Monday, January 25, 2010

What's Eating You?

I am one of those people who delight in most all living things.  Researching what they are about, their purposes, life cycles and all that...especially the ones that live in my garden.  Oh and lest I to control them if they are a pest.  This helps me to understand how everything in the garden works together and helps me to see where each has its place as it were. There is one creature however that I find truly disgusting, the cutworm.  The only good thing I can say say about these guys is that they make delightful bird food for the robins in my garden.  My distaste for them is so strong however that I find it delightful to dance happily upon their little smashed bodies...sorry that was bit graphic but you will understand why here in a moment

Cutworms are these greasy looking Jaba d Hut-like larvae that sneak out from their hiding places in the soil at night to feast on all those lovely things you've been working so hard to grow.  There have been times they have left my foxgloves in shreds, made the leaves of my rhubarb look like skeletons and reduced what should have been a bounty of salad greens to a chewed mass of shredded leaves, many with only the midribs intact.  Who wants a second hand salad anyway?  Not me!

Last fall we brought in compost for our vegetable boxes out back.  This was to replace some really bad 3-way mix we purchased a few years ago that we found impossible to grow much of anything in.  The new compost brought with it great anticipation of the future harvest. One might say I was giddy with anticipation and immediately got to sowing our winter crops.  The seeds of leafy vegetables, starts of hardy kales and overwintering broccoli and garlics and overwintering onion sets.  I sat back and dreamed of the delicious harvest that would spring forth.

The seeds sprouted nicely in the rich warm soil and crops grew very quickly.  I carefully monitored the soil moisture for the seeds and seedlings and relished in the thought of all the yummy things we would soon be eating.  Then just about the time I was to begin harvesting I noticed them...the chewed leaves.  It was the first sign "they" had arrived...a little nibble off the edge of one of my swiss chard plants. Before I knew it "they" had mowed down an entire row of lettuces and the bok choy was so chewed up there was not stir fry to be made of it.  Who put up the sign that said "Buffet Now Open"  anyway???  Cutworms...grrrrrr!!!

In spite what I knew I found myself brushing off the signs of worm poo or the few notches in the leaves, picking off a worm or two but in the back of my mind I knew I was only asking for trouble. It would be my own darn fault that things would get as bad as they did in the end.

I had dealt with cutworm in my mixed flower border three years before. The year prior to that I had misidentified the pest as slugs...silly me, no slug slime its not slugs.  That attack had sent me to do some serious studying on them so I knew how to control them and even though it really wasn't that difficult, I still kept putting it off for one reason or another, figuring I'd get to it sooner or later. Then last week when the weather called me out to the garden and I pulled up on of the spent plants that was a sad reminder of their voracious appetites I uncovered three cutworms just beneath the surface of the soil.  NOOOOO!!!!!  I felt this shudder go through my body, the hairs on the back of my neck raised up and my stomach lurch with disgust.  There really is nothing I hate more than cutworms in the garden.

Any other plans I had for my day quickly dissipated as I shot into action with all the vigor I could muster, determined to grub out every single one of these disgusting creatures before they had to opportunity to lay their hideous lips on any more of my food!.  It took nearly three hours of very carefully sifted through the top six inches of soil to get out what I hope were every last one of them from just one of our 4'x12' boxes.  *shudder*  I'll let you know how successful I really was after I get our spring crops growing.

There were a couple of things I began thinking about as I was digging away, picking out cutworms and dropping them safely into my bucket for later disposal.  First was...Why?  Why would such a thing be created?  Well I figure I'm not going to get that answer till I reach heaven, so I'm not even going to go there.  Next was something fairly profound only it was not about the cutworms themselves at all.  It was about me.

There have been times in my life when I have let things that are not healthy for me remain in my life passing it off as not that urgent.  Every time, just like I thought I could do with these cutworms I just let it go until later. These things like the cutworm invading my garden, always seemed to take on a life of their own and invade the whole of my life, whether I wanted to admit it or not.  These things would always compete for my thoughts, emotions and time.  Everything we do takes up space in our life and the bad stuff seems to be the greedy grubber wanting the biggest juiciest part of our life, just like these cutworm creatures.  These things start out seemingly harmless or at least small enough that we can laugh them off.  The cutworms showed up as little tiny green worms...not such a big threat.  They ended up eating up almost the whole of our winter crops because I did not attend to getting rid of them.  How different things would have been if I would have attended to putting them to death before they destroyed it.

This makes me wonder how often have I been jealous of someone, just a little wormy bit, or angry with someone for selfish reasons...just a little wormy bit...or how about this one...I've wanted to be on Facebook or doing something else when my husband or someone else deserves and needs my full attention and I get mad, feel justified and keep on doing what I was doing instead of looking at the worm that is beneath the surface of my heart's soil that lays in wait to ruin the good crop of things God is working to bring forth in and through me.  (ouch)

In not dealing with these things I afford them the opportunity to grow in my life, to overtake my lay waste to it.  The flesh is never satisfied, the Bible speaks clearly of this.  However, God in His mercy promises He will restore what the cancer worm has eaten.  When we confess our sins, He will forgive us and heal us.  He's even made payment for the cost of those sins through Jesus death on the cross.

This is not that things will be as they were before the worms of sin and fleshly desires began to run amok, but this restoration will come with new insight and wisdom and new humility born through better understanding.  We can understand the enemy of our soul better, be on alert more quickly as I should have been but was not.  

So here's my questions.
What's eating you???

If you already trust Jesus then do what you must in obedience to God's word regarding your sin.  If you do not yet trust in Jesus I want to share this with you.

Jesus died that we might have life and have life abundantly.  Life not as the world gives but eternal life in Him.  Today if you hear His voice, if He is knocking on the door of your heart and speaking to you about the worms of sin in your life that no matter how hard you try you cannot seem to overcome and you are full of guilt over, know this; that Jesus died for your sin.  His blood cleanses from the guilt of those sins for all who will trust in its power.  For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.  Jesus died to pay the price that we might live to glorify God.  That we might have joy unspeakable.  I did not understand this myself for many years until God spoke quite plainly to me and asked me "Was my Son's blood not enough?"  His blood is enough...He paid the price for sin once for all.  I'm living that life now and it is the most amazing life ever.

May God bless you all and have a wonderful day.  I'm going to work in my garden before it starts raining again.

Copyright © 2010 by Patty Hicks

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