the state of our garden

2

Officially, our seeds we started are out. Ryan plans to purchase and invest in a better quality of starter plants. I think I knew this fact all along. I think I was just antsy to start the process and took matters into my own hands with the seeds. Doing things right is better than doing things fast. That’s got to be some cardinal rule of gardening, right?

*****

He spent several hours over the weekend getting some yucky over-grown shrubs (we rent this house, hope it’s okay?!?) pulled out and the soil turned over for the spot he plants to grow tomatoes.

photo 3

As Ryan toiled away in the warm spring sunshine, digging and uprooting, I remembered an important lesson I learned not long ago. Soil matters. Breaking up our fallow ground matters.

*****

In October of 2013, I wrote a blog post about how the thorny soil can choke the life right out of us. It can be read in its entirety here:

That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat beside the sea. And great crowds gathered about him, so that he got into a boat and sat down. And the whole crowd stood on the beach. And he told them many things in parables, saying: “A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seeds fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured them. Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and immediately they sprang up, since they had no depth of soil, but when the sun rose they were scorched. And since they had no root, they withered away. Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. Other seeds fell on good soil and produced grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. {Matthew 13:1-8}

*****

Hear then the parable of the sower: When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is what was sown along the path. As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy, yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away. As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. As for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it. He indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty. {Matthew 13:18-23}

I think it’s easy in the world we live in, even as Believers, Christ-followers to get cocky. I read the first part of this parable and (as usual) go through my mental check list.

I hear the word of God and mostly understand it. So I don’t necessarily feel like the enemy snatches away what has been sown. {Check, pats herself on the back.}

I hear the word of God and receive it with joy, and my faith is mostly, firmly planted and I can look to Christ as the answer when life hands me trials and persecutions. {Check, pats herself on the back.}

As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful.
 
This one? 
Not so much check as choke
 
The cares of the world.
The deceitfulness of riches.
 
Choke.
Choke.
 
I’ll just come right out with it. 
 
Very, very often I am more concerned with the cares of this world 
than I am concerned with Jesus and living life as His disciple. 
I am more concerned with feeding and clothing my family. 
I am more concerned about our next trip or vacation. 
I am more concerned about the appearance of myself or my house. 
I am more concerned with our next savings goal.
I am more concerned with __________. 
 
(Fill in the blank and I’m probably more concerned with it.)
 
And I am unfruitful.
You see, out here in El Paso, we have these thorns (everywhere) that Ryan calls Goat Heads. But according to Wikipedia they also go by these names:
  •  bindii
  • bull head
  • cat’s head
  • devil’s eyelashes
  • devil’s thorn
  • devil’s weed
  • goat head
  • puncture vine
  • tack weed
After my walk the other night, I counted TWELVE of these little boogers my tennis shoes. And let me warn you that if you come inside wearing your shoes and walk on carpet, those thorns will stick to the carpet fibers and find your bare feet or your bottom and you will let out a cry and possibly a swear.
*****
I think at some point each of the five of us has had a Goat Head or two stuck somewhere on our bodies. And as you can see, there’s hardly a place you can grab onto to pluck those suckers out without another part of it sticking in you.
*****
We have had ongoing flat bicycle tires and constant shoe checks for these little thorns. These thorns “thrive in desert climates and poor soil…” That’s El Paso, desert climate and poor soil. But sometimes, that’s me too. Desert season. Ungrounded in poor soil. And when my life gets busy or overwhelming or I get covered up in my daily tasks of homeschooling the kids or keeping the household running or planning ahead I can run myself dry both physically and spiritually.
*****
A soul-drought can often lead to poor soil conditions.

And poor soil/soul conditions lead to living life among thorns.

Then before you know it, cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches start pricking at you.

And your slippery, rocky slope becomes a rubble of erosion.

And you are stuck in a season of unfruitfulness.

Your worries about you and yours overtake the thought of and care for others. The distractions of another’s (perceived) perfect life painted on social media grows envy. You are looking to get more, have more, do more. And in your gettinghaving and doing, you end up feeling less than. Unfruitful.

It’s like this with my tennis shoes.

I get so involved in my walk that when I’m heading home in that final stretch I forget to check my shoes. But when I do remember and wisely remove and inspect my shoes before entering the house, I STOP and remove the thorns. I slowly and methodically and carefully pluck them out of the rubber soles and discard them somewhere that my shoes won’t find them again.

I must do this in order that my shoes are useful, making my walks fruitful, again.

As we prepare to enter into a holiday season filled with Thanksgiving and Christmas it is very easy for me to get into a thorny place. It’s easy to place the focus and emphasis on the things of the world.

Things like traveling and baking and gift getting and buying and family time and more, more, more.

But before it even gets here, I want to remind myself to take time to see the colors. Take time to heed the warning of Christ’s parable that my life isn’t intended to be lived for the cares of the world or deceitfulness of riches. My life is to be focused on living in good soil, by bearing fruit and yielding to Him.

I want to trade in my thorns of selfishness and busyness and distraction and envy and discontentment for the fruit of the Spirit.

Instead of bindii, I want to sow love.

Instead of bull head, I want to sow joy.

Instead of cat’s head, I want to sow peace.

Instead of devil’s eyelashes, I want to sow forbearance (patience).

Instead of devil’s thorn, I want to sow kindness.

Instead of devil’s weed, I want to sow goodness.

Instead of goat head, I want to sow faithfulness.

Instead of puncture vine, I want to sow gentleness.

Instead of tack weed, I want to sow self-control.

*****

I can’t wait to update more. Spring is definitely in the air; the soil just right for planting.

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