It’s Worth the Effort to Pull the Weeds

CT.2-6
Photo and artwork belong to ComparisonTrap.org

This is the continuation of an earlier post about a Bible study in which I’m facilitating and participating.


We demolish arguments and every pretension
that sets itself up against the knowledge of God,
and we take captive every thought
to make it obedient to Christ.
~ 2 Corinthians 10:5

The Comparison Trap:  Week Two, Day Six… Some of my reminders and my takeaways from the daily devotional include:

Sandra recaps the time when she first started a garden. It produced a great harvest, but she warns that “weeding was a constant part of the process.”

She reminds us that keeping our minds renewed is similar.

It is.

I’ve found great contentment in gardening over the years. When I did a search of my site for weeds, a few posts came up. One of my favorites, and the one I was looking for, was about learning to find patience through freshly picked greens. It reminded me of the Gardener. …the One who cares for us, lights our way, illuminates the path, is our living water, and is our source of growth.

We can plant great seeds into our heads and our hearts. We can produce a joy-filled outlook and make an impact on those around us. But if we’re serious about our walk with God, we will need to look closely for the weeds which have the potential to overtake and choke out His plans for our lives. The Gardener didn’t intend for these to be in the garden.

Sandra wrote in the book and excerpted in the photo above:

“When comparison, jealousy, and insecurity lodge thoughts in our minds, we can capture those thoughts.”

We can.

Sometimes we struggle, but we can.

These thoughts tie right into the Scripture for today because they are against the knowledge of God. We don’t have an oblivious God. We have the One who is all-knowing. These thoughts—comparison, jealousy, and insecurity—go against the very thing God has revealed as His truth, His will and His superior plan. They go against His intentions.

With Him, we can have confidence that we are capable of taking captive those thoughts and turning them around to make them obedient to Christ. Sandra’s encouragement closes out the day saying,

We can identify them as lies and replace them with scriptural truth. Just like gardening, the harvest of a healthy mind and heart will be worth all the effort.”

Amen.
Pull those weeds.
It WILL be worth all the effort.

 


 

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Finding Hope in the Weeds

The tomatoes in the garden are coming in. We’ve had a steady supply of these fresh, juicy fruits to eat in our household.

Although our snacking and salad harvest has been good, overall, it was not a good year for tomatoes in this part of the country. Much of the country suffers from summertime droughts, but that was not the case here. It was a cool and wet summer — not what tomato gardeners like. While we’ll still have plenty of tomatoes to eat, the harvest won’t be bountiful enough to freeze and can enough tomato soup, juice, fruit and sauces to get us through the winter.

In mid summer, I found a surprise in my tomato garden. After nearly two weeks of cool, wet weather, I spent a few hours weeding. Weeds love the wet weather, and my garden was full of them! In any case, my surprise was five tomato plants that I hadn’t planted. Fruit that had dropped last year, was tilled into the garden at the end of the season, survived a long winter of snow, made it through the soil being turned numerous times in the early spring, and had missed the May planting, was just starting to spring forth here in July.

I debated on whether or not to pull the plants with the other weeds. I knew it would be tough for them to bear fruit before the fall cold snap since they were so far behind, but I couldn’t bear to pull them out since they had, obviously, worked so hard on their own to survive.

I decided to give them a fighting chance.

Those five tomato plants have done pretty well. The fruit on their vines hasn’t ripened yet (it’s getting late), but there is fruit there waiting and hoping for a late-August heat wave to liven them up. I don’t know if it’ll happen (it might during the day, but it’s our nights that are too cool), but I still can’t bear to give up on them.

How many of us are like that? How many of us have been caught among the weeds with our possibilities going unnoticed? How many of us have survived through a dark season, been tossed and turned about, not been nurtured and cared for, yet we’re still able to bear fruit…good fruit? How many of us bear that fruit hoping that “they” won’t give up on us? How many of us just want a chance?

I know I do.

I’ve gone through seasons — just like you — I’d rather not talk about or share with others…seasons of ugliness I’d rather not remember.

But I’m still here. I’ve fought the weeds around me, and I’m still here.

Those five little tomato plants are still out there in my garden, too, trying to bear ripe fruit.

I’m thankful to those who have given me hope to hold on to along the way; those who have noticed that I’ve got something to offer despite the issues, flaws and imperfections; those who have helped me turn the problems and challenges into possibilities.

I’m going to give those five plants some more time. If their fruit doesn’t get around to ripening, there is always the fried-green-tomato option, right?

The challenges can always be possibilities.

Monday’s Musings — Understanding the Green Thumb

Green Thumb

Harvesting veggies from the garden is so much more fun than planting, weeding, watering and waiting for them to grow. There are rewards at each stage, but harvesting is the ultimate reward.

Without looking into the folklore, I now KNOW from where the idea of having a green thumb comes.

It comes from harvesting veggies.

When I harvested my peas, my left thumbnail turned green from popping open the pods and scraping them into a bowl.

When I harvested my Chinese pea pods, my left thumbnail turned green from snapping off the top and destringing them.

When I harvested my green beans, my left thumbnail turned green from pinching them off the vine and then using my nail to break away the top.

When harvesting my cucumbers, my left thumbnail turns green from piercing the vine before pulling the cuke from it.

When harvesting my cherry tomatoes, my left thumbnail turns green from snipping the fruits from the vine WITH my nail.

When harvesting my apples, my left thumbnail turns green from pushing the waste through the apple corer.

Harvesting has been going on for a few weeks, therefore, I’ve had a green thumbnail for a while.

The only thing that might completely remove the green hue from my thumbnail would be a manicure. However, other than an occasional buff and file, I’m not really a manicure kind-of-gal, and I still have some harvesting left to do.

I’m pretty sure that the folklore surrounding having a green thumb DOES involve the ability to grow plants well. So, hey! I will consider my green thumb an accomplishment and as a sign of the successful harvest!

Reaping a Harvest

Peas

The peas are finished.  An abundant bounty was provided and reaped.

I spent a lot of time preparing the soil, selecting my seeds, planting with care, pruning seedlings, pulling weeds and praying over what I hoped would grow. My wish was to provide healthy, organic veggies to my family and feed my interest in gardening.

At the first picking, I was like a child who had gotten into a jumbo bag of chocolate candies. Really! That’s how excited I was to get out there and pluck the pods from the vines! I was so pleased with how the peas had grown. As I was picking, I’d pop open some of the pods and taste the freshness contained within. Some of the peas were nestled in their pod in a perfect row; others were odd-shaped or off-kilter when cracked open. Some should have stayed on the vine a little longer (my yearning to pluck them got the best of me), but their sweetness was still divine.

There were a few more pickings that followed, but the bounty was less each time. My excitement seemed to lessen with each subsequent picking.

The time came to decide if I thought I’d get any more peas. There were a few flowers and even fewer flower buds, so I left the vines in place with the hopes of getting one more small crop. I did, but it was only enough for one family dinner.

Once I knew the supply was exhausted for the season, it was time to pull the vines. Have you ever grown peas before? There are an abundance of vines. Each dried pea planted is a vine grown. The vines are leafy and full. Pulling the vines led to the discovery of a tiny weed and bug menagerie living at the soil level.

With each handful of vines I pulled, I’d say a little prayer of thanksgiving for the abundance provided. (When I’m in the garden, I talk to myself, and I talk to the Lord a lot.) Cleaning out the vines, weeding the new space, turning over the soil and preparing it for the next planting was not as fun and exciting as it was when I did it for the first planting, but it was rewarding since I knew the bounty would grow with some care and nurturing.

Gardening doesn’t always turn out successfully with a single crop or even within a single season, but, overall, an educated gardener should be able to expect a satisfying crop over the span of seasons.

Life doesn’t always turn out exactly how we’d like it to in a day, a month or a year, but an invested believer can trust in that which is promised.

Monday’s Musings, A New Week & Soapy Fingernails

Fingernails Soapy - Copy

Welcome to a new week! Thanks for venturing into it with me!

Last weekend, I wrote about paddleboarding — you can read that here:  http://wp.me/p1oeLN-2I. I know the subject didn’t quite fit into the rest of the writings I’ve shared, but I was (and still am) looking for a way to throw in some tidbits outside of faith-based hope writings of the week. So…welcome to a new week!

Monday’s Musings? Wonderings from the Weekend? I need a title. Any suggestions?

My plan — my hope — is to start the week by offering up a lighter post that goes along with something I experienced, did, thought about, etc., at some point during the previous week or weekend. I don’t know it it’ll work out, but I’m going to try to get my hands dirty at trying it.

Speaking of getting my hands dirty…

The rains have been abundant in this part of the country, which has led to my garden being just a tad neglected. I’ve been behind in my weeding. With a break in the weather this past week, I decided to head out to the garden and take on the task of weeding.

I wear gardening gloves for planting and digging, but I feel like they hinder my ability to pull weeds, so I often don’t use them for this task. This presents a dilemma when it’s time to clean up.

Dirt under the fingernails.

So this week, I tried a little experiment. I got an old bar of soap, and I scratched my fingernails into it before venturing out to the garden. This bar of soap will stay with my gardening tools, as it’s not very pretty anymore.

For the most part, it worked. When I was finished, I used a nailbrush on my dirty fingernails, and the soap that had been under my nails made clean up easier.

The neglected garden gave me a lot more to think about. Friday’s post was a start — you can read that one here:  http://wp.me/p1oeLN-3W  — and you’ll probably see some more of those thoughts in the coming days.

Make it a point to find hope around you this week. It IS there! Enjoy your week!