A Plentiful Garden

I have tried for years to have a successful garden. At our old house we tried a small raised bed but it wasn’t big enough and in a really wet spot.

Then we tilled ground, built a big fence for deer and tried that. Oh the weeds!

When we moved into our new house almost 5 years ago now, there was this patch of 6 foot tall weeds. I was told that was the garden. We wanted to mow it down, only to find old fencing tangled hopelessly into the weeds. We ended up tying rope to the fencing and pulling it out with the car! I think we even went to chains because the ropes kept breaking!

I gardened there for a couple years, constantly fighting horrible weeds, prairie grass really. And rocks… so many rocks. One summer I paid the kids 5 cents a rock to pick them out of the garden. Big mistake! They about cleaned me out!

I finally asked my amazing hubby to build me a couple raised beds. So we gave up the in-ground garden and built two good sized raised beds on the space. They weren’t big enough for everything I wanted but it was a start. He dug amazing dirt out of our pasture and we grew a few nice veggies.

The next year we added 2 more beds. That was last spring. We decided to buy dirt for those instead of digging it out of the pasture. I don’t think we’ll ever do that again! The pasture dirt is a little weedy but so nice and rich. And, compared to the weeds in ground, it’s no big deal!

Still, for what I want to do it wasn’t enough beds. So this spring we added more. We went big and added four more good sized beds. Andrew has diligently scoured the scrap pile at work for composite material that can’t be returned. All my beds are made from things like Trex deck boards – stuff that won’t rot. I love it!

My garden this June.

Why am I sharing all this? Because I think gardening, of all things, has so many ties to our spiritual life. I wanted it quick and easy. I want results quickly. I would have loved to have all eight beds 3 years ago. I would love to go back years and use what I know now then and feel successful at gardening!

But, just like life, it’s a process. After years and years I finally feel sort of successful at gardening. Every year I learned something new. Every year I added something to make it better. I already have plans for next year! Thankfully my husband loves me enough to go along with my plans and build what I ask.

Just last evening, we were walking in the garden and he noticed what I noticed. “Sure is a nice garden this year. Good job, hon.”

I think these zucchini leaves are the biggest I’ve ever seen!

It’s not really just me who’s done a good job. As I weed the few weeds that crop up, I pray over my garden, asking Jesus to bless what our hands have labored at. I ask Jesus to help the plants bear fruit and give me wisdom in what I should do.

Is everything perfect? No. Most of my winter squash plants popped up and then wilted in the early extreme heat because I forgot to water them. My chamomile never came up at all. But, overall, I see success. I can look back over the last 4 summers at this place and say, yep, we’re getting it.

Someone told me when we moved to a hobby farm, it’ll take 5 years to feel settled. I always kept that in my mind when we would feel overwhelmed. And, here we are, it’ll be five years in October and we finally feel somewhat settled. There’s plenty we still want to accomplish, change, improve, and work on. And there always will be. But we finally feel less overwhelmed.

Beautiful carrots!

Do you feel overwhelmed in your spiritual life? Do you feel like the weeds and rocks are winning?

Take a step back and remember it’s a process. Just like the garden, I want quick results in my spiritual life. I want to “arrive”. I don’t want to struggle and be pushed by the wind and waves right now. But it doesn’t quite work that way. We need to build the right foundation. Just like building raised beds eliminated a lot of weeds, the right foundation in Christ and His Word can eliminate a lot of sin.

We need to keep pulling those weeds that do crop up, being diligent to remove sin and negative thoughts. Do you just sit in the yuck? I’ve seen people do this. They’ve had trauma, yuck, evil, and bad choices in their lives. And don’t get me wrong. Those are all so so difficult and hard to overcome. But, with Jesus, it is possible! Sitting in that yuck, just like letting those weeds grow, produces a certain kind of result. A result no one wants and no one really wants to be around. And the good fruit can’t grow!

If you’re willing to put in some hard work, stick to it, and not give up when you feel overwhelmed, you will see good results. It may take more time than you want it to! I wish I was at 16 raised beds now! But when I look back I can see so much good progress and see our work paid off! So, keep working at your spiritual life. Haven’t read your Bible in awhile? Pick it up! Haven’t prayed and thanked God in weeks, months, years? Just start by saying Thank you, God, for today! Thank you for blessing me with life and the ability to praise and love you!

You don’t have to figure it out alone either! I didn’t build those beds! I asked Andrew! He found the material, measured, cut, screwed it together and placed it. He dug the dirt and filled them. The kids helped me plant the seeds and plants. You don’t have to walk your spiritual life alone! There are so many solid Christians who would love to encourage you to get into your Bible and pray with you. I am reading certain books of the Bible with a friend this year and we often text each other, asking if we’ve been reading. It has helped me stay more consistent.

And, don’t forget to pray that Jesus would bless the work of your hands and give you wisdom for your spiritual life. He loves to answer prayers like that!

Happy spiritual gardening!

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