When I moved into my house 6 1/2 years ago all the landscaping was done already. There were beautiful perennial gardens, bushes, a terraced layout in front complete with hostas and other green things. I had no idea really what any of it was. I only knew there were no daffodils or tulips, so I put some bulbs in. When those came up in the spring I was so excited. I knew what they were. As the rest of the perennials came up, I wasn't sure what was supposed to be there and what wasn't. I let it all grow and decided to sort it out later in the year when it became obvious what belonged. Later in the year I got preoccupied with other things and never really got back to the sorting process.
By last year, my overgrown weedy mess was really getting on my nerves. I needed a fresh start. One liberating afternoon I took my shovel and spade and dug everything out. That freshly turned over soil was so inspiring. It was a clean slate, just waiting for me to decide what to plant. I put in some black-eyed susans, lavender, pink coneflowers, and some other things that my mom brought over. I weeded and fussed as everything starting blooming. It was so exciting.
I kind of look at my garden in comparison to my growth as a Christian. My life was a weedy mess. Out of control. Couldn't really tell what was supposed to be there and what wasn't. Ok. I knew some stuff that wasn't supposed to be there. I just wasn't sure how to get a fresh start. Five years ago, when I really started on my journey to Christ, I needed a really big shovel and spade to turn the dirt over. I had to pull the weeds of selfishness, pride, anger, envy, and fear. I had to let the Holy Spirit till the soil of my heart, and plant what is supposed to be there. Love, patience, compassion, trust. It was really an exciting time, learning to see life in a new, fresh way. Everyday filled with possibility.
I'm looking at my garden now. The flowers are past their prime. Some of the weeds are moving back into the empty spaces. Everything is getting kind of tired and yellowy looking. Not so vibrant. Some days I feel the same way. As I head into what I have always viewed as a dormant time of year, I need to prepare my heart and spirit for the winter. Pray more. Read more. Make sure there is no room for weeds to grow.
As the days get shorter and colder and the vibrancy of summer fades, don't forget to prepare the garden of your soul for winter. It is during the season that seems the darkest and loneliest that God is setting the stage for incredible beauty.