Honestly, I have been debating whether or not I should blog about my weeds. Weeds are much like a dirty house; you live in it but don’t want other people to see your mess. Everyone seems to have an opinion about your mess (weeds or dirty house), and how they would fix it or how their home/garden/life would never get that bad.
Over the years I have seen, read, and heard about methods that will supposedly leave you with no weeds. My experience has been that most methods are too good to be true. I remember in the nineties my mom bought yards and yards of landscaping fabric and lined several of her landscaping areas. Today this material is still present buried under layers of mulch and dirt, and guess what! There are weeds growing through the fabric. The fabric actually makes it harder to pull the weed once it has grown through, because it becomes twisted in the fabric and you lose access to the root of the weed. In Spite of all the gadgets, sprays, and methods there are still weeds in the world.
As I work in the garden, I think to myself, “Weeds are a part of life.” If you have any green space in your life, you will have weeds. Weeds remind me of the scripture, “In this world you will have trouble …” John 16:33. So for the last five years I have spent several summer mornings and evenings weeding. This time of year my life has a certain routine. IT is “wake up, weed and repeat”. If I turn my back and ignore my weeds for even a day or two, they will over take the garden and destroy my harvest. Yet no matter how hard I try to keep them out, there are still weeds.
In the spring time we had a week of rain. Like every plant, weeds love rain. But the school year was still in session, so I had very little time to weed. A portion of our garden quickly became so covered with weeds you could not see the lettuce, radishes, or spinach that were growing. I attacked them as soon as I could carve out time, but while I was getting that area under control, my sunflower and zinnia rows burst forth with their own variety of weeds. The weeds became so thick in my flower rows it looked like I was weed farming! Even though my excuses were legitimate, the weeds didn’t really care. Gardening is actually a spiritual thing. While sweating buckets under my sunscreen jacket, I often think about my life, scriptures, and my creator. God designed gardening. He created the first garden and gave man the joy of cultivating it. But because of the sin of man, I now pull weeds. One of the many spiritual thoughts I have while pulling weeds is about the parallels between weeds and sin in my life. How often do I neglect to acknowledge (even though I know they are there) the weeds in my life ? There are times when I am caught up in other distractions and I just don’t even attempt to pull the weeds. Sometimes, I might decide it is time to clean my garden (my life) up, and after a half- hearted attempt, the weed snaps off. The appearance to others in my life looks good, no weeds … Right ? Well, if you have ever weeded you know that unless you pull the root up, the weed will be back. It is interesting to me that most flowers and vegetables will shrivel and die without leaves and stems but my evil weeds only need a fraction of a root to grow a whole plant.
There are times here on the homestead and in my life that I look at my weeds and I think, “Well, I have let it go too far this time. I have lost to the weeds.” The first year we moved to our homestead, we moved in July and the weeds had gotten so out of control they were several weeds taller than me. You might have mistaken them for trees or large shrubs, if you had driven by. My harvest was non-existent that year with only a few stray squash. It was a painful year of loss and failure for me. I can remember trying to weed what I affectionately call the World’s Longest Flower Bed, and it was a losing battle. My body was not responding well to the stress of my life and the personal pains I felt. One evening I was out digging up the weeds that had overwhelmed my mother’s beautiful lilies. I could feel my spirit just giving up. I was having thoughts of just mowing things down, naturalizing the area, or paving over the entire thing. Just about that time, up pulled a friend with her husband and three kids. She jumped out of her minivan and said, “Girl, what are you doing out here? And by yourself ?, You are never going to get done on your own !!” I was so happy to see her, I think I cried. She couldn’t tell though because I was sweating so much. Soon her husband and boys were digging away in the garden with me. My friend brought me a cold drink and made me sit and watch them finish up. I was so blessed and just like that the World’s Longest Flower Bed had returned to its original glory. While we were sitting watching them weed, she began to tell me what a good job I was doing taking care of my mom’s flowers. What words of encouragement that I needed to hear! We followed up the weed party with a pizza party filled with laughter. I wish every time I weeded a car full of people would show up to help, but that is what makes that story so special. There are times when God requires me to pull the weeds up without company, just me and Him. However, he is gracious and loving, and when it looks like I might just sacrifice the flowers, the fruit of His work in me, and give up, he provides me with a car full of people to help me, giving me rest, love, and encouragement to keep going.
1 Thessalonians 5:11
Therefore encourage one another and build one another up,
just as you are doing.
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