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Cultivate the Garden of Your Heart

I have a black thumb, and I have ended up killing every plant I've ever tried to own. I even accidently "watered" my cilantro plant with Dr Pepper one day. So the irony of the vision God gave me a while back was not lost on me. 

The garden was about 20 feet by 20 feet with a short blue picket fence around it. Chicken wire meticulously wove in and out of the pickets to prevent rabbits and other varmint from infiltrating the perimeter. Honeysuckles and ivy grew along the green wall of a small garden shed with bright white trim that sat on the northern border of the garden. Fragrant magnolias and lantanas grew along the pickets, while honeysuckles, violets, hibiscus, hydrangeas, daisies, tulips, chrysanthemums and other vibrant flowers filled out the spaces in between. 

Every day, I tended to my garden. A weed never had a chance to grow in my garden. When I built the garden, landscape fabric had been laid under fresh soil. I would tend the underbrush and look for weeds or insects that could harm the plants. It had been a lot of work to get my garden to the lush beauty it was, but I found it much easier to tend once I had done the backbreaking work of tilling, weeding and planting. 

Then one day, I saw the garden of the man who was to be my husband. His garden was just as beautiful as mine. Fragrant roses and calla lilies; orchids and carnations. From my vantage point, it looked like he had spent an inordinate amount of time tending his garden, just as I had. So we decided to join our gardens. 

Our two gardens became one big garden, and upon further inspection, I saw that his garden was indeed not a weedless, immaculate garden as I was led to believe. There were weeds in the undergrowth, holes in the fence, and insects infesting the soil, and some of the flowers weren't planted in the garden at all, but deceptively sitting on top of the soil unplanted.

"That's ok, we can get this whole garden in tip-top shape together," I thought. I had done it before with my own garden, so we could do it together for our one big garden. We were married, after all, so I fully expected us to tend our big garden together. Except he didn't. He stopped tending his part of the garden completely. He expected me to tend the entire thing while he played video games and hung out around the house. I wasn't capable of tending a garden that large on my own. 

Soon the weeds growing in his garden overtook my garden. The beautiful lantanas and tulips were soon choked out by the weeds. The rabbits and rats gnawed into the fence and wreaked havoc on the flowers. The beautiful garden I had painstakingly cultivated now sat in ruins. And there was little I could do to fix it on my own. 

After goading him to help me, my husband was put out that I didn't tend the garden to his standards, even though it was a two-person job. He had seen how beautifully cultivated my garden was, and he wanted his garden to be that immaculate--he just didn't want to do any of the work himself. So he left. He took his garden and moved on. 

He left me devastated. My beautiful garden ripped to pieces. How could this happen? How did I allow this to happen to me? After all the work I had put in to my garden, it was wilted and rotten. Proverbs 4:23 came to mind, "Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it." God showed me that my heart is that garden. I can cultivate it, I can water and feed it, I can tend it every day--but if I don't guard it and keep out those who may wish to do me harm, it will come to ruin. I should have been more discriminating. I should have asked more questions. I should have examined his garden more closely. I should have inspected the soil, the roots, the plants. 

So I set about the arduous task of fixing my garden. But this time, I knew exactly what to do to repair it because I had done it before. Not that it made it easier to till the soil and replant the flowers, but I knew what the end result would be, and I now know how to guard my garden. 


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