They were everywhere.
Tall ones, short ones, skinny and fat, bushy, prickly ones.
They were choking out our garden.
It’s astonishing how fast they come on after a few summer showers. The time to declare war on the pesky pest was now or never lest our garden plants perish!! Our tiller’s on the blitz, so I assembled my weapon, our old faithful garden hoe and headed out into the blazing Alabama sun.
Row by row. Weeds versus me.
While uprooting one unwelcome guest after another, I began to ponder those wretched weeds and how similar they are to so many things in our life.
Tensions. Unexpected circumstances. Conversations that don’t go as planned. Stressors.
If left undone, like the weeds in the garden, they will begin to choke out our peace, joy, and love.
I’ve seen it and heard it on both large and small scales.
Bitterness taking root.
A couple of weeks ago while loving on the girls in the jail our topic that day, peace. Some nodded, others crying knowing full well the absence of it when I noticed one of the girls sitting stoic on her bunk staring at me. Finishing our discussion with a few moments to spare I asked, “Does anyone have any questions or anything they’d like to share?”
She slowly lifted her hand and whispered, “I do. I don’t know anything of any of that. How do you get that peace you speak of?”
After a brief exchange, she shared that she’d grown up under an abusive, alcoholic stepfather who was a professing Atheist. She knew nothing of peace, joy and little about love. On the other hand, she was all too familiar with abuse, anger, depression.
Life’s weeds had slowing been taking her air.
As best I knew how I shared the Gospel with her. Christ’s love and forgiveness. How it starts with a personal relationship with Jesus Christ because He is real and He is coming back. In Him, we find forgiveness and can forgive. In Him, we find peace because He is peace. In Him, we can love because He IS LOVE. In Him, we find strength, can uproot & let go of those wretched old weeds and begin to breathe for the very first time.
Her stoic demeanour had softened a bit before I hugged her and had to leave.
I saw her again last week. Smiling and much more joyful as we discussed further the goodness of Christ. No doubt seeds of truth have been planted in my new friend’s soul. I look forward to the harvest.
By day’s end, after my time in the garden, my hands looked like Scarlett Ohara’s in Gone With the Wind after she’d worked her palms raw trying to save Tara.
The blisters and tender spots revealed these truths:
Sometimes we have to do hard things.
- Sometimes we need to forgive, and other times ask to be forgiven.
- Occasionally we have to confront when we’d rather avoid.
- Many times we have to dig deep, sort through and let go.
Hard things are hard but totally worth it.
Meanwhile, back in the garden, I won the war on the weeds versus me.
Hip-hip- HOORAY! Said our tiny little okra plants that were hidden under a copy of weeds but now see the light.
In a few weeks while savoring the fresh garden goodness I’m going to remember:
Hard things are hard but totally worth it!
happy Saturday & much love,