Thursday, April 21, 2016

Oh My Weeds

Spring brings life to the dead of winter.
Winter living in the mountains results in completely dead grass, grey skies, dreary days and long nights. Wood burning stove heats the house and frequent trips to the wood pile to re-stock the wood, reminds one again that winter is in full swing.
The torrential rains that were desperately needed, produced an over abundant collection of water in the lakes throughout our county; which in turn furnished the landscape with the lushness of greenery as the calendar moved forward.

Spring is by far my most favorite time living in these hills east of Sacramento. The colors of green that decorate the landscape are such a contrast to the nothingness of winter. And then, the sides of the roads became brilliant with the bright orange of the poppies. Everything along the drive to town and back brings smiles. The cows grazing on the fresh and abundant grass, the goats and sheep wandering the countryside, the horses cantering along an open field. Different bushes illuminated with shades of purple and fuchia are amazing to behold.

With the arrival of spring, everyone begins to think of planting and updating their gardens. It is very hard to begin planting before May when you live at an altitude of 3200 feet. As I looked at our yard today, I thought it was about time to start weeding.

Have you ever realized how weeds can take over everything? It is almost as if you pull one up and you see one hundred more. As I was beginning the weeding process today and feeling a bit overwhelmed at the magnitude of them, I stopped for a moment and contemplated how weeds often look like the sins in my life that keep popping up. Just when I think I have destroyed one part of ugliness that seeks to dwell in my life, it rears its ugly head; exactly like the way you pull the week up from its root and weeks later it comes back.
 I have often contemplated how gardening reminds me of my relationship with God. I weed and plant and water and wait for the harvest of beautiful flowers and sweet tomatoes and strawberries and various herbs and vegetables. I imagine that God does the same with me: weeds the awful things that cause me to not be the person He envisions to me, and then plants more of His life into mine and waits to see how I will re-produce His Grace into the lives of others.
Those nagging weeds also reminded me today of the doubts that keep coming back trying to de-rail my relationship with my Creator. I can walk along smoothly for a time, seeking and enjoying the fellowship of Jesus, when all of a sudden-out of nowhere, the nagging questions re-surface wondering where God is, does He see what is going on, how long will He allow me or someone else to suffer, or wonder what the heck He is up to.
I am in one of those times right now. I know that God is good. I know He cares deeply for me and those I love, but I read some of the Psalms where people cry out to Him and He answers them and I wonder why He won't answer me. Does He not hear my cries of desperation?
I know He does. My doubts are the weeds that keep showing up. Even when I carefully watch over my garden, weeds still come back, making sure I know that there is more work to be done. Those weeds that remind me of my sin and resemble my doubts that keep showing up, are ways to keep me grounded to my Savior. I can't take care of them on my own, just as the weeds in my garden do not disappear on their own. I know I need help to work through these times. 
These are the times when the enemy of God would like me to walk away, to fall into the trap that God doesn't care, that He is never there for me when I need Him to be; but I know different. I know and remember that God has shown me His faithfulness for over Forty-four years. He has shown up when I couldn't get up. He shows up in my husband who understands me in these times and hugs me with words of encouragement.  He has shown up via my friends who have cared and prayed for me, He has shown up in phone calls and texts and emails. He has shown up in His Word. I just have to keep at it-even when I don't feel like it.
Like the pesky weeds that try and take over my garden, I have to keep weeding them out. So the same applies to the sin that keeps creeping back or the doubts that resurface, I have to do my part and wait for God to do His.
Not ever easy. Not ever fun. Always worth it.