Tuesday, February 19, 2013


As many of you know, I am a gardener. I love to tend my gardens. I look forward to spring, new life, new growth, warm days…well, you get the point. When I began to look forward to spring this year, going out to see how high the sweet peas have grown or how high the daffodils have jumped up, I began to sense the Lord cultivating in my own heart. Now I know how to cultivate a garden and the hard work one has to put in to make it grow, but how does the Lord cultivate one’s heart? I hope you will hang in there with me as I share with you what the Lord is teaching me…

Cultivating a grateful heart is very much like cultivating a garden. It is slow, hard, and sometimes back-breaking work. One has to bend down on hands and knees, low to the earth to work. Are you seeing the picture here? As in humility? Humility comes from the Latin word “humus” meaning the kind of earth that grows good crops. God gives the earth to the humus people, the humble ones. It is only in humility that we can come to the Father, bent down low, looking up with a grateful heart.

Next, we have to break open the soil in order to place the seed in it. Not unlike how the Father has to break our will/heart to place His Holy Spirit in us. Without this breaking of our will, our Spirit will not grow, just like the seed will not grow if it is not placed into the broken ground. The seed then must be covered with the earth to sprout, just as we must cover our hearts with the Word of God in order to grow. It takes time and patience for a seed to sprout, and it takes time and patience for a person to grow in Christ.

Then come the seasons. Like the seasons of life, plants require seasons also. Spring begins with the planting season. By the time the soil has warmed up, I have already decided what is going out in the garden, which plants to buy and plant. The Lord also has a plan for our lives. He has already decided which direction and what vocation He has for us. We only need to seek His will and know where He would have us serve. One does that by spending time with Him in His Word and in prayer. Just as I have studied the garden catalogs and know what I am going to do in the garden, we need to study God’s Word and know what His Will is for our lives.

Summer … Living in the south, I know the summers are long and very hot, and I do mean hot. Usually in the summer, I just try to keep everything that I have planted alive. And that means just watering!!! Our summers can be very, very dry. Just like our souls become when we neglect the Word of God. One cannot go long without the refreshing water that flows from His Word. It’s the water that truly satisfies the longings in our dry parched hearts. I watch as the plants come alive after a good watering, as does our soul after a good drenching from His Word.

Fall … Ahhh fall. Don’t you just love the autumn coolness after the sweltering heat of summer? I sure do. The crisp evening air, the leaves beginning to turn to their colors of gold, red, orange and yellow. Yes, I love fall. The garden begins to slow down in the fall; life in the garden is getting ready to sleep. The days begin to get shorter. I begin to prepare the garden for winter. Cultivating the heart in the fall prepares us for the winter months, just like preparing the garden for winter. There’s mulching, pruning and cleaning out of the leaves and other debris. Much like the Holy Spirit does when He begins pruning our own lives. Now pruning can be a painful process, but a needful one. Without it, our lives grow out of control, just as our trees and bushes do. During this process He is also cleaning out the debris that we have collected deep within our hearts. Getting prepared for winter is needed for our plants to survive the long cold months. Preparing our hearts, on the other hand, prevents them from becoming hardened and cold. It keeps them soft and workable, able to experience growth any time of the year.  

Yes, cultivating a grateful heart is like cultivating a garden! And being a gardener, why, I just can’t wait to get out there and get my hands dirty. We can do both - by spending time with God we cultivate a grateful heart and by digging in the dirt we cultivate a lovely garden. I don’t know about you but I want to do both…

Want to join me? I may even have an extra pair of gloves.

The Lord will guide you always; He will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame.  You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.  
Isaiah 58:11

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