June 21, 2015

Faith Lessons from a Country Garden (Or: Shoot! That Wasn't a Weed!)

I am not a gardener.

(See "Grumpy Gardener Girl.")

This is my garden. The best part about it is that I get to wear these boots when I work in it.

This is my idea of gardening: I do nothing; pretty stuff shows up in my yard. My mom planted everything by the little stone house. We inherited the peonies when we bought the place. I think they were supposed to make up for the plumbing.

If you stopped by this blog because you were (mis)led by promises of flowery language and deep-rooted spiritual revelation, I apologize. But I hope you'll stay anyway, because I think God has planted some truth among the weeds here.

A few weeks ago, I was out tending the scrappy vegetable patch my master gardener-level mom very kindly put in for me. It was early in the season, so the fledgling beans and corn were just poking through the soil. The beans clearly set themselves apart from the weeds, but the corn plants so closely resembled the grass-like invaders I was trying to eliminate that more than once, I scraped at something, only to reveal a corn root. Drat.

Then I remembered why I dislike gardening so much (see "Grumpy Gardener Girl"): weeds. And weeding.

The problem was that what I wanted and what I didn't want were almost the same size.

It occurred to me that if the weeds were bigger and more obvious, it would be easier to recognize and get rid of them.

Which led me to think, "Well, THAT isn't going to end up as a blog post: 'Let the Weeds in Your Life Grow So They'll be Easier to Spot!' " Um, no.

This is the point where the Master Gardener (and Master Everything Else) broke into my brain with some clarification: "Elizabeth, it's not about letting the bad grow so you'll know what to pull. It's about letting the good grow so you'll know what to keep."

Oh, right. 

Through the prayer, Bible study, worship, and fellowship with other believers, I need to be tending my spiritual garden. With God's help...

I need to grow love and pull hate and apathy.

I need to grow joy and pull discontentment and wallowing.

I need to grow peace and pull worry.

I need to grow patience and pull hasty action.

I need to grow kindness and pull self-centeredness.

I need to grow goodness and pull pride.

I need to grow faithfulness and pull doubt.

I need to grow self-control and pull self-indulgence.

If the fruit of the Spirit in me is bigger and more robust than the fruit of me in me, I should be able to more readily recognize what needs to go and what should stay and be fed and watered.

I need to keep battling the weeds in my garden. (And it cannot possibly be a coincidence that, Scripturally speaking, weeds symbolize "the sons of the evil one" in the end times and that "the enemy who sows them is the devil"--see for yourself in Matthew 13:38.)

I also need to keep battling the weeds in my mind and heart.

None of this is going to turn me into a gardener (see "Grumpy Gardener Girl"). But it just might turn me into a little patch of this kind of garden:

The LORD will guide you always; He will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail." (Isaiah 58:11)


  1. Thank you for bringing a smile to my face this morning, Elizabeth! (P.S. I tried to post already but I don't know if it 'took', so I apologize if this is a repeat.) I love this thought, "letting the good grow so you'll know what to keep." I'm focusing on that thought today:) Oh, and I love the boots!

    1. Oh, thank you, Kristine! Your comment brought a smile to MY face! Thanks so much for stopping by and taking time to respond. May you have a weed-free day! ;)

  2. Such a great reminder to be tending our spiritual garden. Thanks for this at #RaRaLinkup today!

    1. Thank you, Angela! I so appreciate you taking time to visit and comment. Blessings on the rest of your week!


I'd love to hear from you! Feel free to tell me what you really think. Years ago, I explained to my then-two-year-old that my appointment with a counselor was "sort of like going to a doctor who will help me be a better mommy." Without blinking, she replied, "You'd better go every day." All of which is just to say I've spent some time in the school of brutal honesty!