Good morning, family!
I was reminded this weekend about the time when my husband got me a yard for Mother's day. So, I thought I would share the story with you all.
We had two young children and at the time, I had envisioned having a trampoline, yard games, sandbox and playground for them to play. Well, Mother's day came around and my husband brought home a load of posts and a role of woven wire. I asked him what project he had in mind and he said, "Well, for Mother's day I got you a yard". I have to chuckle, because instead of getting pampered that day, I got put to work, pounding posts and running wire!
As a young mother, it was the most excellent gift as I was finally getting the "yard" I had been craving for my children to play in. So from that moment on, we worked diligently to make the lawn like carpet. We could not afford the roll-out turf, so we got out the rakes, bought a couple yards of topsoil, some grass seed, and a sprinkler...and went to work.
Of course, those of you who garden or work outside know, there are various obstacles in establishing a lawn. For example, fresh soil can easily be overtaken by weeds; the birds come out and gobble up the seeds freshly broadcasted (the blue birds were fat that year!); or large rocks get in the way. The best one can hope for is where seed falls on the soil, where a seedbed has been prepared and its roots can take hold.
In my yard, all of these scenarios took place, and I couldn't help to think that this sounded way too familiar! The Parable of the Sower in Matthew immediately came to mind, where Jesus "spoke many things to them in parables, saying: 'Behold, a sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds came and devoured them. Some fell on stony places, where they did not have much earth; and they immediately sprang up because they had no depth of earth. But when the sun was up they were scorched, and because they had no root they withered away. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up and choked them. But others fell on good ground and yielded a crop: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.'"
I love when the Word comes alive in my life and God opens my eyes to experience it first-hand. It turned out where the best seedbed had been prepared, the grass grew like I had dreamed. It was a nice, thick, lush carpet of green.
But the whole yard didn't turn out that way. As I worked on the patches of bare ground in the yard, I couldn't help but meditate on the story I just shared. What makes a good seedbed? What makes fertile soil? With these questions in mind, the following became apparent to me.
In order to get any crop to grow well, farmers and gardeners know that the soil must be tilled, or scarified. The definition of scarify is to make shallow incisions or to cut; to roughen or scratch the surface. These shallow incisions in the topsoil allow the seed to make good contact with the soil. After a little bit of watering, the seeds are then able to work their magic, suck nutrients out of the ground and finally produce a crop.
But, wait a minute. What's this got to do with the Parable? God's word is the seed in the parable and our hearts are the ground on which the seed falls. If our hearts are callous, bitter, cold or hardened- we don't give God's word much of a chance to take root. We can live life, knowing about God from a young age, but fall into the world, allowing the weeds (bad company, bad choices, bad influence) to crowd Him out. Hardened hearts sometimes need a little weeding; need a little surface scratching. Our hearts, just like our yards, need to be checked and tended along the way.
How do we work the seedbed of our hearts? Well, much of the seedbed preparation on my heart has been the result of some source of confrontation or painful experience.
And what about fertile soil? Well, fertile soil doesn't always happen the way we expect it to. Nature even knows that soils can be most fertile after a low to moderate intensity fire.
I would suggest that hearts are fertilized when we walk through turmoil and come out on the other side still blessing others. Additionally, as a family, when we walk with each other through hard times, we walk out of that circumstance with a greater faith.
The seedbed of my heart has been worked, scratched/scarified, then fertilized, by many things...
My heart has been scarified by watching my sister lose her son unexpectedly; and fertilized by seeing her continue to walk in God's grace by helping another family, not 3 months after her son's loss, walk through trying times with their son.
My heart has been scarified by watching my sister lose her husband; and fertilized by the outpouring of support of those that love their family.
My heart has been scarified by watching my sister fight for her life; and fertilized by watching her continue to be a rock for her family, seeing the legacy of her faith passed down to her children.
My heart has been scarified by watching my sister endure breast cancer twice; and fertilized as she swears, by God's grace, to pay it forward by helping others walk toward health and the knowledge of Christ.
My heart has been scarified by watching several of my sisters lose their fathers in a very short time; and fertilized as they each continue to live in their father's footsteps as strong, God-fearing, loving and devoted women to their sisters and families.
My heart was scarified by the experience of premature labor; but fertilized by God's grace to bless my life with a healthy God-fearing son.
My heart was scarified the day I was told that my daughter had a 10% chance of celebrating her 1st birthday; but fertilized every single day I had with my angel for 3.5 years.
Over the years, my heart has been scratched, scarified by countless experiences - some first-hand, some standing on the sidelines; but the seedbed of my heart was always greatly fertilized by God's grace to forgive me, His merciful blessings every time I turned back in surrender to Him, and seeing Him work these same things out in others.
No matter the circumstance; I believe if you trust in the work of Christ, and the Word of God, you will walk out of your experiences blessing others and growing in your own faith.
God wants for you to experience wholesome JOY. God wants you to know His promises for you! God will use every experience in your life to prepare the seedbed of your soul- the seedbed where His word takes root; the seedbed where harvest is abundant and is a blessing to others!
Brothers and sisters, I hope this story blesses you as you go into this week. I encourage you to do a little "tending" of your own heart. Where is it that you have grown a bit callous, bitter or hardened? Are there any weeds that have taken root that are separating you from experiencing the fullness of your relationship with God? Break out your rake, put your weeding gloves on. Reseed with the Word, take it to the Lord and let Him water it, fertilize it with fellowship, and watch good fruit take root.
How has your heart been prepped and fertilized? What was the fruit? Feel free to share your experiences in the comments below. God bless!