Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Lessons from the Garden

I worked in and around the roses this morning.  We've had an overabundance of "goathead" stickers around the roses.  We've even started a "collection" of the ones that get tracked into the house.  So far we have a jar half-full of them!
So, it was time to clean them up, water the roses, rake, hoe and get that part of the yard looking half-way decent.  While I was doing this, as I was doing all this I began to think of so many things....

1) I did a lot of weeding.  Some of the weeds came up easily and others I had to really pull on to get them out by the roots.  Weeds, left unattended, begin to choke out the good plants.  Bitterness is like a root, like a weed that goes down deep and if not uprooted will continue to spread... to grow more thorns, and hurt all those around.  Unforgiveness, bitterness, and past hurts, need to be uprooted and thrown away.  "No more let sins and sorrows grow, nor thorns infest the ground.  He comes to make His blessing flow far as the curse is found."

2) I noticed some of our rose bushes were really over-grown and no longer had blossoms.  Roses and other growing things need to be pruned to be healthy.  Not all growth is good.  Sometimes things need to be pruned for more fruit to grow.  When things are cut away maybe new growth is on the way.
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful."

3) Praying mantis.  While I was raking, I felt something on my arm.  I looked and saw a tiny praying mantis.  I brushed it off but thought, "this little thing is always "praying"... shouldn't I?  God made that little bug for a purpose (not sure what it is), and it does what it was made to do.  God made me for fellowship with himself, to talk with Him,  to love Him, to pray... for those around me.  So, I did that.
"Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus."

4) "One is nearer God's heart in a garden than anywhere else on earth." I had this little phrase going through my head all morning.  It was good to just work with my hands (and back!) and have time to think, to pray, to ponder.  "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters."

5) I remember my brother telling me a joke he heard once.  "Do you know what God's name is?  It's Andy.  "Andy walks with me, Andy talks with me...."  (you know, from the hymn "In the Garden" - "I come to the garden alone, while the dew is still on the roses, and the voice I hear falling on my ear, the Son of God discloses.  And He walks with me, and He talks with me, and He tells me I am His own.  And the joy we share as we tarry there, none other has ever known.")  We planted a tree next to the roses.  It's a Coastal Redwood.  It should grow kinda quickly.  It's in memory of my nephew, Andy.  He passed away last year.  Being there in the garden helps me think of him, remember him, and reminds me to pray for his parents and sister (my brother and his family).

Lessons learned today:
- Get rid of all bitterness.  Pull it up by the root and get rid of it.  Don't let it take root any more.
- Trim unnecessary growth.  Get rid of things that are not needed to make room for better things.
- Pray at all times.  Be a "praying woman" (as opposed to a "praying man"tis) sorry for the pun! 
- Enjoy times of silent labor... practice the Presence of God at all times.
- Treasure those closest to you, hug them, tell them you love them, pray for them.  Look for daily reminders of God's Presence.

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