The Garden of my Soul


Yesterday, on our drive home from school, the kids and I noticed a farmer burning one of his fields. The flames licked their way across, then climbed steadily up the hill to the road, where we sat in the car, and watched.

“Why do they do that, Mommy?” one of the children asked.

“It helps clear away all the dead,” I explained, “to make way for new growth.”

The field was undergoing a literal baptism by fire – a cleansing, a renewal.

Sometimes, I wish I could do that… expose my soul to an intense, scorching heat that would, in one swift breeze of a moment, melt away all my rough edges, my imperfections, my faults, fears, inconsistencies, once and for all.

Oh, to stand spotless, unhindered by the the moments when I shouldn’t have yelled, but did, shouldn’t have judged, shouldn’t have criticized, assumed, blamed, and did. Would that I could stand, right now, in a lush field of green, a promise written in the sky overhead that I will always be a perfect mother, a perfect wife, a perfect friend.


I am human. I am flawed. A garden thick with weeds and dead growth too strong for a single flame, too complex for one sweeping moment of perfecting renewal. No, I require more precise work. So I do work, daily, consistently. I attack one thorny patch of imperfection at a time, working until my hands and heart are raw. And then, asking the Lord, the Master Gardener, to come and consecrate my efforts, I watch as He fills the spot with goodness, grace, and beauty, making me much more than I could ever be on my own.

Renewed, and uplifted, I turn to the next corner of my garden heart that needs attention, and rolling up my sleeves, I dig in. Sometimes, it’s very overwhelming work. Sometimes, I don’t know where to start. Sometimes, I finish pulling weeds in one corner, just to turn around and realize they’ve grown rampant everywhere else. Sometimes, I work to nurture one particular spot over and over again and yet still fail to get anything lovely to bloom.

But I always see Him, the Master Gardener, ready and waiting to take the shovel from my hands, clean the dirt from my fingernails, and finish what I can’t do on my own. It is in these moments that He reminds me that He never said I had to be perfect. He died because He knew I couldn’t be. “You’re enough,” He says gently. “Just the way you are, you’re enough.”

And I am enough – a complex tangle of weeds and blooms, beautiful stretches of lush green, and darkened patches of dead growth all wrapped into one imperfect person.

Because of Him, I am enough. And so are you.


14 thoughts on “The Garden of my Soul

  1. Stacy says:

    This is fantastic. Just what I needed to read this morning. I am in a period of refining right now. Sometimes I wonder if I'm going to make it through or if I'm going to end up scorched and lifeless when all is said and done. Thanks for these images- I'm going to have to do more thinking about them.

  2. M-Cat says:

    Love this post – thank you!Seems like life is a daily refining fire sometimes, and while the heat can be overwhelming at times, the end result is always worth it.

  3. DeNae says:

    One of the most powerful sights in the Northwest is the debris field surrounding Mt. St. Helens in Washington state. That blast was incomprehensible in its destruction; to this day thousands of trees lie side by side, pointing the direction of the explosion. It's overwhelming.But look a little closer, and you see 25 years of recovery and regrowth. It isn't like the farmer's field, where all the old is purged clean. But in many ways it speaks to me and my imperfections. It tells me that I don't need a pristine field in which to plant a more righteous life. I can grow and find beauty while surrounded by the evidence of heartache and transgression that is the lot of every human being.

  4. S says:

    Love it! Totally relateable. If only we could be perfect NOW!:)Thanks for the comment on my blog… I'm a new public blogger, so any attention I get is exciting:) And I TOTALLY understood your Sunday morning post!P.S.-I moved my blog… if you visit again, but it should hook up with my name.

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