Sunday, October 13, 2013

Grace in the Garden

Day 13 - Grace in the Garden

I like the idea of gardening much more than I like the work of gardening. That is how our front flower bed had gotten in the state it was in. So we designated yesterday as spruce up the yard day. Paul and some friends pulled up bushes I've never liked and trimmed some ornamental trees.  I weeded around my roses. I like my roses because they have thrived despite my poor gardening skills.

For some reason, gardening reminds me of spiritual things. Maybe it's John 15. I noticed several things while weeding. First, some of the weeds weren't weeds at all. I had grass and small trees (Yes, that is my poor level of garden maintenance!) growing near or among my roses. Those things are great in their proper place, but they had moved in to take the place of something else. I think I struggle more with letting something good in its place choke out something better more than I struggle with having "big bad sins" invade my life.

Some of the unwanted plants looked intimidating. I was sure that I would have a hard time pulling them out. But when I started the pulling, they came up easily. I had looked at those weeds for a while and not done anything partly because I was daunted by the seeming size of the task. (The other parts were 90 some-odd degree heat and super-high humidity all summer.) I can look at other things in my life and feel paralyzed because of the seeming size of the task, but sometimes when I actually do it, I find that the dread was worse than the actual work.

The trees were funny. They blended in so well with the roses that I didn't even know they were there until I looked closely. One even had leaves that looked enough like rose leaves that it fooled other people, too. Sometimes unwanted characteristics hide themselves in my life and look like something desirable. Pride can mimic high standards. Laziness can mimic God-designed rest. I need to look closely to see them for what they are, and I need to give others permission and access to look closely as well.

The hardest unwanted plant to deal with was the grass that grew all around a rose bush we have that isn't separated from the rest of our lawn by a sidewalk. It was deeply rooted and had grown all in the rose bush. Paul even wondered if we might not have to just get rid of that rose bush. I had to work very hard to pull it out! Now that the grass is gone, we will add some new soil and some mulch and, most important, a physical barrier to keep the grass where it belongs. I need to make sure I have effective boundaries in my life as well.  I need to guard against those things that would take up more space in my life than they should,

Today's gardening endeavors left me with some sore muscles, a better-looking garden, and some spiritual food for thought. Now comes the hard part, maintaining the progress I've made.


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