Life Lessons, Pt. 11: Nourishment of the Soul

There are so many things to learn from a garden, but what is its purpose? First, of course, we know that a garden nourishes the body, but it can also nourish the soul. My friends, Larry and Charlotte, were recently up in Maine visiting their children and grandkids. Larry shared his experience of waking early in the morning and sitting on the porch, enjoying Tonya and Steve’s beautiful garden.

He stated, “These beautiful plants with bird and hummingbird feeders do a steady business. Goldfinches, chickadees, titmouse, mourning doves, and others stop by for breakfast, while the chipmunks, bees, butterflies, and all types of insects resemble a busy city!” He shared the priority of allowing the Holy Spirit to give us rest, refreshing and replenishing our spirits. For them, this included family activities accompanied by hilarious discussions.

What a beautiful picture of our gardens’ purpose! It brings nourishment to our spirits. Yes, a garden is hard work. Nobody will deny that. However, in the end, God cares about our souls. He desires us to take the time to enjoy the simple pleasures splendidly clothed in an array of colors that He brings our way. I know for myself when I was out watering, I noticed a tiny ladybug on one of my leaves. I took such joy in the bright red with black polka dots against the backdrop of my green leaf. I found myself thanking God for that little bug that brightened my day!

And that is what God wants: our time and attention, not only when it comes to our needs, but in noticing the magnificent gifts He has already provided us. God could have made a world without color, but He didn’t. Why? Because life is better in a variety of hues and shades. From bodacious and bold brights to elegant and refined pastels, life is full of the splendor of our God, not only in the natural world but in our relationships, as well.

Be encouraged today! Use the wisdom God has so graciously bestowed to ensure that you are taking time to reflect not only on God’s work but His gifts. Your garden is bursting forth in glorious color, from the golden marigolds to the purple pansies. Your garden is full of delightful relationships, forming beautiful bouquets that enrich your life. We’ve heard the phrase “Stop and smell the roses.” I desire that you rest in your relationship with God and make the time for the lovely spirits with which He has surrounded you! I am planning on spending the rest of my summer doing so.

May God bless you all, and I look forward to writing something new after taking a couple of months of rest, enjoying the garden God has given me to tend! To all of you who have participated, thank you! You are fragrant flowers in my bouquet!

Hebrews 4:9-10, “There remains therefore a rest for the people of God. For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His.”

Let’s Pray:

Father, forgive me for being so consumed with work that I haven’t taken notice of the beauty You have surrounded me with in the world You created and the relationships You’ve provided. Holy Spirit, help me to rest, allowing You to refresh and replenish my spirit. I want to enter into Your glorious rest. In Jesus’ Name, amen.

Life Lessons, Pt. 10: Those Pesky Weeds!

Weeds – I hate pulling weeds! It takes time and energy, and I would much rather do something else, but it’s necessary. I don’t know of anyone who enjoys it. My great-aunt used to say you could tell a weed by its smell. Whether this is true, I know not, but many that I have pulled do have a stench to them. When you pull them, though, you can’t just cut them down with a mower; you have to get the root if you don’t want it to grow back.

Just as established roots cause a plant to thrive, they also allow weeds to thrive. I have noticed some weeds poking through my garden the past couple of weeks, and as I have seen them sprout, I have pulled them up. When they are young and the soil is wet, the root comes out very easily. It doesn’t take a lot of effort to pull up a young weed. However, a well-established weed is another matter altogether. It’s unlikely that you will pull up the roots with your hands; sometimes, you need special tools. I have a garden tool that, if you center it above the weed, when you press it down into the ground, it catches onto the root and pulls the whole thing up. However, if you don’t have it centered correctly, it won’t pull up anything. Hence the saying, let’s get to the root of the issue.

It doesn’t matter what the symptoms are of the weeds in our life if we aren’t willing to get to the root. The problem is, some weeds are pretty, and we don’t want to pull them up, but all the time we are admiring them, they are slowly creeping across our yards and gardens, choking out the life of what is healthy. Other weeds are prickly, and you have to wear gloves to grasp hold of them.

In His parable of the seeds and soil, Jesus said, “Now these are the ones sown among thorns; they are the ones that hear the word, and the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things entering in choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful” (Mark 4:18-19). If fruitfulness is our purpose, weeds in our life can prevent us from stepping into it. It is easy to become consumed with this life, but we need to remember it is temporal. Therefore, we must protect the Word sown in our lives – it’s of paramount importance.

Colossians 3:1-2 tells us, “If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.” Our focus should be on that which brings forth the eternal. Jesus was clear that the Father already knows what we need before we even ask and that if God is concerned about clothing the flowers, our well-being is as important to Him (Matt. 6:30-34).

If we desire the Word of God to thrive in our lives, we need to pull the weeds, confident that God is watching out for us. When you can’t get to the root, the Holy Spirit is faithful to show you where it is and assist you in its uprooting. We can’t afford to be lazy gardeners. We must pay attention because there’s an enemy out there who wants our gardens destroyed, and we must be vigilant to watch and discern those things that will choke the Word out of our lives.

Let’s Pray:

Holy Spirit, please help me discern between what is a pretty weed and a healthy plant in my life. I don’t want anything to come between me and seeing God’s Word flourish in my life. Assist me in uprooting anything that is not of You so that my garden will be fruitful and multiply for the Kingdom. In Jesus’ Name, amen.

Life Lessons, Pt. 9: Learning to Wait

I am so excited! Last night I harvested my first zucchini. It wasn’t hard work; I just gave a slight tug, and it broke off of the plant. I’m still trying to decide what to do with it. How do you tithe on your vegetable garden? It is gratifying to see the fruit of your labor ready for your table.

I planted, I watered, and then I waited. Nothing else was required of me – so similar to the Kingdom of God. Sometimes we (particularly ministers) grow discouraged when we don’t see growth and blossoms. Some even begin to wonder if you should till the whole thing up and start over again, but the entire time, God is at work. Within what you have planted, He has structured the plant’s DNA to know its rate of growth, when it will blossom, and how long it will take fruit to come forth. It has very little to do with us; we are just co-gardeners with God, doing what He has asked of us.

Interestingly, each fruit has its timetable. There is no one set time for harvest, and with some vegetables, if you harvest them correctly, they will continue to bear fruit that can be harvested over several months.

My question today is, what is it that you have planted and watered that you are still waiting to come to fruition? What are you speaking life into? Be patient. Ecclesiastes 3:1-2 states, “To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which has been planted.” This time is a set occasion designed by God, and He lovingly placed this timetable inside of you.

Like all of you, I, too, await. While we wait for the timing of the Lord, we must faithfully water it with His Word and be patient, knowing that in due season we will reap – if we don’t faint. Choose within yourself that you will be resilient and keep watch over the garden you are growing. Allow God to have His way in you, and in His time, something extraordinary is going to begin to bloom in you!

Let’s Pray:

Father, I don’t know why I have worried when I can’t make anything grow faster than it does. Forgive me for not waiting patiently for Your timing. You are the One who brings forth the harvest. Holy Spirit, please help me develop the patience to see all that has been planted of You come to maturity in my life. In Jesus’ Name, amen.