Wednesday, June 2, 2010

It's Not Bad Just Different

What do to, what to do?  The past 18 years I have given myself to learning about, practicing and teaching gardening and now it seems that God is taking me in a completely different direction. I'm sure to others it may even seem that I am throwing away something I should hold on to.  My answer to them is that they don't live in my life, hear what God has spoken to me, nor traveled all the paths God has taken me down to get me to let go of my life completely and surrender my future to Him without reserve.  This is not at all a sudden change either but has been quite gradual, taking years of Him working on my heart and mind, teaching me to trust Him with my now and future and to be able to lay down the past so I can head into that future with Him.  And that is exactly what I intend to do.

I think the condition of my garden today says a lot of what my own human efforts to "make" my life have rendered.  There has been some beauty and benefit, but it has not been sustainable and as I look out over the garden, though it still bears some resemblance to the once beautifully kept garden of a decade ago, it demonstrates how helpless I am to really control things after all.  The flowers still bloom, the birds and bees still flutter around happily and the cats still lounge in areas that used to be chamomile paths though the chamomile has long since died out and been replaced by other ground covers and weeds.

So the garden is in full decline now and the chaos of nature has taken over where a gardener's guiding hand once fostered order.  I no longer have the strength to dig, weed and mulch and am finding the desire to do so eclipsed by something bigger that I cannot even explain except to say that it is something I can feel deep within my soul that won't let me go.  I want to make a difference in people's lives for Jesus and to fully surrender to whatever that looks like by God's definition and not mine this time.

The fence surrounding my garden is rotting away and was pulled apart by some errant youth who thought it fun to yank at the pickets leaving a wound next to the welcoming gate and a sad spot in my heart as I remember how cheerful it looked in its beginning.  How many plans in my life have also rotted away or been pulled apart by life's circumstances.

The weeds have taken to covering the unprotected soil that I used to mulch religiously so to smother errant weed seeds, disallowing them opportunity to ruin what I had worked so hard to create. My precious plants are now fighting among themselves for the right to survive in this ground.  I have no control anymore.  I look with some regret as the lesser desirables swallow a favorite plant eventually killing it out...and such is life.  Human efforts never last.  This is a hard lesson to learn when one no longer can tend to a garden loved or maintain some favorite work or effort that brought joy and satisfaction or maybe identity to their life.  I know this is not just my story but the story of many of us.

Chaos is not a beautiful thing but savage in my garden.  My eyes long for restful views with clean paths and mulched beds and plants that are kept within their bounds.  But that is life...and life must go I look to my Savior to find rest for my soul and I pray my garden will one day be renovated or even erased so I won't hear its pleading cries as I peer into the chaos that reigns there today.  Renovated even as God has renovated my heart and life, pulling out the things that I had put in place of Him and what He wants for me so that I am a blank slate ready for my Master's hand. 

If you think me crazy or foolish because I don't walk the common path of human understanding and hold fast to what I have invested all that time in to gain the knowledge I have about plants then I guess I'm right where I need to be, looking the fool for Christ.  You see it isn't about what I know at all, it's about what He knows!  And only God knows what comes next.

Whatever "next" is for me is clearly going to be different than what was.  That does not mean it will be bad, just different.  When I begin to explain to people that I am laying down this "thing" I have been doing that everyone thinks is so grand, they all blanch and moan like its bad, giving me that "look" and trying to explain to me that they think its going to come back around or that I'm somehow mistaken.  But I don't care if I ever pick it back up again.  I'm done trying to do my own thing.  I usurped the gifts God had given me of exhortation and teaching into this thing called gardening because it was there, not because I prayed about it and was following God's will.  I did it to draw attention to myself, to be known as an expert and looked up to, to be found worthy and accepted and I'm quite honestly wanting to throw up right now at the distaste of this knowledge.  How thankful I am that God loves me enough to get in my face and show me the truth of my attitudes when they stink so I can turn away from them and be restored to what He has for me.  The beautiful woman of God, gifted and pleasing in His sight.

If you know me you may not have seen all of these things in me but they were definitely there and it was ugly. Me all puffed up in my knowledge and anxiously struggling.  Thankfully God would not let me continue on and finally broke me like that imperfect pot in the potter's hands that has to be broken and then softened so it can be reshaped.  I've suffered the breaking, the pouring of the water and the reshaping and the firing...but do not yet see for what purpose I am to be used.  It may and will probably be better than anything I have ever imagined which is what I expect as God is in the business of doing things bigger and better than anything we could ever ask or even imagine.

So go ahead God, knock my socks off!  Blow me away!  Take my breath away in amazement and make me dance with the gleeful delight of a child at the site of what You do! I'm all Yours...and I can't wait to see what You have for me next.

Copyright © 2010 by Patty Hicks

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