I always seem to write about the Mill House Gardens which are located in the back yard of our inn. After 6 years of help from our Kalamazoo friends, Len and Pat, we seemed to have moved to the very front of the inn. For years and years there has been a viney hedge between the old ease way, for the horses and buggies of the mill days, and the road. Every year it just seemed to grow like mad with Ron having to trim it several times each summer. This year has been a little different. Our crazy growing hedge decided to “bite the dust” so to speak. It turned brown and ugly, with little hope of returning to it’s glory days. So a new gardening project reared it’s head and off to the front of the inn we went!
This was quite a project and a lot of hard work, especially for the men. The roots were tangled and twisted, firmly established in the soil. As I’ve thought about the hard work, I began to think of our personal lives and the “roots” we have established. They can be deeply tangled, hidden beneath our exterior selves. Hurt feelings, anger, physical hurts, anxiety, stubbornness all can keep us just where we plant ourselves. And the place we are planted might not be a good place at all. The soil might be old with no nutrients, it might be dry and powdery, mucky and muddy making us “stuck” and feeling there is no way out.
It takes strength to pull out those old “roots” As we used our 4 wheel drive truck and a heavy chain to pull out the roots left by the hedge, so we need strength to “pull out” the roots in our lives. Only One has the strength to help us “pull out the roots” and start fresh. The roots that have kept us in bondage just as the hedge roots kept the hedge grounded in the old dusty soil. Only One has the power and strength to free us, all other strength is our own. I’ve tried many times to “pull out roots” in my own strength and haven’t had any success. Let Christ be the 4 wheel drive truck in your life.
While the men and truck were pulling roots, Pat was clearing away all the old debris left under the hedges. She began using a small shovel to clear off what appeared to be a very narrow sidewalk. As she scraped and pushed the dirt, the sidewalk became a beautiful wide slate walk. It opened up the space between the empty hedge row and the road. Someone even walked by and said “There’s a sidewalk there!” After the first few shovels, Pat continued to scrape and dig, having faith that something really special might lie underneath the old dirt and grass that had found its way over the slate. Reminding me of our lives, covered with years of dirt and grass, of weeds and mud. As we get older, all of our past mistakes, thoughts, and deeds can determine who we have become. We can sit in them and feel like they will be part of our lives forever, or we can have faith. Faith that our God can clear and scrape away all the old stuff in our lives…after all, isn’t that why Jesus came as a man and died on a sinners cross?
After all was cleared we had a very long narrow empty space. So much space that finances did not enable us to completely fill it in this year. We made the decision to put plants on either end of the space and fill in the rest a little at a time. Choosing plants was a process. What plants can take the direct hot sun for up to 8 hours a day? What will bloom throughout the season drawing attention to the front of the inn? How high do we want the plants to grow? How close together should we plant them? So many questions. Luckily between Len, Pat, and employees at the greenhouses, we were able to chose the perfect plants to begin our new front garden.
Our lives are full of questions as well. If you’ve decided to begin anew, scraping and cleaning up all the old “stuff”, what new stuff do we bring into our lives? Actually there is only one new thing or person we need in our lives. Jesus Christ. He forgives us and puts all that old sin in what He calls the sea of forgetfulness. He’ll never bring it up or use it against you again! Whew…that is the best news ever!!!!
Just as we will constantly be adding to this new garden, Christ will be constantly taking care of his new garden…you! He will water you with his water, Living Water. He will feed you with the Bread of Life, His word, and He will protect you in under the shelter of His wings.
Ephesians 3:16-19 ( ESV) That according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.