A Reluctant Gardener

John and I stood side by side, staring at the mess of a garden in front of us.

We’d hacked down the hedge last spring, thinking we’d eventually rip out the bushes and put in new ones. Miracle of miracles, the bushes came back and looked great.

Except for the ones on the side. Which turned out to be different from the ones in the front.unnamed-2

They were hideous.

We’d put off pulling them out for months. Too hard. Too deep. Too messy.

They’d mocked us long enough. Daring us to do something about insidious roots.

We tackled them. Having had rain for days, the ground was squishy and hopefully more willing to cooperate in giving up the roots of the nasty bushes.

We attacked the bushes with a shovel and an axe. Digging around the edges to loosen the the thinner roots. Using the axe to hack at the thicker ones.  I’d pull them out as far as they could go, and John would continue to hack at the roots.

Until they were freed. And could be ripped out of the dirt.

unnamedThey left gaping holes in the ground. Which filled up quickly with rain, making them look like tadpole swimming holes.

John looked over at me. “We need more dirt.”

We did. Try as we might, the dirt that clung to the roots wouldn’t all come off. The holes that were left were more unsightly than the ugly bushes we were pulling out.

That’s life. There are those things in my life that I tolerate for longer than I should. A critical spirit. Being too judgmental. I pass it off as being insightful.


I find when I start digging around some of my bad habits and attitudes, they’ve grown roots into my soul. They become more a part of me than I want to admit. Addressing them becomes as uncomfortable as hacking at the roots of my ugly bushes.

I’m not going to get those messy parts of me all the way out. I’ll continue weeding them out as long as I live. But I can start filling in the holes left with better attitudes. Better plants. Better dirt.

We all have that broken nature, so the kind of plants we tend to nurture in our hearts are the hurtful kind. Impurity, jealousy, selfishness. The dirt of our souls isn’t healthy.

God grows new things in our hearts when we’re His.

“But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”   Galatians 5:22-23

New dirt will grow new attitudes and perspectives. I need to fill in the gaps of my heart with fruit that only God can grow with soil He nourishes.

I’m a lousy gardener. I don’t enjoy anything about it. I tend to kill plants instead of nurturing them.

God is the Master Gardener. I’m one of His plants that He won’t ever abandon. His digging and pruning? If it makes a difference in what I become–something beautiful for Him–it’s worth it.

I need new dirt.







10 responses to “A Reluctant Gardener”

  1. Day le, you are one of His most beautiful and fruitful plants I’ve ever known. May your roots grow deep in Him and may your fruit continue to bless so many!


    1. Well, friend, one fruit to another, when are we going to hang together? (Pun totally intended!)


  2. Ok! This does it. Your blog is SO you (I hear your voice as I read your words!) It makes me miss you too too too much. You and John need to move your little empty nest here. Right now. I’ll choose just the right house on our street, ring the doorbell, and tell the people there they’ll need to move. I’ll let you know how soon we can take possession of the property. Ney will get the right dirt. Go ahead and put your sign up today. This will work. I promise. You’ll be happy here


    1. Aw, Mar, it would be so much fun to live near you and Ney. Hanging with you all would be a life highlight. I miss you too, my friend. You know, you could always come here and visit. We do have space. At the moment. And it would be fun. It always has to be fun.


  3. Think I’ll stick with the Holy Spirit also, Dayle – Thanks for the reminder from the WORD in Galatians 5! The dirt of my soul isn’t healthy either! Better Trust GOD, the Master Gardener with HIS SOIL to grow new things in my heart also! Love and Blessings to YOU both!


    1. Oh, Lo, we’re all a pile of dirt, aren’t we? Weedy, wormy dirt that needs the Master’s touch to really grow the beauty in us. Thanks for your encouragement.


  4. Loved it, especially , “I find when I start digging around some of my bad habits and attitudes, they’ve grown roots into my soul. They become more a part of me than I want to admit.”


    1. I think, Mags, that the whole root system of my soul is at times suffering from root rot. A little pruning, a little fertilizer–all cutting and smelling. But good in the long run. Just not fun in the moment. Love you!


  5. Good stuff. I hate it when I need to get the weed eater out (or even let God pour on the Round Up or whatever He needs to use – probably a ton of MiracleGro, too), but yeah…always a much greener, healthy plant grows up. Just wish sometimes the seasons were shorter….or longer when the good blossoms finally show up for awhile.


    1. I doubt this side of heaven I’ll ever enjoy gardening. I can grow in appreciation of the process–kind of like acknowledging what God is doing even though I don’t always like it–but that doesn’t make the process any more fun. My life is a series of Roundup applications and MiracleGro aids.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.