Wednesday February 17th, 2016
Women Connect – short weekly post to inspire and encourage.
There has never been the slightest doubt in my mind that the God who started this great work in you would keep at it and bring it to a flourishing finish – – – . Philippians 1:6
I’ve noticed something in my garden.
Right where my loveliest and lushest plants are growing and blooming is right where I’ll too often find weeds growing long and lush and strong as well. Unwanted and unwelcome there are some that take hold right around the base of the plant and grow up in amongst the branches and foliage. See it’s good soil there, watered well, fertilized – a good place for things to grow including weeds.
And my first instinct of course is to pull the weed out by the roots – get rid of it as fast as I can but if its growing in close I may as well pull my lovely plant out too because in my reefing out the weed I’ll be damaging and breaking the roots of the plant or pulling it out all together. Now I wont have the weed but I wont have the bloom either.
So do I destroy the beauty and bloom of the flower for the sake of having a weed free garden. And what for ? So it’s all neat and perfect, to be the envy of my neighbors, to keep up appearances, so that my garden looks the same as all the others?
Most weeds – well yes I just get rid of them without too much thinking, pull them out and throw them away – I don’t want them taking over, I want less weeds rather than more – – – but some well I just have to trim right back and leave. Work on them bit by bit. Go easy, dig carefully so the plant isn’t ruined.
Here’s another way to look at weeds. Not all are noxious – there just not that pretty, they get in the way, they mess up our gardens a bit, but harmful – probably not.
The bloom is still just as lovely – it’s not less of a flower or shrub just because there are a few weeds around it . In fact sometimes the contrast of the exquisite against the ordinary adds to it’s beauty.
So what’s that got to do with anything?
Weeds – well I’m thinking of areas in our life that trip us up, weaknesses, fears, tendencies that maybe aren’t helpful, areas of our emotional makeup that frustrate us, where we still feel broken and limitations of our personality and our circumstances. Things intrinsically entwined with who we are.
So here’s a thought or two. Maybe we think our lives and our service to God should be like that perfect garden – all weed free and neat and ordered with a pretty border around the edges. So we either dismiss our selves as not up to par or go digging around in our lives, prodding and probing trying to identify and pull out every weed, mark or blemish that might ruin the look of us. We might even think those weeds ruin the beauty of us in God’s sight, that they mar us or count us out of blooming at all. We might think that our garden can’t produce anything good while there are weeds in it. And what if we decide we can’t really do anything for Him until we are weed free and spotless.
But Christ is the only one spotless. And us – we’ll will never be entirely weed free.
We can exhaust ourselves trying to make ourselves good, trying to perfect ourselves so we can be “used by God” and acceptable. It comes from good desire – we want to be right before Him, we want nothing to hinder or impede us in serving Him – but heres the thing – we can’t make ourselves right, only God can make us right, He sent Jesus to make us right and He uses us long before we are all set to our idea of right or perfect.
One way to stop blooming – just focus on the weeds.
Want to totally frustrate and condemn yourself, want to break your own heart – try pulling one of those deep planted weeds out on your own. The weed ends up only half out and we’re nearly destroyed in the process.
It’s worth remembering this – God knows us “weeds and all” nothing is hidden from Him. He’s the master gardener, not us and when it comes to weeding things out – His timing and His perspective is everything. We condemn, He redeems. We stand in darkness, He shines His light. We focus on all our faults and shortcomings, God sees Jesus in us. We poke and prod, and say fix me now and He says “you look all good to me”. We say we’re no good for anything, He says “I’ve chosen you”. We hardly know what day it is, He knows the beginning and the end.
He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. Ecclesiastes 3:11
I think God does magnificent things in gentle ways. When He wants us to change or grow or heal us He shows us the way.
Mostly He just loves us and that changes everything.
“Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS.… Matthew 11:29
Have you noticed this. It’s the place where we are growing and blooming and most productive that we will be most confronted with the frustrations of our weaknesses and limitations. Do we let it ruin the bloom? What if they make the bloom more beautiful, what if it’s in that contrast that God artistry can be more readily seen, where the miracle of the flower still growing and beautiful despite the weeds is recognised. Where the skill of master gardener is recognised.
Moses was called by God to free the Israelites from bondage yet it was here that he came face to face with his fear of man and all his personal insecurities. (Exodus 3:4) Weeds wrapped around his calling, but they had him relying on God at every step. Martha flew off the handle and made a ninny of herself in front of Jesus at one stage (Luke 10:38-42) and yet the meal that she lovingly prepared when Jesus visited their home for the last time became part of His preparations for the cross. John (12:1-8) Paul called to preach and grow the church but frustrated by the limitations of his physical body. (2 Corinthians 12:7) He preached anyway.
And God showed him this
“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 2 Corinthians 12:9
The odd weed or two never ruined a garden, the only thing that ruins a garden is when there is nothing growing at all, when we have packed up and gone home, when everything has shriveled up and died for lack of water and light and food. While ever we are planted and serving God right where we are, in church, in our homes, in whatever way we can, we are gonna meet up with our weaknesses and faults, our imperfections and insecurities. They don’t disqualify us, they just remind of our human state and that we can’t do it all on our own. They remind us we need Jesus.
Christ is in you and wants to come out through you in a million little way – through your strength and also your weakness, your abilities and also your lack. – – – Part of the art is having faith to believe that Jesus still works miracles, even in our weakness. Maybe especially so. Emily P Freeman
We want to be weed free with all the corners tucked in but life isn’t simple and tidy and either are we. And “we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 2 Corinthians 4:7
“Life is art. And art demands creativity; it cannot tolerate formulas. Building a good marriage is art. Handling relational conflict is art. Trusting God with your addiction or depression or fear of disapproval is art. God doesn’t provide recipes to cook up for a delicious life because He can’t. Machines aren’t beautiful, waterfalls are. We’re not machines. We’re more like waterfalls, waterfalls who are persons” Larry Crabb, Real Church
And in this case living breathing blooms made no less beautiful by a few weeds in our garden.
Love to you all today
Got a minute?
Read last weeks Women Connect post here
Or browse the Women Connect page here