Tuesday, June 10, 2008

My Heart’s Garden

I have friends who love gardening. They salivate just thinking about spring when they can dig their fingers into that rich, dark soil and plant pickup loads of annual in their yards.

Me? I'm a perennial gal. Give me some low maintenance shrub that will come back year after year and keep to its nice, tidy spot without crowding anything out or needing frequent trimmings.

If I had my druthers, I'd also hire my own gardener. Someone willing to work rain or shine to keep flowerbeds and yard weed free.

Though you may never find me clapping my hands in glee at the thought of donning those gardening gloves, I will weed with the best of them when I have a goal to meet—like surprising my hubby when he's feeling overwhelming by the jungle creeping toward the house, or a special birthday party.

My husband's 40th birthday is Friday the Thirteenth. Ironic, isn't it?

Mat loves being around people and our house is perfect for entertaining, or would be if I'd ever had the courage to have a crowd over. (We'll leave those fears for another blog.)

So I invited thirty people to the big event and then glanced out the window to the yard. I crawled back to bed with a migraine.

Who could I call for help? It would take a team of people days . . . then hope shone as I considered that I do have my own small team. Albeit they are of the shorter variety and not legal to vote in any state, but they love their mommy and will work for money (or under the duress of having their allowance taken away).

Last weekend was thoroughly beautiful—sunny, warm . . . and I got to enjoy it with dirt under my fingernails and a crick in my neck. But our backyard is delightful.

As I tugged out the ten thousandth weed, and once again kindly invited the cherubs back to work, (yes, you can still sound kind at 150 decibels), I thought about my heart and what kind weeds lurked in there.

Weeds tend to be sneaky. From a distance some of our plants looked fine, but a closer look revealed weeds growing up through the foliage, sucking away the nutrition and robbing the plant of growth.

I know there are areas in my life that need some maintenance. Some sins I haven't wanted to let go of and others I'm probably oblivious to.

The awesome thing is our Master Gardener delights in tending to our hearts. Gently nurturing and pruning us toward growth.

I think too often we believe if we open up our weaknesses to Him, He's going to plow in there with a hedge trimmer or hack saw and leave us raw and bleeding.

That is so far from the truth.

What healthy father wants to annihilate his child as a way of encouraging growth? If we fear God, we have an inaccurate picture of who He really is.

If your perception of God is shadowed by fear or dread, then lies and distortions have been sown into your heart. I used to hold to that view of Him. I'd try to weed my own garden to try to please Him—but really it was fear of judgment and rejection that kept me from opening that garden gate to Him.

When I finally let go and let the gate swing open, gentleness and love surrounded me. He didn't even glance at the weeds. When I was finally brave enough to raise my head, He was looking at me. With wonder and love and adoration.

Get to know that God.

You'll embark on a lifetime of joy and growth.

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