Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Weeds in a Garden

Sunrise at Grand Canyon

Over the past few years its been an unspoken goal of mine to see how many different ways i can see my Father in the details of each day.
Some days seeing Him seems obvious -- beautiful sunsets, powerful lightning,  well-timed words, and last minute, much needed arrivals. Our family will often say, "now that's a God thing" in those unquestionable, overwhelming moments.
But then we have the days where the laundry must be done, the beds need to be made again, the weeds have overtaken the flowers, the dinner is waiting to be made. And we might be tempted to wonder --- is God able to speak to me even through the monotonous.

God is never silent, He's never far away, He's never quiet or distant or confusing.
Sometimes we might feel like He is --- but He isn't.

To see God in the mundane - oh it's surely worth watching for -- because somewhere in the mundane moments we find the path that leads to the great ones.

Last week, the weather was unseasonably warm here in Georgia.
(This week it's unseasonably cold. Feels like our home went from Florida to Montana -- without moving an inch.)

But last week, with a clothes line filled with clean flapping towels and sheets, i focused on the winter "flower" beds with their growing weeds and left over remains of last falls blooms. It's as if the over eager bulbs and early sprouting weeds knew i had been away and they had their chance to spread mischief in the winterized beds.
The soil was moist and the weeds were big --- so the task of pulling them out by the roots was easily accomplished. And as i pulled it struck me, my soul-garden is much like my winterized flowerbed. And i had another opportunity to see my Abba's hand in the mundane work of cleaning out winter beds.

So over the next few hours as i worked, these where the thoughts that rolled through my mind:
- If i'll keep the "soil" well watered and moistened with His Words --- then the "weeds" will be much easier to pull out by the roots.
- Weeds will not just go away -- not in a flower garden, not in a soul-garden. We can't "hate" them enough to make them disappear. We can't wish them away with a magic potion. Ignoring them only seems to fertilize them. We have to put our hands to them and pull them out. 
- Just as i had been away from my flowerbeds and the weeds had tried to take over the sprouting bulbs --- so it is in my soul. If i "go away" and become inattentive to my soul-garden -- "weeds" will grow and choke out the flowers that could have grown there.
Gerber daisy transplanted from my grandmother's flowerbed

- Pulling weeds from my flowerbed takes time, it doesn't happen quickly, there are no shortcuts. Likewise with my soul --- pulling "weeds" (unwanted, unwelcome, uninvited, unproductive growth) from my soul takes TIME. They won't disappear just because i want them gone --- it takes work, focus, attention, and perseverance. A clean "soul garden" takes work.
- If i leave the weeds to grow in my flowerbeds --- eventually, it will look as if no one lives in our home. All grown up and abandoned looking --- the whole home will begin to look shabby and unkempt. The same is true with my soul-garden. If i don't tend it well and keep it cleaned out --- the whole "temple" i live in will begin to feel shabby and unkempt.  The appearance of one will effect the other.
- I could hire someone else to clean out my flowerbeds. No so with my soul-garden. The work there can only be done by God and me. But i can seek wise counsel and ask someone to help me identify the "weeds" in my garden. It's good to have a clear understanding of what needs to go and what should stay. But pulling the "weeds" is my job alone.
French iris's from my mother-in-laws flowerbed

- A weed filled flowerbed does not promote a warm welcoming feeling to visitors when they stop by --- just like a "weed" filled soul-bed does not make other souls feel welcomed or at ease when they come near our overgrown, unkempt garden. It's not something that is seen with the eyes, but it's surely something that is known between souls.
- i could just spray the garden with weedkiller -- it's much easier, but then nothing would grow there. Some people opt to spray their soul-garden though. If they've been hurt too much, they spray for "weeds" and end up with a blank, empty garden. Pulling out the weeds by the roots may be hard work --- but it's the only way to make room for what will bloom. Weed spray is to a flower garden what a cold heart is to a soul garden.
- Weeds are persistent. They come back year after year. We must be persistent as well. We must never grow weary in doing good --- so we pull the weeds and prepare for the blooms year after year after year.
-  When pulling weeds in my flowerbed, i'm wise to use gardening gloves. The weeds can have barbs that prick and the dirt of the work can get inbedded under my fingernails if not wearing gloves. When cleaning out our soul-gardens, we need to keep our hands covered (with God's Word) as well. Barbs from old wounds revisited can cause new pains and dirt from old conflicts can get re-embedded under our "nails". God issues good work gloves in His Word. We need them.

As i worked in my flowerbeds, our wonderful red-bone hound dog, Ridge, lay beside me with his head in my lap. There's nothing quite as sweet as sitting in the dirt, holding a hound dog's warm head. Even there --- i could feel God's good comfort. But then, as if God wanted to be most certain i knew He was with me, i faintly heard two honking geese in the distance (honking geese flying overhead is one of my all time favorite things). I looked up, trying to find them in the brilliant blue sky. With a pile of weeds beside me and a hound dog in my lap, the geese flew low and directly over my head honking their greeting -- it spoke to my soul.
I thought to myself ---- all the great huge sky around me, and God in His goodness, chooses to send them directly over my gardening spot. I felt cared for, seen, loved, and touched.

Ridge - the most wonderful hound dog in the world

When we put our hands and hearts to the task of cleaning out our "soul-gardens" ---- God makes very sure, we know, He is present and powerful. He works in us, for us, with us, beside us ---- He enables us to do the work, and then He pours out His blessings in the blooms that will soon appear.

We are fortunate children indeed.
(i'm thankful His Robes reach into my dirt filled winterized flower-bed)

"The LORD will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail." Isaiah 58:11

"He (Jesus) told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. Though it is the smallest of all seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds come and perch in its branches.” 
Matthew 13:31-32

"I (Jesus) am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener."  John 15:1

"At the place where Jesus was crucified, there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb, in which no one had ever been laid."  John 19:41

I'll post a more "Valentiney" writing on another day --- a day when we are not already thinking about our loved ones. To me --- the sentiments of Valentine's Day should last all year long --- so at an unexpected time --- i'll write of love... :)

Photos taken by Maggie and Steve

©Donna Taylor/Reaching for the Robe

1 comment:

  1. just had time to read this tonight. such good encouragement here...both to be attentive to God at work, and to be attentive to my soul-garden. i'm in need of some watering. feeling parched. thanks for the invitation to view everything as a loving life lesson from Jesus.