Spring is here!! The frost date has officially passed, and we can now plant all sorts of flowers, fruits, and vegetables without risk of frostbite or losing a baby plant to the cold! I started all my seeds about 6-8 weeks ago. I carefully let them grow under the grow light and moved them in and out of the garage so they could get acclimated to being outside. I had dozens of plants, and they were ready to be planted. They were growing and maturing, but they would die if I didn’t eventually move them to even bigger pots or plant them in the ground.
Then I went to take a look at my garden….
Now, this is my fourth year having a garden. Fourth year taking care of the soil, composting, preparing, and pest deterring, but this is my first year with a baby. Since the end of last growing season, I’ve been a little…preoccupied.
In the past, I’ve been all about preparing the soil ahead of time, trying out the “no till method.” I’ve piled on manure, dry leaves, hay, and compost to prepare the soil top down. This year, my circumstances changed. My manure source moved across town (and the horses with it). I had an infant in tow 24/7, and I just didn’t take the initiative to prepare ahead of time, so the weeds were out of control.
At this point, looking out at my rock solid soil littered with weeds, I knew my baby plants wouldn’t survive without some soil care and preparation.
Nothing inherently bad, just different, but there was no getting around the fact that this would be the year that I HAD to till. AS I was stepping and turning and breaking up the hard earth, I felt Holy Spirit whisper to me in ways that only he can while gardening. “Don’t ask God to plant something new in your life unless you are ready for him to till it up and weed you out.” Sweat dripping down my neck, I paused for a moment to get some water. What an interesting thought… and oh so applicable.
I had to put in extra physical work to break up the ground, pull out the weeds and add in new soil and compost to the mix. Preparing the soil was absolutely necessary. If I didn’t till and prepare my soil, all those baby plants that I tended to so gently through the cold winter months wouldn’t have a place to go. They wouldn’t even get the chance to thrive and flourish. But tilling was hard! It was sweaty and hot and my hands started blistering. The earth groaned as I popped old roots and disturbed earthworm homes (to the birds’ delight). Beetles and grubs popped out into the light and spiders tickled across my toes (not to my delight).
Once the soil was sufficiently broken up, I stooped down low to pull out the weeds. One by one, they slid out of the earth with ease. Weeding was relatively straightforward after the dirt had been loosened.
As I piled one weed on top of another, I started thinking about the weeds in our hearts. The things that grow roots deep and don’t give up easily. We have weeds from wounds, weeds from lies, from old patterns, habits, and addictions. The soil of our life is replete with all sorts of things. Yet we’re always asking for more.
“Lord, I want more of you.”
“Lord, I need your wisdom in this situation.”
“Lord, I want freedom in my relationships!”
“I want healing in my life.”
“Oh…But stop. I don’t want you to touch my heart. I just want something new without you having to lift the cover off of what already is.”
Remember, I had dozens and dozens of plants. Prepared, waiting, growing, and ready to be added to the soil to flourish and thrive. But there was no room, for the weeds were too thick and the soil too hard.
I, as the gardener, had beautiful things prepared for my garden. Cucumber, kale, squash, tomato, peppers and flowers. But the soil wasn’t ready until I tilled it up and weeded it out. How much more do our hearts need to be weeded out? Only sometimes can we cover it up long enough to get through a new growing season. But more often than not, there will come a time where we HAVE to be tilled up if we want anything new.
Jesus is the Good Gardener. He wants to plant good things in your life. New fresh plants and new fresh dreams, but if there is no space, I wonder what will happen to all those things he prepared in advance.
Jesus talks about the seed and the type of soil it falls on. The earth of our hearts. Soil that is hard, filled with weeds, or fertile and ready to receive.
When he tosses seed (or baby plants) your way today, what kind of earth will he find? Are you ready to be tilled up?
Tilling isn’t easy. It’s hard work. Weeds have a way of developing deep roots quickly, and the longer they stay the harder it will be to break up. Sometimes it looks like humbling yourself enough to admit your wrongdoings, a shift to see what temporary things you were placing your identity in. Sometimes it looks like taking inventory of your time and resources. Other times it might be getting before the Lord on your knees and asking him what He wants to do in your life- then following where He leads. He’ll let you know.
Today I added new purchased marigolds to the garden, as I didn’t have seeds for those, and I know they keep critters away. As I reached down with my bare fingers to add them to the garden, the dirt pulled away effortlessly to create a space for the flowers to grow. The earth was soft and ready to receive the gift of something new.