The project of a garden that I began a month or so ago is coming along nicely. My heart is happy when I look out my kitchen window and see an expanse of green. I think ahead to harvest time when we’ll be able to enjoy what comes out of the ground. I have discovered quite quickly that weeding a garden can be a full-time job. I’m finding myself out there a lot.
My youngest children wanted to help pull weeds, so I showed them what was desired plant and what was to be evicted. But the desire quickly faded when they discovered bugs reside amongst the greenery. The time in my garden is a quiet time; time I’m able to spend uninterrupted with God, and He’s teaching me many truths while my hands are in the dirt.
One of the very first things I learned was that just because it’s green, doesn’t mean its good. I enjoyed seeing so many plants emerging from the ground, it made me feel accomplished, and there were lots of baby plants in the plot. But, not all that I saw were plants, and at first glance I was having trouble discerning which ones to pull and which ones to leave. In fact, at one point, I thought I had pulled all of the broccoli plants thinking they were the beginning of thistles! I was so relieved when I had trained eyes inspect the row and tell me all was well. Not all growth, not all that appears desirable, not all that looks good from distance will be profitable. We need to pray for discernment to recognize the difference.
A second thing I learned was that no matter how hard you try to only pull out the weeds, there may be casualties! As I was going along in my row of peas, I found that they had wrapped themselves around some neighboring weeds, and as I pulled the weed, the pea plant broke off. Also, as I was pulling large weeds in a row of beets, some small, not yet mature beet plants, came out too! I felt so badly because my intent was to nurture those beets but I realized that as careful as I was being it couldn’t be helped. No matter how prudent you are with decisions you make, sometimes negative consequences can also result. And no matter careful how care your words or actions, sometimes relationships can be uprooted. Faith not yet mature or a deep attachment to something God needs to remove can pull them out of fellowship.
One last thing that was impressed on my heart this week came after I was done my job and was on my way to clean up. When I’m working in my garden I refuse to wear gloves. While they protect my hands from getting filthy, I feel they make me less accurate. Needless to say, when I come in from outside my hands are caked with mud. I had a tip that sugar and oil will scrub away the dirt and leave your hands perfect again- and it works! But it doesn’t help with the nails, and even a brush doesn’t completely rid them of the residue.
The other evening, we had plans for dinner with friends and I took a look at my hands and thought, “There’s no way I can go anywhere with my fingers looking like this!” So, I grabbed some nail polish and painted them. Quite pleased at the cover up, we went out. As I looked at my hands that night I realized that although no one else knew what was under the paint, I did. The most beautiful smile in the world can cover up a world of hurt in someone. Only God knows what’s going on on the inside; only He can search the heart. We only get to see what people are willing to reveal, and we only show others what we are comfortable with them knowing. We need Holy Spirit to help us discern what’s really going on because what we see with our natural eyes isn’t really the entire story.