5 | verse of the week.


i have this really amazing devotion book, Jesus Calling, that i read daily. it's quite a unique devotional, and yesterday's writings were not any less inspirational or wonderful. one particular line says, 
"i have planted Peace in the garden of your heart, where i live; but there are weeds growing there too: pride, worry, selfishness, unbelief. i am the Gardener, and i am working to rid your heart of those weeds."

i stopped right where i was and re-read the passage over and over again. God as my Gardener? this is something we've seen before, but the writing was so intimate that i could almost feel God right there, pruning away at the troubles in my own heart. 

and then i just imagined, when i was younger, the way my mother would care for her garden in our backyard. no matter the heat or stress, no matter the number of weeds, she never gave up. she never let the weeds overtake it, she watered it daily--it's a wonderful feeling to picture God doing the same with us. that's when i ran across 
James 1:21
"In simple humility, let our gardener God, landscape you with the Word, making a salvation-garden of your life."

He is our gardener; He cultivates His spirit and love within us, even when it doesn't feel like it. even through the rain or drought, the cracks in the clay of our souls and the weeds that sprout up in overwhelming numbers--God continues to plant and seed and soothe, with tenderness and care. 

these are not contained gardens, not confined. they are set free by His love. our hearts are like forests of trees and fields of wildflowers; beautiful, abundant, messy, wild, but complete in Him. our hearts--our gardens--should be overflowing in His beauty and spirit, in grace and goodness. i think of all the times i fail to do this; i close up my leaves, build fences, sit in the dirt, denying the water and light God so lovingly gives me. 

i want my garden to be a thing of beauty, something to be sought after. i want it to reflect God--and that doesn't mean it will be perfect. my heart will never be free from turmoil or sadness in this life, from stress or struggle. my pride will get in the way, my worry will stop me up sometimes. but we need to allow ourselves to be vulnerable. when the plants are nearly dried up, they turn their faces toward the rain, wishing to soak up what they seek. i want to be the same way. i don't want to turn away, to continue to portray a negative image; i want to reach out for help, show my precious and vulnerable heart. its flaws and all. 

i don't need to hide who i am. my heart is the truest reflection of me, something to be proud of, something rooted in God. the weeds that sprout up are opportunities for other growth, for trust and perseverance. God will always be there, to battle the weeds, to lift our wilting leaves and embrace us in tender love--to breathe and smile and watch us grow, maybe a little lopsided, but beautiful in His image all the while. 

how does this verse touch you today? happy wednesday, dears!

what verse is speaking to you this week? feel free to copy this button onto your blog and join in! don't forget to provide a link back to mine! (someday i'll figure out the link-up thing...)