Last year our church family decided to rent a plot of land at one of the parks and plant a garden. A week into the process our point man got a full time job and I sort of inherited the garden. I really didn’t have any idea what I was doing but I figured that my father was Amish so there must be in me somewhere the intrinsic ability to make stuff grow.
I fell in love. The seeds, the soil- the impossibility of it! Oh, I gleaned so much understanding of God’s nature from that silly plot of dirt. But I became particularly consumed with the potatoes. Perhaps it’s that those were the first thing I planted. Or perhaps it was because I just watched a documentary on a powerful evangelical South African potato farmer. Whatever, the case I lovingly doted on those potatoes. I composted, mulched, aerated and, when hand picking Japanese Beetles didn’t work, I powdered… and powdered… and powdered. And then on fateful week I went to stay with my sister.
I returned to potato stalks. Such small things- beetles. But how many they are and how consistently they gnaw. They devoured the sweet life-absorbing leaves until at last the plant withered. Months of hard work undone and harvest cut short. I had not remained vigilant.
There have been some little things devouring in my life lately. Gnawing voices of worry, guilt, and subsequent anger. Voices that do not believe the best, about myself and others. Oh, they gnaw, gnaw, gnaw until my withered stalk of a soul crumbles. Trying desperately to cut short the harvest that is promised the Master.
There must be a violence to peace. A holy crushing to our faith- it is not sufficient to simply sow and tend. We must guard against the little things that come to devour. That watchful spirit that examines and crushes all that comes to steal, kill and destroy. For me I usually attempt this first through achieving an outward sense of order in my life. But it’s not the laundry that is eating my soul. It’s not that my children still complain about vegetables. These things are never the issue. It is always my heart. The little seeds of doubt, division and accusations. Just as in that first garden “Did God really say?..”
I have questioned whether we really “heard the LORD” about some of the things we’ve undertook in the last few months. I did not guard my heart when the voice came and said “you will make a fool of yourself and your God”… No, I left that beetle un-squashed. And it began to breed likeness. Soon, every inadequacy has become reason why I am unfit for the holy merits of motherhood; why I’m less than desirable as a wife; why I really should have never started blogging any of this at all. In fact there is a never ending stream of “valid” accusations as to why I’m really unfit for any service in the way of Christ and why I should certainly turn back in all such endeavors. After all; it really was presumptuous to believe I was created to do them in the first place.
Why do I feel justified in entertaining thoughts that don’t bring life! Did He not tell me to take each one captive? Shall I exalt again, this place of weakness, when in omnipotence He rendered it irrelevant? Has he not come that I might have life and have it in abundance? Oh, why do I coddle guilt and worry as if they are my friend? You eat my leaves and mock the mercies of the One who made me. No more. Covered again I am in the most permeating of graces. Justice rendering me worthy of what I am unworthy of. I will not relent to you this life I’ve been given. Nor succumb to fruitless labors. Little bugs, these leaves are no longer yours to devour.