Monday, December 17, 2012

Gardening The Soul

Our neighbors are an elderly couple named Ed and Lois.  They are so sweet and patient with our kids.  In fact, Zeke wanted to invite Ed over for a sleepover for his birthday a couple of years ago:)

Anyway, they are outside people.  In the spring/summer we often find Lois push-mowing around her beautifully kept flower gardens, we've found Ed up on ladders fixing gutters and shutters more than once and they know their stuff about how to keep plants alive, which is a rare thing in this house, ha!

Areyna came to me last week and asked if we could surprise Lois and plant some "pretty flowers" in her yard.  I tried to explain that that was a sweet thought, but Lois enjoyed being in the yard and taking care of her flowers and choosing where to plant them, so if we REALLY wanted to give her a gift, we could take her some flowers or seeds and she could plant them where she would want them.

That sufficed Areyna's giving spirit and we decided that we would do that this coming spring.  Then she said, "'cause Lois is good at keeping her garden alive and pretty.  Hers looks a little better than ours. We don't really do very good at keeping our garden alive.  But I guess Lois doesn't have lots of kids that get in her garden and mess stuff up."

Every bit of that is true!  Lois is a good gardener.  It always thrives and is beautiful.  It does always look better than ours.  We are most certainly NOT the talk of the town when it comes to gardening. And Lois does NOT have kids going in and out of her garden because it makes for a good "prison for the bad guys" or eating the not-quite-ripe produce:)

Sure, it may look good for a few weeks, but I'm pretty sure I just don't have that "green thumb" that everybody always talks about.

I think one of the keys to my gardening downfall is the fact that I know NOTHING about proper soil (or straw, in our case).  There are certain levels you are supposed to maintain to make the ground less hostile and more conducive for producing the desired fruit and vegetables.  You MUST prepare the soil in order for the seed to grow and the roots to take hold.  

If you don't prepare the soil you may begin to see some fruit for a time, but it will quickly die.  It simply won't last.  I can try and try to do the right thing but it will all fail miserably if the foundation hasn't been prepared.

Hosea was really onto something when he wrote this verse:
"Sow righteousness for yourselves, reap the fruit of unfailing love, 
and break up your unplowed ground; 
for it is time to seek the LORD, 
until he comes and showers his righteousness on you."
Hosea 10:12

Sidenote: have you ever heard A.W. Tozer's sermon where he quotes this passage?  There is something about the conviction in his voice that gives me chills every time I hear it.

If we are truly seeking for life change we MUST prepare the soil of our hearts!  We can try and try to do the right things or think the right thoughts or say the right words, but it will all fall short if we have not handed the soil over to God to plow and break up.

So, yes, desire for change and pray for renewed outlook and healing, but first allow the God who heals and restores to break up the hard soil in our hearts to allow the seed of God to grow deep in our soul!

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