God created the heaven’s and the earth and everything in them. He created man in His own image. He saw everything He made and said, “it is very good!”
Darn Adam and Eve…why did they eat the apple?
Sin and brokenness entered the world. The world became less than what God intended, but he did give us free will/choice (because He wanted us to be able to choose Him). He created us in HIS image. The world has been jacked up since BUT let’s not lose heart. We have HOPE because of the resurrection of Jesus. That same resurrection power is available to us…Yay God and thank you Jesus…anyway…
Fast forward to 1967…
That’s when God created me in my mother’s womb. He uniquely knit me together there in the comfort and safety of my momma’s belly. Protected and well taken care of. All by God’s special design. He created and shaped me, while having a plan and purpose in mind, for my life.
BAM…It was time to be born and out I popped, through the amazing process of childbirth. God smiled and I know He said “Ummm-hmmm, look at her! My cute, little, spunky redhead daughter. She is good! So very good!”
Life happened and my “shape” was drastically changed by my choices, behaviors and actions, as well as those of others. God’s special plan and purpose were not playing out how He intended. I was just like Eve and every other women of the human race.
Like you, my shape changed throughout the various chronological stages of life: childhood, teenage years, college life, young married, becoming a momma and then accepting Jesus.
However, from that accepting Jesus stage (back in 1996), I have been on a different journey. One of learning, growing and transforming; one of trying to “find” my God-designed purpose and created shape.
Yes, it’s been a journey…why did they have to eat that apple? Smile. The journey has been up and down because I (like you) am living in this imperfect, broken world as an imperfect, broken woman, a sinner saved by God’s amazing grace, trying to navigate and live more like Jesus. And, I (like you) am in relationships with people who are also broken and imperfect trying to navigate the best they can. Despite the ups and downs, there have been many blessings and thankful moments along the way. The shaping continues and what I love most is, that through the many seasons of my life, I have developed this sweet and real relationship with Jesus.
Reflecting back during a season of struggle, I was desperately praying, okay, I was begging God for clarity, discernment and wisdom. This jumped into my brain…
“Tammy, what are you trying to grow in your heart? Your heart is like a garden. What are you planting in your heart?”
Truth flooded me. I restated the question, “what am I trying to grow?” I jotted down: I am trying to grow love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness and self-control. And, if I want to grow those things, am I planting the seeds of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness and self-control?
The seeds I plant, water and tend-to will grow. What seeds am I planting?
I am praying. I am seeking God and God’s truth. I am filling my mind with the words of scripture. I am reading books that reinforce God’s way of living. I am serving where God leads me. I am being accountable to others. I am willing to change and grow. I am in community. I am trying to be self-aware. I desire to park my mind on things that are true, noble, honest, praiseworthy, etc..
So, what should someone see when they look at the harvest from my garden? Will the harvest produce?
IF I (we) plant seeds of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control…
THEN, the harvest will be abundant love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. To grow these things in the garden of my heart, I will need a humble spirit, a steadfast dependence on God, a hope that comes from relationship with Christ, to make wise decisions and good choices. To believe the best. Work toward reconciliation and restoration. Be a prayer warrior, teacher and friend. Handle conflict with grace and mercy. Speak truth in love. A willingness to acknowledge fault, hurt and give and receive forgiveness. Change and grow. Inner healing and transformation. Forgiveness. Be trustworthy and safe. Wise speaking…holding the tongue. Soft responses and rebukes. Supernatural wisdom and knowledge. An eternal perspective. A teachable spirit. Encouragement. Deep breath…What would you add?
This is what I desire the harvest to be from the garden of my heart.
We know that things end up in our gardens that we didn’t intentionally plant. Mainly, weeds!
What weeds might you encounter or see in my the garden of my heart?
Sin. Selfishness. Judgmental attitude. Critical Spirit. Anger. Transgressions. Pride. Self-Righteousness. Foul mouth. Harsh words. Sarcasm. Impatience. Negative thinking. Envy. Iniquity. Jealousy. Greed. Distrust. Unbelief. Strife. Disunity. Ugliness. What else would you add?
I believe God wants me to be a diligent gardener of my heart! If I am daily tending to my garden, I will recognize the plants and I will recognize the weeds. My job is to nurture and harvest the plants and rid my garden of the weeds…not just on the surface but to dig them out by the roots! Quickly.
And, think about this. Sometimes we have visitors to our garden. I believe they are able to quickly see a weed in my garden, that I may not have recognized, and point it out. I can deny it’s a weed or wisely be open to their find, and let them know it is that something I planted OR to say, “hmm, that’s a weed and I didn’t see!” And then work to get rid of it!
The sign that hangs above the Garden of My Heart says: Welcome to my garden! Together, we can have a great harvest! What does the sign above the Garden of Your Heart say?