The Soil of Our Lives
I was equipped for an excavation... cold drink, hair in a ponytail, gloves, tools, hat, and bucket. It had been a minute since I was in the garden.
My sweet husband offered all the easy ways out. He offered to have his friend spray our yard. He would trim the vines as he urged me to sit and relax and not work too hard.
As sweet of an offer as that was and oh-so-kind of him wanting me to rest, I knew—oh did I know—that everything that was before me was going to be beautiful, rich, and deep, and there was no way I would trade it for rest.
I had been waiting for this day. I'd be set apart from the busyness and craziness just to sit in my messy garden and be on my face with the Master Gardener.
I knew what I had done, what I allowed, and I was ready to look it straight in the face and tackle it. Deep down in the secret places of my heart I recalled each decision I had made to neglect my garden. I traded time in the garden for something else.
Dollar weed loves to creep in one particular corner of my yard. I am combative about dollar weed. If I’m pulling out of my driveway, dressed up, late to a meeting, and I spy one of those little green circles popping up, I stop and pull it. My husband insists that spraying would solve all of my problems, but I know better.
Dollar weed (very much like pain in my life) can be topically treated with chemicals.
Like my fear, like my pain - I can topically treat it with chocolate, shopping, once-upon-a-time a bottle of vodka and other shiny things of the world, but like the chemical that hits the top of the weed, nothing penetrates to the root like the hard work of digging, pulling, yanking some more and even at times violently, surgically removing the entire long root system of the weed.
Pulling up dollar weed is not easy friends. Every single time, the place where I begin digging is not even where I end up. Let me say that again: Where I begin digging is never where I end up.
I thrust the shovel deep into the dirt and navigate under the surface as I pull and yank and ultimately find myself across the yard in a whole new area at the root of the problem, or in this case, dollar weed.
Ugly weeds look like anger, unforgiveness, laziness, selfishness, lustfulness, and other things straight from the pit of hell.
These weeds are always rooted someplace deep and hard to get at. Doing the hard work of digging it all out is a lifesaving, life-changing gardening tip that is worth tucking someplace safe in your heart, friend.
All throughout God’s word we see beautiful language of this in practical and tactical verses like Hebrews 12:15, Ephesians 3:16-19 and Romans 11:16. For the sake of our time together I’m leaving these here for you to look up and sit in—maybe even in your own garden—and ponder.
While we know God’s word as tactical and practical for life, more than anything God’s word is beautiful. The Gospel is above all things beautiful.
The beauty of an almighty and sovereign God who loves us enough not to let us stay rooted to things that will harm us is nothing short of beauty. It’s his grace in our lives to reveal root-y sin. It’s his grace to yank and pull in places in us and till out the hard stuff. It’s actually his wrath to leave us to our own devices rooted to yucky things in gross places.
The hours spent in my garden are full of decisions. Weeds need the most intentionality to dig out the roots. My vines just need redirecting on most days, and some things just need to be dug up and moved like my buttercups.
Buttercups self-spread and in a blink they are all over my yard running wild and rebellious. I dig them up and put them back time and time again. My vines and climbing things often are so powerful and strong all they need are redirecting and instruction on where and what to climb.
Oh, but those weeds! Every time they have to come up from the root and that is the most time-consuming of all.
Decisions in my garden can be the difference of life or death. Every decision we make is a step towards maturity or insecurity. Our hearts, friends, are garden-rich with soil, bursting with beautiful blooms, vining and climbing beauties with many landmines of ugly weeds.
Time spent with the Master gardener in honest, brutal examination is hard—maybe painful—and may take some time to dig out, but so very worth it. Snipping at my roses, trimming my vines, and deadheading my blooms- it all looks very brutal to the casual observer.
I’ve learned that every snip, every trim, every whack of my blade sends a signal to the plant to grow—grow and bloom and be beautiful! Be what I created you to be.
Snip, grow, prune, grow, cut it back, grow, trim, grow.
One of the healthiest things we can do as women, as followers of Jesus, is to get out the tools—and I mean the really sharp, scary tools—and start digging and trimming.
What lies ahead?
All the fruit Paul talks about in Galatians 5:22-23
All the beautiful blooms of: healthy relationships, healthy time management, good sleep, gut-busting belly laughs and soul purpose rooted in the person of Jesus Christ.
And joy! Ridiculous, unexplainable joy. Joy from the Lord that has absolutely nothing to do with our circumstances but everything to do with who we are and whose we are.
Don’t Avoid the pain Paul tells us in Romans that power in God’s economy comes from suffering. Power in our economy comes from avoiding it at all costs.
Whatever you do, don’t avoid the pain, do the hard work and dig deep, sister. It smells lovely on the other side and the view is beautiful.
The entire two days I spent on this particular weekend reminded me of so much truth — truth I knew theoretically, but had laid down for other things.
Hard truths like the reality that I let my garden go, that I let go of the best things for merely good things and the price was high and the work was brutal.
Shifting my rhythms.
Making new commitments to spend a little time in my garden each night.
Saying no to things and people.
I cling hard and honest some days, chasing down time in my garden to keep the evil one from taking too deep of a root. It keeps the vines from becoming unmanageable, the roses blooming, and the whole garden popping with life.
All of this is ours by daily pulling out the tools, daily getting on our hands and feet, getting dirty and just sitting in the garden with Him.
Danielle is a wife, mom, writer, and career mentor who is passionate about advocating for women, especially in the corporate space. She often speaks and writes on topics of faith, motherhood, and leadership development, unpacking topics such as diversified leadership, the importance of female mentorship, and developing female leaders especially in male-dominant spaces. She hopes to help women grow into the leaders and influencers they were designed to be, both at home and in the workplace.
Beyond that, Danielle is the founder of The Brave Collective. When I first read her mission and sensed her passion for God's daughters, I was blown away at how similar our goals were. After much discussion and a growing desire to partner in some way, Danielle is merging her creative passions, focus, and talents with She Heard, LLC to be a member of our team! We are beyond excited to welcome her aboard and to watch as God works through her to bless us and our community of women, and to bring glory to Him.
Specifically, Danielle will be overseeing the blog and our social media channels as well as marketing, branding, and creative strategy. I can't wait for you to get to know her better! Will you join me in welcoming her?
I'm so excited for what God has planned for us in the future and I'm so happy to be in this community with women who love the Lord and live to serve Him!
Get to know the She Heard Team HERE.
This space is reserved for Founder Mandy's perspectives and viewpoints of Scripture. Man is fallible, but God is not. It's strongly encouraged that you study the Scripture for yourself and allow the Holy Spirit to guide you in your understanding.
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