Is your garden thriving or dying?

One of my “new year’s resolutions” for 2016 was to get back to blogging and writing consistently, which for me meant monthly. Here we are in mid April and this is my first one of the year. I guess I’m like thousands of others with good intentions but not so good follow-through. Can we say, ‘so much for resolutions?’  That’s another blog subject for another time…

Okay, so as I said, it’s FullSizeRender-1April and the creative force and beauty of spring is everywhere you look. It’s one of the things I love most about living in the Seattle area. The sun is shining, blue skies with Mt Rainier so big you want to just reach out the window to touch it, and the temps are in the high 60’s and 70’s. It inspires me to get out in the garden and get my hands dirty in the earth. I think of all the vegetables I want to plant in my patio planters and suddenly I find myself at a local nursery loading up my cart with small containers of tomato plants, cucumbers, lettuce, kale, snap peas and even brussel sprouts! I have visions of an abundant harvest and I can’t wait to get home to
get started.

What I have forgotten is the condition of the soil and what is actually in the planters after a long winter and much neglect on my partFullSizeRender-2. Let’s be honest, if you’ve ever been through a Seattle winter, you know it can be weeks at a time of rain, wind and grey skies. Who wants to deal with the lawn, the garden or planters in the cold and rain? Not this Florida girl for sure! My motto is: deal with it later when it’s sunny and warmer.

I arrive home and unload my trunk full of goodies I can’t wait to plant. Then, as I look at the planter boxes,  I have a moment of truth. They are full of weeds, dead stuff, and some are root bound. Ugh! That means work! I actually have to start pulling out all the weeds, digging deeper to see if any of the soil is still good and discover that most of it is not (thankfully my husband runs up to the store and gets a couple of bags of organic dirt and fertilizer) and so more work begins. Getting rid of weeds, old dead plants, and unfruitful soil is the first critical step for any garden to survive, let alone flourish.

Perhaps you are like me in that as you get your hands a little dirty and deal with the massive amount of overgrowth and garden work, you remember once again how amazing God is and the connection He shows us between this condition and our lives. (Is it an accident that He created us in the original garden?) Maybe you have flashes of how many weeds have popped up in your own heart and mind over the years; without diligent and consistent plucking up at the roots, a few still remain. You recognize old dead works that at one time were fresh and fruitful but now are brittle and hard because of disappointments, distractions, and getting offended. You recognize that doubt has crept into your heart where faith once stood firm for big dreams and things you felt were part of your life’s purpose. You begin to see the truth and wisdom of the words of Jesus:

He said, “A farmer went out to plant his seed. He scattered the seed on the ground. Some fell on a path. Birds came and ate it up. Some seed fell on rocky places, where there wasn’t much soil. The plants came up quickly, because the soil wasn’t deep. When the sun came up, it burned the plants. They dried up because they had no roots. Other seed fell among thorns. The thorns grew up and crowded out the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil. It produced a crop 100, 60 or 30 times more than what was planted. Those who have ears should listen and understand.”Matthew 13:1-9

Who doesn’t want a crop 100 times more than what you planted?! We all want the results but will we really take the time to deal with the weeds and dead stuff? For me personally, I have those deep dreams and desires God put in my heart since I was a child. Over the years, I have seen a few come to pass, while others have faded or more accurately, “choked by weeds and eaten by birds” because of difficult circumstances, unbelief, and even some neglect to nurture those dreams. It has taken many years of continually facing the truth about the condition of my heart.

Somehow even in the busyness of life with family, work, and the myriad of distractions, God’s grace meets you and you hear a powerful teaching that pierces your hard heart to turn to The Lord in humility; a revelation that you know is the key to your next breakthrough. You begin to see how experiences (both good and negative) have been a catalyst to strengthen and prepare you for going to the next level and perhaps even accomplish one of those big dreams. It is then that you want to write in your journal, pray more for a closer relationship with God; even write a song, paint a picture, or find a way to express outwardly the inward growth that is happening in the heart. It is also a clear way to know that our individual lives matter – we aren’t just some glob of amoeba, rather we were created by a loving Creator to press forward and continually grow towards our destiny and life’s purpose.

Ultimately, my desire (and I believe why we were all created) is to make a difference in the lives of others, to leave some kind of legacy in the earth so that both our loved ones and the world will be a little better. I think that is what ultimately brings me back to want to write a blog, song, encouraging email or letter. This helps me return to faith for the bigger dreams like establish a home and healing program for survivors of sex trafficking; record a new album, and believe for all the dreams of my husband and children to be fulfilled.  I am so thankful for God’s love and His Spirit constantly wooing me back to His beautiful garden, where we were originally created for a unique future and purpose.

I want to encourage you to dig up some of those dead weeds and recover some of the dreams God put in your heart you’ve given up on. Get rid of that old stinkin thinkin’, offenses and disappointments because things haven’t turned out the way you thought they should by now (bad soil and weeds) and now plant them in good soil of your heart (repentance, positive expectation, faith and humility) …Oh and don’t forget to add a little fertilizer by writing out those goals and dreams and keeping them in front of you (Hab.2:2). Of course, water everyday by filling your mind and heart with God’s promises, true stories and testimonies of other people who have overcome similar , and lots of good praise and worship! Remember, Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.“, Gal 6:9

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