How does your garden grow?

It was a busy weekend and I apologize to anyone who came by the blog on Monday looking for the new items I was going to add to my store since I said on Thursday that I was going to feature them.

I'll have to wait one more day so hopefully they'll be up tomorrow.

Meanwhile, did you have a nice Memorial Day? We did. The weekend was busy with my parents visiting from out of state and then on Monday, after they had gone home and had taken two of the boys with them for the annual Camp GrammiePapa extravaganza, we had a chance to collapse for a little while. We've been burning the candle at both ends for the last few weeks and it was time for a rest.

Rest for us, many times, means piddling around the house - doing laundry, working on crafts or orders, pulling weeds and eating leftovers. It was a beautiful day; I even got a chance to  make a pitcher of mint tea.

I've posted about our garden in previous writing. This year, everything is growing really well and our mint is going out of its mind so I'm looking for things to do with it. Any suggestions?

At our house, we also have a wildflower bed. Mike was out yesterday pulling weeds in it and since there are so many varieties of flowers, he was having trouble determining which was a weed and which wasn't. He was sharing this frustration with me as I was hanging dishtowels on the clothesline. "Well," I responded, "if it pulls out easily it's a weed."

This was probably not helpful, but it's true. I learned the difference from mistakenly pulling a real squash plant versus pulling a weed that had disguised itself as such. It was a bummer. I tried to replant the squash but to no avail. It died.

As Mike and I were talking, a thought crossed my mind that I've thought in the past when gardening. Weeds in a garden are like any sins that take root in our life. They often look beautiful. They are lush, full and green and often look like the good things that God has planted in our lives; however, they are fakes and will squeeze the life out of the plant it disguises itself as if it is not uprooted. Weeds often uproot easily because their roots are shallow so there is not much depth to them as a plant. Yes, they are destructive, but with a little effort, God can rid us of them. All it takes is a little patience, a watchful eye and a discerning spirit. We ask God, the master gardener, to remove the weeds from our lives because he can distinguish what is growing in our hearts.

From a gardener's perspective, it is easy to see the destruction a weed can cause, but from our own perspective it can often be difficult to discern sinful attitudes taking root in the soul. For instance, I used to grow peas in my vegetable garden. At first we would cultivate the rows, slightly burying the plants so that the weeds would get snuffed out. We cultivated because it was really difficult in the first stages to tell the difference between the real plants and the weeds and, like with my squash plant, I really didn't want to pull my healthy pea shoots out. Then, once the pea plants were more established, we quit cultivating and had to actually pull the weeds. When I first started doing this, I was amazed at how the weeds could disguise themselves, but with practice I learned to tell the difference. When I was right, I was rewarded with an easy pull.

It's like that in our hearts. For example, perhaps God has planted a wonderful talent in us. He carefully cultivates that talent and watches it grow into a healthy plant. Then one day he looks into our hearts and he sees a similar plant growing next to his healthy plants. It may be the sin of pride or selfishness growing right next to what he has established. Since he's in the garden, we have obviously given him permission to be there so he begins to weed out the plants that will choke out the good growth in our lives. In the end, God will hopefully have something good with which to nourish himself and to share with others.

Eventually, as we listen to the Holy Spirit, we'll also be able to tell when the right plants are not growing in our hearts. At this point, we can ask God to pull them. Our quickness will keep our hearts healthy, green and lush.

In the end, we hope to have beautiful wildflowers and back in the day we had tasty peas. In our hearts, we hope that the fruits of the spirit flourish: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

How does your garden grow?