"I count myself one of the number of those who write as they learn and learn as they write." ~St. Augustine

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

More Gardening Lessons

As I was sitting in the quiet of my prayer shed outside, the chatter of their talk broke into the silence and invaded. A friend had come into our garden/yard and, at our request, was explaining to my husband what to do with the myriad of plants we were meant to care for (and have NO idea what to do with !).

Slightly annoyed by the noise of this gardening lesson, I attempted to ignore the conversation and continue with my intercession. As the instructions continued, it quickly became clear that I wasn't going to be able to focus with them so close to my "quiet spot". Naturally, then, I began to listen in, my head still bowed in prayer... but my attention on the words coming from our neighbor-friend.

I could hear her voice, gentle and light in tone: Cut it back here. Trim this one. Yes, that needs to be pulled right out. No, that plant is not a weed-- that one is on purpose. That needs to be trimmed in the Autumn. ...This one you can cut right down to the ground. Has that one flowered yet? These two need to be separated or the one will take over the other. After you see that one flower, then you can cut it back. Don't cut it too far. OH! Cut, that one right down to the base...

The thought struck me, with a smile, that maybe this might be what it was like to hear a conversation within the Trinity. I began to wonder if that was what it might sound like as the Father, the Son and the Spirit conversed about their kids. Did they talk with each other in this manner? Did they talk about how to trim, and how far to cut? Did they rejoice over the "flowers" they had seen on "this one" in the early Spring? Did they discuss the plans and gently decide on the best "good" pruning that was necessary?

Or was this what it might sound like if God were speaking to me about my spiritual life... No, that is not a weed--- that one is on purpose!! Yes, you had flowers in this area of your life and now it is time to trim that back. Oh, my Stephanie, we need to cut that out! ...and pull that one right out!

Early this morning, I spoke with a few friends on the phone. Both these ladies have been growing and "flowering" much lately. Over the years, I have seen much growth and have gloried in the work that God has done in them. And interestingly enough, both of these ladies are right now feeling the trimming, the pruning, and the weeding that is deeply painful in their every day life. They are feeling the Father's good hand as He purges and re-shapes them. ...But it doesn't "feel" so good, that is for sure! Pruning hurts...

And, as a "beginner" gardener, I know it isn't fun to cut back those pretty bushes. It isn't pleasing or fun to cut a rose bush, only weeks ago fragrant and plentiful, ...to cut it back to its bare stump... leaving it pitiful looking and ugly. But, I am learning it is the very best thing I can do if I am to truly care for my garden.

"Just hack!" our Gardner friend said, when she was explaining the process.

Can I say this freely to God? Just hack, Lord. Hack away at the flowered stems, the fruited branches and the budded limbs. Just hack, Lord and pull and weed those places that are becoming overgrown and full of nasty roots that will kill. Yank. Pull. Trim. Shape. Hack.

Can we trust our Father to know when to leave the plant alone and when to trim "just enough to shape"... and when to just hack away?!

As I listened to the chatter of gardening instructions outside my prayer shed, I began again to pray for my friends I began to ask the Lord to water, to trim and to hack when necessary. I began to entrust these dear ones into His good, wise and loving hands. I remembered that it was He that planted them, has watered them, and He that continues to do all things necessary for their growth.

As I sat in my prayer shed, the beautiful chatter that broke into my solitude was exactly what the Father wanted to invade. Thank you, Father, for another gardening lesson today.
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