Tidying Up My Garden
In the fall, we rake all the leaves out of the yard and cover the herb garden and all the perennials, so that they are protected from the harsh realities of winter weather up here. Then in the spring, we rake all those leaves up again, and dispose of them, so the plants can breathe in the fresh air, see the sunshine, and warmth and rain can permeate down to their roots.
This past winter was so mild here though, that the plants are confused, and sadly, won't be as strong....they didn't get enough rest over the winter and are already thinking it's time to wake up. Plus, the bugs didn't die off, disease didn't die off, it just wasn't cold enough to kill potential dangers to the plants. All that preparation, and they didn't need it. Yet, I'll do it all again in the fall, because you just never know about next winter
God has really been showing me how we do the same thing. We get all ready for harsh, cold, extreme 'weather'. We do the work to protect ourselves, and then we forget to tidy up when the weather changes. We leave the winter preparations in place, because you just never can tell about frost. But how can we see the warmth of the sun (or Son), experience the rain needed for growth, if we're smothered under a leaf pile? Is it always winter in our lives? Are we always living in fear of frost? Do we ever see summer?
For my life, the 'leaf pile winterizing' has always been the need to be in control, fear, insecurity, inferiority, doubt, life experiences, disappointment, battling along alone sometimes. Some of the pile was created all by myself, with each leaf being expertly placed, just where I thought it was needed. In fact, not some of the pile, most of the pile was my own doing. Some of the pile was created by others, much more scattered about. But the whole pile needs to go! Doesn't matter how it got there, or why, it MUST be removed so the light and air and rain can get to my roots so I can grow!
There is an additional benefit in my plant garden to the leaf piles. The bottom layers will slowly decompose, feeding nutrients into the soil. Not a ton, but some. Sadly, this is evident when we go to rake them up in the spring....soggy, yucky mess of leaves at the very bottom of the pile! Do the leaves in my life decompose and add nutrients, or do they just create a yucky, soggy mess right on my surface? I think I have far more choice in this area than I do with the garden.
If I choose to allow God to be Himself, and use those things to grow me, then I'm a stronger, healthier me. But if I just let them be a big, yucky, soggy mess on my surface then what was the point of 'winterizing'? Is it possible that by getting that yuck out of the way, the lord will rain down His spirit and blessing, cleaning off the yuck, and instead washing the nutrients in?
It's been a less than fun experience tidying up my life, and removing all that yuck and winterizing and all those leaves. Sometimes they fall off the rake, out of the garden cart, blow around. Sometimes I'll think I've got all the top layers raked up, turn around, and there are a few mores leaves I didn't spot. Can you say frustration!! I'm only partially through the yucky part, but am already seeing a difference. Yuck is harder to remove than those top layers. The bottom of the pile....ugh!
I am beginning to see the benefits. I've found a renewed sense of purpose and joy. A renewing of my passions and mission and purpose and faith. I've found God confirming, renewing, redeeming, strengthening, growing, building, adding peace and direction, and sprouting new dreams in my life. That makes it all worthwhile! I'm excited to see what a fully-in-bloom-healthy me looks like!