What Do You Need to Dig Up?

Jen’s Gem:  There’s beauty for ashes with God.

This week, I finally set aside time to prepare my garden for planting. What a feat this was! Gardening has so many therapeutic properties and of course, this experience was no different. Many lessons learned – more than can fit into a blog post but I’ll do my best!

My good friend who also tends a garden in this public space, had already ‘spied out the land’ and shared its condition. When I viewed it for myself I had mixed emotions.

First reaction? “This is too much work! Why do I have to do it all by myself? Where’s my (non-existent) husband, son, whoever so they can help me?” I spent a few minutes at the pity party and then I said “Jennifer, put on your big girl pants and just start!”

Three bags of leaves later and I could see the dirt. Progress! Next, straighten the makeshift border. Then – the real work began – turning the soil.

I began with my trusty trowel, making little progress. I was only touching the surface. If I wanted to do it right, I had to dig deeper. I ventured into the shed and snagged a large pitchfork. Each thrust into the ground tested every muscle group I have.

As I made my way through the garden, huge clumps of compacted dirt came up; some filled with worms. Yikes! However, I did not scream like a girl upon seeing them. Nor did I fling them into the next galaxy. I just ignored them. My gardening friends would be so proud! Progress!

I began to crush the clumps by hand. Some were like rocks, requiring every ligament of my fingers to break apart. Others disintegrated almost on their own. I pondered this process…

All of us have “clumps” of pain, suffering, hardship from our pasts that need to be brought forward, examined, and then crushed so that we can be prepared for our next season. The Bible tells us repeatedly not to park in our past but rather keep our eyes on Jesus and upwards to heaven. (Psalm 121)

Secondly, we all have our share of “worms.” Unhealthy relationships, jam packed

 calendars, even bad habits that we must examine and then take action. We are not to “knee jerk” our way through these but rather use God’s wisdom on the right steps to take. (James 1:5-8 NKJV)

Lastly, even though there may be painful times in our past, there are also blessings. As I was digging and de-clumping, periodically, I’d find a glass bead – shining brightly. While I was grieving my past hurts, these gems reminded me that God’s grace, mercy, love, and faithfulness were always there. Whether or not I knew it, He was always there.

My garden preparation is completed. Seeds have been planted and I look forward to enjoying another bountiful harvest. It was painful – physically, mentally, and emotionally – yet, I persevered. This is what God wants us to do as well.

Don’t give up.

Life is painful. It’s challenging. (John 16:33 NKJV) We want it to be comfy cozy – smooth sailing and at times it is. Yet expecting it to be rainbows and butterflies 24/7/365 is a recipe for disappointment.

The below Scripture came up several times for me recently and was so applicable this week:

“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30 NKJV)

The day following the Great Garden Cleanup, I received confirmations and blessings on my next season and a renewed excitement about what God has called me to be. I’m looking forward to all He will do and even though there may be clumps of dirt along the way, He is with me always. He will never leave me nor forsake me. (Isaiah 41:10 NKJV)

I want to encourage you not to be afraid to face the past hurts and disappointments. There’s a gem or two buried in the mess – all you have to do is be willing to dig them up.

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Jennifer Covello, Copyright 2023