Need Some Summer Shade?

Need Some Summer Shade?

Lucinda Secrest McDowell

I love hydrangeas.

In fact I think they look like bouquets of lace. So I was thrilled to receive a beautiful hydrangea plant for my birthday, which was immediately stuck in a hole in the ground outside. But I am not a gardener. Every time blossoms would come they turned brown almost immediately and no amount of water could resuscitate them.

shadeblogThe problem was, of course, they had way too much sun. Hydrangeas grow best in the shade. I know that now. And our plant, repositioned by my gardener husband, is beautiful and now thriving in the shadow of our porch.

Shade is not just for comfort; it’s also for protection.

You have been a refuge for the needy in distress, a shelter from the storm and a shade from the heat.”  (Isaiah 25.4) Here the Old Testament Hebrew word which connotes protection is tsel, translated “shade” or “shadow.” They are interchangeable as also found in Psalm 91.1 “Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.”

Whether in gardening or in life, we all need some shade. A respite from the heat of the sun or the heat of demands and pressures to perform or produce.

Shade evokes a sense of rest and peace.

When was the last time you sat in the shade and soaked in the presence of God?

The psalmist reminds us that “the Lord is your protector; the Lord is your shade right beside you.” (Psalm 121.5)

May I suggest today that you go find some lovely shade and just sit still with open hands to receive the love, protection, mercy and grace God has for you? After a few moments, here is a prayer you might want to offer up this season:

DwellingPlacesShade“Lord God, I pray that You bear lasting fruit in my life through the gift of the Spirit. You are the fountain of life. Enliven and refresh my listless, thirsting soul and spirit through Your love and vibrant life that renews. You are the tree of life. Make strong the branches of my life that have been weakened by the storms of daily life. Keep me fresh and filled with Your life. Your Spirit is living water. Deepen the roots of my restless and weary life through the river of life in Your Word. Refresh me and bring me joy by infusing me with Your Holy Spirit and more of Your abundant life. Your Church is the orchard that you feed and prune by Your love. Lord, I come to You longing for peace, nourishment, and to find rest in the shade. Amen.” [adapted by Dr. Catherine Hart Weber from “Intercession”]

And remember, sunhats provide lovely shade too.

under the mercy, Cindy

©2016 Lucinda Secrest McDowell


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5 Responses to Need Some Summer Shade?

  1. says:

    Thanks so much, Cindy. Hydrangeas are special to me as well, and rocking on the front porch with an old funeral home fan is a welcome relief from this SC heat! Blessings to you and yours, Becky

    Sent from my iPhone


  2. Ellen Cole says:

    I’m a new subscriber. Thank you for these wise words. I love hydrangeas too! Pansies and hydrangeas are my most favorite flowers. I’m not a gardener either, but pansies apparently like a bit more sun…but only when it’s cooler out. I’ve never thought about these things before but because I’m a red-headed freckled girl I seek cooler shady places myself…much like the flowers I favor. I love the image of sitting in the shade of the Father.

  3. Jim Douglas says:

    Here’s a tip for you, if you have Big Leaf Hydrangeas ( like Connie Crowe posted on FB with vivid colors), prune them midsummer ( they bloom on old wood) to get nice blooms in the Spring. If you have Smooth Hydrangeas ( mainly creamy white color) prune in the late winter for good Spring blooms ( they bloom on new wood)…in any case, pruning produces the biggest new blooms!…you should work in a life analogy in your blog on this new vs. old wood blooming!

    Then again your gardener hubby probably knows the above!

    Happy gardening!


    James O. Douglas
    Partner | ASLA

    landscape architecture | planning | urban design |

    120 29th Avenue South | Nashville, TN | 37212
    T. 615-327-4447 | F. 615-321-3004

  4. sarah wetzel says:

    I need some shade. God-shade. (there is plenty of Irish shade :o) Thank you Cindy for your encouraging word. love you, Sarah

  5. Great reminder, Lucinda TY I love hydrangeas too — beautiful, refreshing flowers, aren’t they?

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