The theme at HSB this week is gardening. Gardens truly are a creative endeavour, and when we think of Creation, we often envision the first garden -- the Garden of Eden -- a perfect place of peace and serenity.
Peace and serenity -- that's what I associate with gardens, and that's why I love the idea of having a garden. However, the actual experience of gardening is not something I enjoy. It's a lot of hard work. But it's not just one-time hard work and the job is done. The work is constant. If you don't work regularly to keep the weeds at bay, you end up with a garden gone wild, like this:
Just a few short weeks of neglect, and a place of peace and serenity becomes an ugly eyesore.
Isn't that the way it is with our hearts, too?
With our young children, we often explore the concept of sin with the analogy of weeds in a garden. Our sinful attitudes and behaviours are like weeds in the garden of our hearts. We explain that we need the Master Gardener to regularly rid us of the weeds of selfishness and resentment and disobedience -- from the roots. Otherwise, they just pop up again and again, and the garden runs wild and wayward.
But it's not just a concept that applies to our children, is it? Just as I cannot cause the fruit of the Spirit to grow in my heart by my own strength, I can't pull those weeds out myself, no matter how hard I try -- but God can. I can allow the Creator Gardener to remove the weeds that choke out His fruit -- on an on-going basis. My constant work is to allow Him to do so! Simple as it sounds, that is no easy task. My heart is often hard, and I cling to those weeds -- thistles and thorns that catch and scratch those around me as much as they chafe my own soul.
But the rain of His Word can soften the soil. I love the way Ann Voskamp provides ways for her family to enable that to happen --so much so that before I finished writing this post, I created our own place to meet Peace, the one who weeds with Grace:
My hope is that the Gardener's work will be more welcomed by our hearts in this little place of refuge, where words and the Word can wrestle out the weeds, returning our hearts to true Peace and serenity -- where the work of submitting to the Gardener's loving hand is made a little easier.
Are there any ways that you've found to soften the soil of your heart, or of your children's hearts, so that the Creator Gardener can uproot the weeds that choke His fruit?