When I was growing up, summertime looked like swimming lessons, lots of time playing outside with my brothers and the neighborhood kids and gardening. For many summers, my dad and I worked on a small vegetable garden. Tomato plants and green peppers were staples each year while other vegetables rotated in and out. The neighbor next door loved to foster the interests of my brothers and I so a friendly contest began. A competition to see who would grow the first tomato as well as the biggest began one summer and provided just the motivation I needed. I proudly walked away with a homemade certificate displaying a picture of the reddest, ripest tomato I had ever seen. I was so proud and eager to repeat my win the next summer. The contest lasted for several years, until my gardening days ended due to other interests.
Working in a garden, side by side with my dad, allowed me to learn many lessons. But it is the soul work that sticks with me to this day. Deep roots of learning to persevere, the pruning of my heart to be a good winner or loser, and the joy of seeing the fruits of my labor. The lessons from my dad were magnified by the work my neighbors did to build into me too.
[Tweet “God’s soul work gives us deep roots to persevere, pruning for strength and truth for nourishment. “]
Gardening looks a lot like the soul work God does in and through us. The roots of the plants are like the anchors God throws out to save us and keep us steady. The fruits of the plants are the gifts God blesses us with and the ones we choose to use to honor Him. The branches represent the community of people who nurture, nourish and support us just as God does for His children. The soul work of God is ongoing, creates a better future and teaches us how to live in love as His child. In order for a garden to produce a bountiful harvest, the work to maintain it is ongoing and persistent. Open the door to the garden of your soul and let God enter in.
Deep, lasting soul work happens when we embrace the following lessons:
Provide a space for the work that is needed
Invite God into your heart over and over to mold, shape and teach you.
Work hard to persevere even when you cannot see the fruits of your labor
Never give up even when the journey is uncertain and fuzzy. God has a beautiful plan for you.
Allow God to prune and nourish you with His Word
Spend time in the Word and soak in the truth of God’s grace, love and hope
Feed yourself truth (God’s truth) to develop a stable root system
Let your mind fill up with the truth that Jesus died on the cross to save you. The battle has been won.
Embrace community as they nurture and build into you
There will be other people in your life who wish to mentor you and foster growth. Leave yourself open to these opportunities.
Finally, soul work takes time, space and trust in God. I pray these verses nurture you and help you grow your garden of faith.
Commit your way to the Lord;
trust in him and he will do this:
6 He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn,
your vindication like the noonday sun. Psalm 37:5-6
Trust in the Lord forever,
for the Lord, the Lord himself, is the Rock eternal. Isaiah 26:4
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6:33-34
Blessings of grace along the way!
Linking with Lisha @GiveMeGrace
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So many beautiful lessons from gardening, Mary. Thanks for laying these out for us. I also like this: “Don’t despise the day of small beginnings.” (Seeds and seedlings.) I thought about that as I looked at some tiny geranium cuttings I have, and I know they have a glorious future since I remember how much the mother plant has bloomed in the past!
But yes, I want to clear space in my heart for the Master Gardener.
There is such rich content in comparing gardening and the Master Gardener. Most of us in some way can take something away from the analogy. I imagine those geraniums will bloom beautifully someday. Thank you for being here Betsy! Blessings upon your week!
It’s great that you explain it this way. Our souls are a work in progress and our Gardener is always at work with us until we are good enough.
We are such a work in progress. God is the Gardener who knows exactly how to prune, nourish and help us to grow. He is persistent with us even when we no longer care. God never gives up and never leaves us. Blessed you stopped by Lux!
I love fresh grown tomatoes from the garden. I love your analogy here. It is so true. We are continually being pruned.
Fresh tomatoes are my favorite too. Here’s to lots of fresh tomatoes and new perspectives because we ave allowed God to prune and nurture us. Thank you for being here Tara!
I’m singing I Come To The Garden Alone. Enjoyed this Mary.
I love the part about working hard even though we don’t see the the fruits of our labor. We are audience of one with Him and He is the only one who matters.
I don’t know that song but I’ll have to look it up. We work for an audience of one everyday. We are blessed that He cherishes that time with us and is blessed when we let Him prune and nurture us with His truth and Word. Thank you for joining me today.
And I must say that you and your blog are like that prize-winning big, cherry red tomato, Mary! You’re reminders to us to send down deep roots into the Lord are inspiring and so very important. Thanks for being our spiritual cheerleader, my friend! Go, Mary! Go!
I wish I had grown those prize winning tomatoes in the bowl, but I guess I did one summer long ago. The lessons we learn from ordinary life amaze me. God is truly in everything. We are stronger because we know Him and made perfect by His grace and love. I love encouraging and cheering others on. God provides the tools and words and then sends beautiful friends like you to sit with me awhile here in this space. Thank you friend! Praying your week is blessed.
Gardening is rewarding in many ways, isn’t it? Thanks for sharing and bringing such encouragement today, Mary. Blessings to you!
I know gardening is one of the things you spend time on, Gayl. You also have a daughter who is a landscaper so I imagine you understand the gardening analogy very well. I’m praying that this not only encourages you but others too. Blessings on the upcoming week!
Beautiful encouragement today, Mary! Many blessings to you on this Sabbath!
Blessed you joined me here today, June! Praying your week is blessed! Praying also we learn to love well and seek peace in all.
Just beautiful, Mary, and a lovely complement to a piece I just did on rooting myself exactly where I am.
Thank you Shelby! You blessed me by stopping by and leaving some encouragement. I will check out your piece on rooting ourselves right where we are. Blessing on the upcoming week!
Dear Mary, this is truly a lovely spiritual ode to gardening and its bounty of life lessons just waiting for us to gather in …
Thank you Linda! You strike me as a person who would love to nurture a garden as well as build into others. (I know you build into others) Thank you for adding some lovely to my day by stopping by.
Garden work and soul work.
I knew that you were a kindred spirit!
They go together don’t they? God is good about providing the fertile ground for each of us to grow. We need to turn to Him in faith and let Him do the beautiful work in us that He know we need. Such a treat to find we both talked about gardening today!