In this guest post, Samantha Harness shares many helpful insights that she has gathered as she’s worked in her garden this season. You’ll be encouraged as you get a delightful glimpse inside her thoughts from the garden.
As I worked in my garden this morning, my thoughts turned to the many parallels between gardening and our hearts. I have no doubt that these are not original thoughts. Many others have had much more profound ideas. Even our Lord used many garden or farming parables, but these thoughts encouraged my heart and I’d love to share them with you.
My garden is lovely this year. This is my first year really putting effort into doing a garden, and the Lord has blessed with good moisture and sunshine. I, too, have been so blessed with a Christian upbringing, a wonderful family, a sweet and godly husband, healthy children, and so many things that have contributed to my growth as a Christian.
People who see my garden have complimented it, and it is doing well. But as I look closer, I can see the weeds. Sometimes I point them out to people, but usually, I don’t. I hope people don’t notice, or if they do, that they say, “Oh, there’s just a few. But look at how nice the rest of it is!” The encouragement is nice, but I know I have weeds in both my garden and the garden of my heart.
I try to work daily in my garden. I try to get the weeds out, especially the big ones. But some days, I’m too busy. I also try to have a daily time with the Lord and ask Him to show me my sinful weeds. The worst ones are the prickles. It hurts getting those out. But they are so obvious and ugly that I do those first. Some weeds in my heart have hurt to get out, but if I try to leave them, God pricks my heart, and I know I won’t have His peace until they’re gone.
The smaller ones are a bit easier to pull out, but there are so many of them. Don’t we have so many little sins in our lives? They may seem small, but it’s surprising how fast they grow if not taken care of quickly.
Then, there’s a certain kind of weed you must make sure you take right out of the garden, or they’ll take root again, wherever you left them. It doesn’t work just to chop them off: you need to take the extra steps to take them out of the garden. Sometimes you must remove certain temptations to sin right out of your life.
Most of the time, I chop the weeds off and leave the root behind. Problem taken care of for now. It looks better. But the root will send up a shoot, and I will have to deal with that weed again. The root of pride is one where it seems I must be just chopping it off above the root, as that one comes up again and again in my life. I have thought about the verse in Proverbs 13:10: “Only by pride cometh contention.” When I feel contentious (probably more often than you might think I do), I’ve recently been trying to find where the root of pride is in my heart. Usually, it’s more obvious than I was expecting.
I know I’ll be dealing with weeds for the rest of my life. But, as I work my garden and apply the necessary weed killer, I trust that it will be less and less as the years go on.
You’ll also want to read: 3 Valuable Lessons Gardens Teach about Strengthening Relationships
There are so many tools that are available for use in gardening. Different hoes, spades, planting devices, weeding devices. Some work better than others. Some work well for certain people and not for others. Our rototillers and garden tractors have certainly changed gardening from the pioneer days.
We have so much more help for our spiritual lives today too. We have sermons available to us at the click of a button, books, social media, and texting or calling on godly friends when we need them. Some people use all the tools available. They have a garden shed full of handy dandy this or that. Others, like myself, prefer using one or two tools for multiple jobs. Sometimes you find the perfect tool that works just right for you. Mine is the stirrup hoe. Have you seen those? They are so great! And sometimes, I find that book or devotional that meets my needs and helps me tremendously. Of course, sometimes, you need to get down on your knees to get those weeds hiding under the plants. And sometimes, it just needs to be you, your Bible, and your bended knees.
You’ll Also Want to Read: Flourish: How to Thrive and Grow in Your Relationship with God
My potatoes are enormous right now. I didn’t know that they could actually get that big! It looks good, but I wonder if there will be any produce underneath. Has all the effort from the plant been going into the top part? We can do that in our own lives for sure. I’m pretty guilty of dressing up for church and doing all the things that look good, only to not pay close attention to the message and only get a small amount of blessing from it.
My garden is also quite crowded. Those big potatoes have fallen onto the rows of carrots, and my squash section will be one big heap of vines. We, as women, can also crowd our lives and take on too much. What are we trying to prove, anyway? I’m making a mental note to space things out better next year – in my garden and my life!
I try not to judge others’ gardens that seem smaller or in worse shape than mine. After all, some haven’t had the rain mine has, and some don’t have the time or help I have. Some haven’t had my mother’s example of a good gardener. Unfortunately, I do sometimes catch myself judging other people’s heart gardens and thinking things like, “Hers is all for show.” “Hers needs weeding or watering.” “She really needs some help in that area of her garden.” “Why would she plant that in her garden?!” “She should do something different with that area.” “Maybe she needs my help with that area.” Well, maybe I can help once my own garden of attitude is weeded and well taken care of. In the meantime, perhaps I should pray that God will send the rain, the sunshine, and the green thumb needed to get her garden in shape while I keep working on mine.
I’m starting to reap some fruit from both my gardens. It’s exciting to see how hard work pays off! The fresh produce is so delicious, and there’s just something extra special when it’s your own. I’m starting to see the fruit in my heart garden too. I’m more patient and gracious with my family and situations. I love seeing my kids mature. I enjoy my Christian life as God is growing and maturing me.
Sometimes I can enjoy the fruit from the garden right away, even with a bit of dirt on it (somehow, it tastes ok on fresh carrots). But with the harvest comes more work: preparing the produce to be eaten or preserved, doing the work quickly before it spoils. This, though, is my favorite part! I can be creative with making stir fry bags and trying new canning recipes. I love seeing the fruit in cans on the shelves and vegetables in the freezer! Giving jams and canned goods as gifts is so fun, too.
There’s sometimes work in using our spiritual fruit too. Opening your home to people, sharing God’s truth with them, and serving your husband, children, and others. But it’s joyful work. Yes, sometimes it can be hectic (so can canning!). But to see the fruit of friendship, patience, humility, and many other spiritual fruits stored up on the shelf of life is worth all the work. I can then share those special gifts with others, too.
The work of gardening and preserving the abundance lessens after fall time. Have you prepared enough to get you through winter? If not, I’ll share! God has been abundantly gracious to me! You probably have some extra of what I need too. SH
Samantha is married to her sweetheart, Andrew. She keeps busy as the mama to their six beautiful children, but in her spare moments, you are likely to find her nourishing growth in her garden, under the wide-open prairie skies of Saskatchewan, Canada.