There is something about gardening that is kind of like therapy for me. It's a moment in time where it's just me, the plants, a whole lot of dirt and time to think. When I garden, I don't bother with shoes and gloves because I like the feel of my feet in the dirt and it's easier to pull the weeds with my bare hands.
Because I don't wear gloves, I have a spot on the palm of my right hand that is constantly blistering from the handle of the trowel I use to dig up the weeds. Eventually it heals, but the tender red scar it has left is a constant reminder of how hard I work to rid my garden of the the 'things' that don't belong.
I hate the weeds. I can spend a hours digging out all of the weeds and a week later, there is a new crop that has sprung up again. No wonder the blister never goes away. What I can't figure out is why the weeds grow so much faster than my vegetables. Growing a garden is a challenge in this neck of the woods anyway, but if the good grew as fast as the bad I probably wouldn't mind the weeds so much.
Not only do I battle the weeds, but the elements as well. I plant my garden in May and pray against the frost. As little sprouts begin to emerge, I become excited and hopeful at the prospect of all the wonderful vegetables that will soon fill my plate. But as was this year, an incredible hail storm beat my little plants down. And then the frost hit.
So I replanted and watched the sprouts emerge again.
Then yesterday as I was pulling weeds, I noticed that the beans, which I had seen poking through the ground the day before, now had the tops eaten off and one bean was lying on the ground. Standing there over the row of beans, and deciding whether my best revenge was a pellet gun or .22 rifle, I realized that the garden is just like my life.
From the outside it may look like a lot of dirt, but there is some good stuff that grows out of it. I battle the weeds, knowing they are always under the surface, tend to the blisters and live with the scars. The hailstorms of life come and beat me down, the frost tries to kill the new growth, but then the weather changes, the son envelopes me in security and warmth and I flourish once again. It's a never ending cycle, but I believe it's all part of learning to trust the master gardener with my life.
I have a lot of weeds, and the hailstorms, well, there are plenty of those. Most of you know I am half of a blended family. If there is one situation where the weeding never ends and the hailstorms deluge, it is in a step family. And right now, who isn't battling the financial storm? The uncertainty that comes with wondering whether I'll be just another statistic in the mortgage failout is at times as overwhelming as staring into an acre of weeds.
It would be easier to give up on the garden, quite worrying about critters and frost and let the weeds do what they will. But I'm too stubborn for that and I enjoy the fruits of my labor. It's kind of like faith. It's easier to give up ones faith in God when things aren't going exactly as planned than it is to continue on in faith even when the hailstorms come.
I know God will take care of me because He loves me that much. I've got His Word to fertilize my soul and I know that I can conquer the weeds and come back after the storms because He has promised to take care of me no matter what.
If you are facing some storms right now, I can confidently say that there is a pretty awesome group of people who hang around this blog and would offer up some prayer for you should you request it. Or you can go here and leave your request as a comment, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Sometimes, it's easier to face the storms with an army, than it is to by yourself.