I grew up in the country, running around barefoot and watching my mother tend to all of her plants that she loved. As I got older, I too, began to find a sense of peace and joyfulness getting my hands dirty and watching things grow. About four years ago, my husband and I built some raised beds in our backyard so we could have a garden. Every morning, I’d drop the kids off at school, head to the backyard (usually still in my jammies), drink my coffee and tend to the garden. My girlfriends would call for morning chats and I’d just begin to send them to voicemail and shoot them a text boasting, “Gosh, I’m so so sorry but I’m working in the garden right now…#blessed”. Just kidding, I wouldn’t add that hashtag, but you see where I’m going.
Now, if you have a garden, you know it’s a lot of trial and error, but after a couple of years I really thought I had this gardening thing down. Then the summer season came around. Excitedly, I went to the neighborhood garden center and bought every type of heirloom tomato, zucchini, bean and herb I could find. I bought more veggies that season than I had ever bought before. I was swelling with pride and my credit card was boosted with a whole lot of flight points. This season was going to be a game changer, I could feel it! This would be the season of all seasons where my husband would begin to believe that we can do BIG THINGS! I mean, anything is possible with God, right? We could finally homestead... live off the land... buy a tiny house... I could finally get my chicken coop! (Newsflash, we live in the suburbs on a golf course). Pride was sending me into a downward spiral of distractibility, among other things.
With an inflated ego and hopeful anticipation, our three boys and I planted every plant we had that afternoon. Honestly, we had so many plants that we had to use pots for the ones that couldn’t fit into the raised garden beds. Each morning, with coffee in hand, I’d check on everything as usual, but at this point my gardening ego was hitting an all time high. A couple of months into the season, I noticed that all of the veggies in the raised beds were beginning to look sickly and droopy. I was completely perplexed and incredibly annoyed. How hard can it be, I thought? I know I’m a pretty basic gal, but I was confident that I had provided not just loving attention but also water, sunlight and air for them. They were betraying me! With each morning, they looked worse and I got more and more wrinkles from furrowing my brows at them. Finally, at one point, and I like to call this “I know you’re dead, but I’ll do anything to bring back an ounce of my pride back” stage, I tried talking sense into them with tough love. Here I was, a grown woman, watering my very visibly dead plants in my pajamas while fiercely mocking them and attempting to caffeinate myself.
Something was very wrong and not just with the veggies! Every single plant I had in the extra pots we used were looking fabulous, yet all the others, completely dead. I finally did a hard swallow and asked my very factual friend, Mr. Google, what could have made this happen, but got a million different answers. It could have been all kinds of issues! I was totally defeated, so I decided the next morning to rip out all the plants and try to start fresh, like it never happened.
As I began to move the soil around, I found the largest grub worm I had ever seen embedding itself back into the turned soil. I screamed like a two year old in Target who had eaten a snow cone for breakfast and hadn’t napped. After contemplating if I should return to the vile and invaded garden bed, I slowly put on my big girl panties and with my shovel, I moved the dirt around some more. The entire garden bed was infested with enormous grub worms. Not only were they the most disgusting things I had ever seen, Google then told me that they had slowly eaten all the roots of our vegetables leaving us with a dead garden. Funny enough, Google also told me that they were treatable and even preventable. I had literally killed my own garden. I didn’t kill it because I wanted too obviously, I just didn’t focus on the the most important part of the garden, it’s foundation, it’s soil. The seasons before I had been so overly excited to see growth that I missed investing in the next season’s foundation. My pride had left the soil unturned and pride steals all of your bounty.
So here’s a question for you, how’s your soil doing? In this season of your life, how fruitful are you? Who are you allowing to tend to your heart and relationships? Scripture tells us in Galatians 5:22-23 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control.” As women we have a tendency to forget to tend to ourselves and to each other, leaving our soil parched. When we’re parched, we can’t give what God has gifted us to our families or to each other as sisters and we each other! An essential part of tending to our foundation is allowing Christ to pour into us through His word and through the relationships he’s gifted to us. As women, we have a unique chance to extend a beautiful vision of sisterhood in Christ to a culture that has been so broken and wounded by betrayal and confusion about who we are as women. Oftentimes, through social media, magazines, TV, you name it, we can become blinded by the lie that we don’t need each other, we don’t need Jesus in every inch of our hearts and we don’t need to tend to the very integral foundations of our hearts and relationships that allow us to be fruitful.
So, in whatever season you’re currently in, remember that you’re being refined for something only capable through the vision and eyes of our Master Gardener. Allow Him to tend to you so the foundation you create for your next season is full of powerful gifts you can share with grace and confidence. Guard your heart prudently, but ask Jesus to allow you to become a humble recipients of other’s gifts so your heart can be mended through a courageous and giving a sisterhood. Wherever you are in your walk with the Lord, find your sisters and invite them to your garden. It’s always more fun, there are more chances for belly laughs, more chances for growth and coffee and waiting for you.