Friday, June 9, 2017

Gardens and Hearts

For many years I could not for the life of me grow anything. I killed a cactus, bamboo, any and all plants. The exception to this was crepe myrtle and I didn't even plant it, the former owners of our home did, I just left it alone and it thrived.

I tried a few years ago to grow bell peppers, they were doing well until my husband put up a black out curtain. At that time it became out of sight, out of mind and nature took over the rest. By the time I remembered them,  they died from too much sun and not enough water. I decided I was a plant killer in my own right.

None of this would have bothered me except that my Grandma Taylor had an amazing green thumb and her garden thrived under her care. She even tried to teach me once but became frustrated with me and gave up. In my defense I was 15 years old at the time so my commitment level wasn't what it should have been. It didn't help that we had a neighborhood cat that wouldn't leave the flower bed alone. I gave up and figured it was a problem. Every once in a while I would try again only to have to give whatever plant I attempted to grow to Grandma. She finally asked me to stop trying because her house wasn't large enough for me to continue my efforts in a college dorm.

Now I am in my 40's, my husband and I joke that I don't need Gardening for Dummies. I need the remedial version. Except I am actually growing a tomato plant and it is thriving! We grabbed two Mortgage Tomato plants a few weeks ago and then transplanted them a week or so ago into terra cotta planters (they are rather large, so the roots have plenty of room to grow).  I looked this evening and joyful realized they are healthy and thriving and soon we will have tomatoes!!

I would love to say this bravery is because I read some book that helped me see the mistakes previously made, but my confidence comes from knowing Chris and Sarah have experience successfully growing plants and my willingness to listen and learn from them and my cousin, Dawn, and a good friend in Massachusetts. They are more experienced than I and as such, I would be wise to listen and learn from them.

Like learning to garden, we have to be willing to learn from  God and other mature Christian if we want the garden of our heart to grow and thrive. Like a garden we need to work at keeping out the weeds, watering our hearts and strengthening our hearts by spending daily time in the word. 

I wonder if Jesus wasn't a gardener growing up because he uses the Parable of the Seeds,
Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed.  As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up.  Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow.  But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root.  Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants.  Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.
Matthew 13:3‭-‬8 NIV
http://bible.com/111/mat.13.3-8.NIV

And then he explains,
“Listen then to what the parable of the sower means:  When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in their heart. This is the seed sown along the path.  The seed falling on rocky ground refers to someone who hears the word and at once receives it with joy.  But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away.  The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful.  But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.”
Matthew 13:18‭-‬23 NIV
http://bible.com/111/mat.13.18-23.NIV.
We can spend time with God daily and let his word and Spirit take root in the soil of our hearts or we can be stubborn and refuse to learn or listen to those more mature than us in our walk.

Which seed will you choose to be? And how well will the garden of your heart thrive?

Have a good weekend.
In Christ,
Maureen

Helping Hands

As a young woman I remember when people didn't even stop to ask if a person struggling needed help. By struggling I mean they faced an injury to themselves or a family member. People organized meals, some people would show up and help with yard work or clean dishes, little things that people needed done and yet they would never dream of asking people to do for them.
What happened to that tradition? When did we as a society become so self absorbed that we never think we should jump in and help.
So here are some suggestions of ways we can help people in our area or that we know who face a tough time.
1. Depending in the season mow their yard or shovel the snow from their walk ways. By the way this is a great idea even if a person isn't facing tragedy but is maybe older and struggling.

2. Fix and bring a meal. People won't ask for help,  we need to become a community that jumps in and helps even if we aren't asked. Being a country that is largely created by emigrants and those who learned to be reliant in themselves it is easy to see why we hesitate to ask for help or accept it. And yet when we refuse to allow others to help us we rob them of an opportunity to learn the adage, It is more blessed to give than to receive. 

3. Go and sit with people whose loved one is facing surgery or who has gone to the hospital no matter what.
I'm guilty if not jumping in and doing this. Granted for now it is tougher to do with us being a one car family but what was my excuse before then?!

4. Pray for and with people during tough times.

5. Bring meals to people.  With modern technology it is easy for people to sign up to make a meal for people these days.
As an addendum to this I would add to make sure there are not food allergies or food restrictions. Some people may be diabetic, have high blood pressure or they may have severe good allergies.

6. Offer to watch any children for as long as necessary and stick with it.

This seems like a small list, but every little bit we do to help others can make a difference. We can still be a community who helps,  who shows we care and are more than just obsessed with our technology.  After all, Jesus said any of these we do for even a small bit is just as if we are doing them for Him. Whether it is making a meal or helping in what seems a small way can be helpful.

Have a good week.
In Christ,
Maureen