When me moved here, I designated that as my garden. For a while I worked hard to make it a beautiful place but it wasn't easy. There were several factors coming against the progress of the garden. The biggest one being the fact that the next door neighbors sat just on the other side of the fence smoking and screaming at each other and their children. For some reason, that just made gardening much less enjoyable. Anyway, there were several times that I got the garden looking nice but would still have a hard time getting much to grow. Jalapenos grow extremely well in my garden, I've also had success with tomatoes and the rosemary bush has taken over! I've gotten other plants to grow a bit but never really produce much before they die or are consumed by some kind of bug. There have been seasons of time that I made a real effort on that garden but for the most part I get involved in another project or just get busy with the kids and the garden goes unattended, left sitting to grow jalepenos and weeds to it's heart's content. I've tried taking the kids out there too but my baby still enjoys eating the dirt too much for me to concentrate on anything else but her. So it sits, waiting for my kids to get "just a little bit older" so that I can pay attention to again.
|I know I have a picture of the baby eating dirt somewhere, but I can't find it. Here is Emma a few years ago.|
What's funny is that I really do enjoy working in the garden, I even enjoy pulling the weeds. It gives me a sense of accomplishment and it can be a pretty good workout. Plus, it's a great time to spend with the Lord. Pulling weeds often reminds me to check the condition of my heart. I'm sure that's one of the reasons that there are so many Biblical analogies concerning weeds. Luke 8:4-15 Our heart is like the ground that the weeds grow in and just like that ground we need to keep our heart in good repair by pulling the weeds and preparing the soil for good plants to grow. Then when the good plants do grow, we need to remember to water them, fertilize and care for them, lest they die and the weeds come back in stronger numbers. Sometimes we think we've done so well to clear the weeds but we forget to take the time to plant the good seeds of God's Word and water them with His Holy Spirit, just to find later on that the same old pesky weeds have grown back and brought with them a few other types of weeds along with some crab grass, yikes!!! Matt 12:43-45
Another thing that I've noticed about pulling weeds is that you can spend all day pulling little weeds and yet you still can't see much of an improvement or, you can spend a few minutes digging out a huge weed and be amazed at the visual difference it makes. This doesn't mean that we shouldn't put the time into pull the little weeds. It's very important to get them out because if we don't they can grow into those big weeds and overrun the garden! Sometimes we have issues in our lives that are so obvious, like the big weed and when we deal with the issue and God pulls our weed out, we are seemingly a different person all of a sudden and everyone can notice the dramatic change. This is contrasted to the person who is diligent about pulling the little weeds as soon as they sprout up. You don't really notice a drastic difference right away, they seem to just be the same person they always were but over years you can look back at their lives and see how they have steadily grown and blossomed. It's a bit like the story of the Prodigal Son (thank you O'Ryan) in Luke 15:11-32 What's funny is that a lot of times we don't even notice the benefits ourselves until we look back and evaluate. That certainly seems to be the case in the story of the Prodigal Son where the older son is upset at the blessings that his deviant brother is receiving. I think if he had realized the benefits that he had received and would be inheriting from faithfully serving his father, that his outlook would have been completely different.
When it does come to pulling the big weeds, I've found that a lot of times it's actually necessary to pull the little weeds at it's base first. Those little weeds thrive under the shade and protection of the big ones and their roots become intertwined. To pull the big ones out you really need to remove a lot of the ground around them to get the root out because we all know that if you don't get the root, you haven't gotten the weed, those suckers grow right back! Anyway, to get the root you need to clear the area around the root and sometimes that means a lot of tedious work pulling out those little guys one by one until the root of the large one is finally exposed. It's hard to pull a root that isn't exposed. When you can't see what you are tugging on you just don't know what angle to pull it from.
Tools are sometimes necessary to pull weeds. You may need a shovel to dig out the deep roots. You have to be careful with the shovel because you don't want to disturb any healthy plants that may be nearby, or accidentally slice through a tree root that has tunneled under the area you are working on. You also need to be careful when weeding out your heart. Sometimes in our efforts to dig out the bad, we end up uprooting the good things that God has planted there. So, how do you know what is good and what is bad. Sometimes weeds look beautiful and good plants can sometimes look deceptively like weeds. There have been several times that I've accidentally pulled out chunks of lantana when I've gone too quickly in trying to remove the weeds around it. On the other side of the spectrum, I've actually made an effort to spread the seeds of African Daisies (technically a weed) in my front yard, just because they are beautiful. They are beautiful for a season, that is. When they die you are left with a huge mess to clean up and in my case a warning from the city. I guess what I'm saying is that when we are working on weeding our heart it's always best to consult the Holy Spirit on what we should try to remove and what is there because He planted it. Sometimes we accidentally throw out the truth and nourish a lie just because in the early stages of growth, or even in the later, the two are hard to tell apart without the wisdom of God.