She slowly walked toward Him, overwhelmed by the sight. She placed her hand in His, but couldn't find any words to say. Finally, she managed to whisper, "The Voice. … It was You, wasn't it, Jesus?"

"Yes, My dear friend, it's Me," He said, taking her hand in His. "Come, sit beside Me and let's talk about anything your heart desires. As a best friend, I want to be with you all the time, to help you and make you happy."

"Oh, Jesus!" was all Dora could say. She hugged Him tightly.

"Look at your garden, Dora," He said with a twinkle in His eye.

Dora glanced around and was happy to see the garden clean now, with no weeds. The wall had been repaired, the bench repainted, and many new and different flowers of varied colors blossomed in the formerly weed-filled flowerbeds.

"Oh!" exclaimed Dora. "It's just beautiful! Thank You so much! You did it all, didn't You, Jesus?"

"How did you know?" Jesus smiled, His eyes shining at her wonder and surprise.

"Oh, it would have taken me forever to get it this way. I never could have done it so quickly," she answered.

“You're right. I cleaned it up for you because you pleased Me by obeying My voice when I spoke to you. In order to keep it nice, now you'll have to be faithful to water, weed, and clean it every day, and make sure to call for Me whenever you need help."

"I will, Jesus. I promise," Dora said, as she rested her head on His shoulder. She had never felt so happy and blissful in her whole life.

Then Jesus spoke again. "Would you like Me to tell you a story?" Dora didn't move but simply nodded her head. And so He began, "There once was a garden. ..."

Footnotes:

  1. Jeremiah 15:16 NKJV
  2. 1 John 4:7 KJV

S&S link: Christian Life and Faith: Biblical and Christian Foundation: God’s Word-1b

Contributed by Christi S. Lynch. Author unknown. Illustrations by Leila Shae.
Copyright © 2012 by The Family International

Downloads

DOC: Dora y el jardín, 2ª parte (Spanish)
DOC: Dora and the Garden, Part 2 (Portuguese)
PDF: Dora and the Garden, Part 2 (Japanese)