My dad was an amazing gardener. He didn’t just have a green thumb; he had two green thumbs and eight green fingers! He could make anything grow. I remember when my oldest son was in kindergarten, his class planted seeds. This seed was supposed to grow into some type of green plant. By the time we brought it to my dad, it was just about dead and held up by a pencil that I twist-tied to it. My dad nursed that little plant and it blossomed in his care. In fact, my son named the plant Blossom the following year when we planted it in the front of our house!
I don’t have as many green thumbs and fingers as my dad, but the last few years I have successfully harvested vegetables from a garden planted next to our house. This year I grew tomatoes, jalapeno peppers, zucchini, romaine lettuce and green beans. I watered my garden every night, giving my plants extra water after the very hot days we had at the end of summer. I pulled weeds (which always grow even though I didn’t plant them!) so they wouldn’t choke out my plants. I fed my plants special plant food that I remember my dad using in his garden. We had so much salad this summer that my family doesn’t want to see a lettuce leaf for a long time. 🙂
The other day I walked over to the side of the house where my garden is. The plants were no longer living, victim to the very cold nights over the last few weeks. They were brown and drooping and dead. I started to pull the dead plants and old fruit from the garden so it would be clean and ready to plant once again when spring come–not that I am rushing that. I love winter! I stacked the tomato cages and brought them to the garage. I had done all I could for my garden for this year. Now it is time for it to rest.
I started to think as I was out there how gardens go through seasons. In January if I look at my raised beds, there are no green plants growing there. Yet, the soil and fertilizer are there, under the snow, waiting to be stirred up to receive plants again. I thought of all the time spent pulling weeds from my garden. The weeds are not there either, but I know they will be back come planting time.
My heart goes through seasons as well. Sometimes the season of my heart is a flourishing one. New growth is taking place because Jesus is working hard in that season to produce the living outcome He wants to see in me. Other seasons it may seem like nothing is happening. I feel like all growth has been pulled and discarded. My heart feels as though winter has settled in to stop any growth from happening. But just like the soil in my garden is resting under that snow, my heart is resting as well. Jesus hasn’t forgotten about me no more than I have forgotten I have a garden next to my house. Sometimes, Jesus has to pull weeds from my heart. That can be a painful process. If He left the weeds, though, He wouldn’t be a loving gardener. A loving gardener knows that weeds left unchecked can kill what is planted. He loves me too much to let that happen.
One more thing.
When I planted my garden, the plants did not tell me what to do. My zucchini never said to me, “Now, Becky, don’t forget to water me. Oh, and I would like that special food to make me grow.” No. I was in charge of my garden because I am the one who decided what to plant. I decided where each plant should be placed. I knew I needed to care for my garden for it was unable to care for itself. Jesus knows all this and more about me. He knows what I need to make me grow. He knows what weeds need to be pulled. I don’t have to fret over if He is going to “water” me or “feed” me; He will. He is the master gardener of my mind, heart and soul. And truthfully, He is the ONLY one capable of making growth happen.