The garden beside my drive started as a way to conceal two posts strategically placed in front of an electric pole. Years ago, as a birthday present, my husband and little girls attached a piece of trellis between the posts so I could plant honeysuckle.
The coral honeysuckle now hides the posts and attempts a garden takeover every year. Apple mint runs rampant and the wild roses my daughter and I rescued from a field have shown their gratitude with riotous displays of vines and clusters of flowers. Ivy weaves a carpet of greenery around the black-eyed susans, lemon balm, daffodils and irises. Yarrow, wild strawberries and violets gather around the butterfly bush. Surprise lilies, herbs and pear tree saplings from my Kentucky home-place rise among blades of wayward grass, unknown vines and decorative weeds.
For years, I tried to control it all. Mulch, stepping stones and hours of weeding contained the vibrant life which thrived in that corner of the world. Now, especially this year, the garden grows in unrestrained profusion.
“I need to tidy up that garden,” I said to the girls one day as we pulled into our drive.
“Oh, Mom, no,” Morgan said. “Sometimes when gardens are too neat, they seem fake. I like it the way it is.”
Olivia quickly concurred. The garden was appreciated because it looked real.
Early the next morning, I stopped to admire that tangled profusion. Beautiful, but messy. Some parts I liked, some, I didn’t. The weeds didn’t belong. Dead leaves from the daffodils needed to be cleared away. The vines with thorns were unwelcome but stubbornly rooted. Much like life, I decided. Much like me.
If we try to cover up the realities, we risk losing authenticity. If we own the parts that are less than perfect, others see us as real, and there is beauty in that.
Life is hard. Life is messy. Relationships can create a tangle of emotions and reactions. “Weeds” in our character and the character of others can choke out some of the good things. Life is rampant with tragedy, sadness, challenges and tears.
But there is loveliness, too. The joys of family, friendship and laughter weave around us. Moments of overcoming and lessons learned in the face of failure add purpose. There is birth, re-birth, growing up and milestones reached.
There is God.
He is not just the Creator who views the garden of your life from afar. He sees the detail and knows the wayward thoughts, the impact of each thorn and every specific need.
He sees the real you. He created you, loves you, died for you. No matter how hard you try to control your life and tidy up your world, without Him; it’s empty work. The satisfaction you try to manufacture won’t last, because only God can meet the real need you have.
That need is for a Savior.
Once you’ve accepted Jesus, Son of God, as the One who paid for your sin, does life become neatly ordered and weed free?
No, it’s still messy. But, as you grow in knowledge of your Creator, He helps your perspective to change. Things that were once important, become less so. Weeds become things you see for what they are and want Him to remove. Trials are revealed as builders of character and opportunities to grow closer to the One who loves you for WHO YOU ARE, immersed in the life of His Son.
God is the only way to find real beauty in the tangled profusion that is life.
The path starts by asking Jesus to forgive you for your sins and by believing that He died for you.
John 3:16-17 (NIV)
“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him. “