Giving Up On the Garden ?

We came home to a scary overgrown jungle in the garden after being gone for a week.  I stood at the garden fence looking in at the wild jungle that had tripled in size in just a week.   I grow great super weeds and rocks.

I stood gazing at the garden in a cloud of despair.  I told my husband to just plow it under because I wasn’t about to enter that bug infested weed jungle we called a garden.

He said not to worry about it.  He tells me not to worry all the time.  He’s a  “It’ll work out”  kinda guy.  I’m a  “It’ll work out bad”  kinda girl.  He said he wasn’t plowing it under.  That was that.

He did the man thing and got the lawn mower.  It’s really bad when you have to mow your garden.  We’ve been living in the sticks for years and mowing your garden just seemed so….city….to me.  I mean…if you’re not going to plow up the whole thing….at least try getting the mule and plow between the rows.  That seems way more agrarian to me.

He asked me to point out where the plants were so he didn’t mow over them.  I put on my hazmat suit and sprayed  lots of deet-bug spray and ventured into my chemical-free garden to look for the lost garden plants swallowed up by the kudzu-possessed weeds.

He got the mower going and knocked down the weeds in about 15 minutes.  An amazing thing happened.   The garden of despair left me.  I could see the light.  Maybe all wasn’t lost?

We got in there with the hoe and rake and spread out some straw.  A few hours later, that depressing weed lot began to take shape.    The beauty of the garden was under the weeds all along, it just takes some pulling and purging to uproot the ugliness and expose the beauty.  And it sometimes takes someone with a positive attitude to press on even when the by-standers and complainers have given up!

Every gardening season, something deep and profound (to me, anyway) always hits me along with the sweat, heat and bug bites.  This week, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about that picture of the overgrown weedy garden and about the work it takes to purge the rottenness and expose the good.  I’ve been thinking about how easy it is for bad things to spring up and how if you don’t pluck it up when it is young, the more rooted and difficult it becomes to pull up.  I’ve been thinking about how easy it is to write someone or something off because they are in a state of seeming disrepair, when a little love, encouragement and help may be just the thing that makes them shine.  I’ve also thought a lot about weed killer and how my garden spot would be a great place to put a swimming pool!

As we were pulling weeds in the garden today, I reminded my little ones that we are like the treasured plants in our garden….we are made to be productive, beautiful, functional, deliberate.  When we allow weeds or sin to crowd in around us and take root, we become unproductive, marred, dysfunctional and distracted from our purpose.

We pulled those weeds, staked up the fallen plants, surrounded the base of the plants with straw to inhibit weed growth and watered it.  More importantly, we all were reminded, in a real, vivid, tangible way, to keep watch for the weeds that come into our own lives that seek to choke out what we were made for….. which is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.

5 comments for “Giving Up On the Garden ?

  1. June 21, 2011 at 5:11 pm

    This post was such a blessing!  I, too, am a “it’ll work out bad” kind of gal married to a “it’ll all work out” kind of man!  We need those optimistic “can do” kind of people in our lives to balance us out and give us hope!

    What a beautiful, fitting analogy of our Christian walk.  I love how God makes things in our everyday life be learning times–tangible pictures of sometimes abstract intangible things.

    Thank you for making the connection!  I’m going to tuck this post in the back of my mind for future reference when I want to give up on something!  🙂

    Jill J

  2. Claire
    June 21, 2011 at 9:23 am

    What a beautiful analogy, Beth! I loved this! I think I’ll borrow your idea for discussion while the kids and I put straw in our own garden today. Thanks so much for sharing this!

  3. June 21, 2011 at 7:10 am

    Our life really is a constant process of weeding out the bad stuff in hopes that we may glorify God more.
    Thank you for such a wonderful writing.
    Warm wishes, Tonya

  4. June 21, 2011 at 12:48 am

    Bethany, I just wanted to say how much this has blessed me today. I was actually sitting on the couch, laptop on lap, in the process of just giving up for this year. In despair about a decision I made, feeling it may have been wrong – although at the time I was sure it was of God.
    Your application was just right for me! It’s the weeds, choking up all my own beautiful productivity! Thank you so much, and God bless you, and your garden!

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