Thursday, July 7, 2011

God the Gardener

Pulling weeds. Raking. Digging. Getting dirt under your nails.  These things do NOT make up my idea of fun nor do they represent activities I typically find myself doing.  I'm that woman who goes to the home improvement store and picks out all the pretty plants and then tells my husband where to plan them. He tends to the lawn and the plants.  It's just not my gig. 
Today, however, I sat at my kitchen table and looked out at my new lawn and the area in front of my dining room window that's supposed to be a decorative garden.  I sat there for a moment and thought about how that area represents our family to the outside world.  I also reflected on a chapter from the book I'm reading right now called "After the Boxes are Unpacked" by Susan Miller ( (c) 1995) about the difficulties of moving and the adjustments that we must make.  Chapter 9 is titled Bloom where you are Planted and the author describes how we are supposed to "take root" wherever we are so that we can get connected and comfortable in our new space.  She asks the question "Are you watering your woes or fertilizing your faith?" When I read those words I had to admit that I've spent a lot of time over the past month watering my woes and focusing on all the ways that things have gone wrong, or at least, not according to plan - my plan.

Yesterday's post was a good step in the right direction.  I wrote about an issue that I'd been trying to control and have power over, to no avail, and I wrote about God telling me to let Him take over for me.  I prayed last night that God would do just that and help me to remember to stay focused on his Power and Strength, rather than my own.  Then, I read chapter 9. 

More messages from God.

As I sat by my window this afternoon and looked out at the overgrown, half dead, littered with trash area of my yard, the cracked and dry soil, and dead and brown ground, I thought about how God has probably been looking at me the same way.  There's been so many things that have felt dead and ugly in me lately. There's been a total lack of curb appeal...for me and my new home...and I felt a determination to get it in order.

So, I found a pair of gloves and set out.  At first, I thought, "I'll just water it and let Justin deal with the weeds" but as I stood in the yard, I found myself led to begin pulling and plucking.  I started with the easy to reach stuff and the big pieces of dead shrubbery.  Barely scrathing the surface and I did feel better.  I returned to the house and set about other chores and projects. The window kept my attention and I couldn't let it just wasn't good enough...I had to do more...the surface-level work just was not going to cut it.  It was not an accurate reflection of who this family is and I had to fix it.

I returned to that garden with a rake and began pushing and pulling the earth, raking up all the dead and ugly, showing the beautiful red color of the fresh mulch and dirt that had been buried.  My back hurt and I wanted to give up but I wouldn't allow myself.  I need these roots to take and the lawn to flourish.  I want that green spread of God's touch on my life, comfortable and inviting.  I need to dig deeper and make it right.  It isn't nearly finished yet, but it's a start, just like me!

God's working in me the same way, I think.  He's pushing and pulling me in lots of different directions and even when I want to give up and say "I quit!" He doesn't let me.  He keeps holding me tight while plucking the negativity out of me.  He is reminding me, over and over, that this last month is not the end of what we once had, but the beginning of great new things. 

He is my Gardener and I'll keep "fertilizing my faith"...both in Him and in my lawn!

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