• Lori

Garden Therapy

I just finished a counseling session. It lasted about an hour, and by the end I didn’t want it to be finished, but boy did it ever make me sweat. I didn’t cry but I definitely got to the root of things. Sometimes I do cry. Tears or not, after every session like this I have a lot more insight than I did before.

I don’t have to travel far. These sessions happen in my garden. After coffee in the morning, when it’s just starting to get summer-warm, I know I’d better get out there quick. I’m going to feel it for the rest of the day… It’s hard work. I know this because I did three hour-long sessions last week a few times and couldn’t move very well afterwards, so I’m taking it a little easier now. Too much at once is not a good thing.

What is a good thing is acting out what you know needs to be done deep inside. See, I have weeds in my heart. Not just a few. I’ve got issues. Habits. Tendencies sprouting from seeds left in the ground years ago.

Deep mulch keeps sunlight from getting to the soil so lots less weeds take root. Keeps things moist under there too! Best of all, it lets the ground rest and grow secret biomes of goodness that nourish the plants you do want. Tilling and bare ground are things of the past for me!

Half of my garden is clear as you can see in this photo…and so is my heart. But that is not after a little bit of work! Just like my painstaking weeding sessions last week, there’ve been uprooting sessions with my heart in the past, and I’ve learned a few things about keeping clean what I fought so hard to clear. Thank goodness that last year I chose to begin covering my heart with hay, because now I can see the weeds right away. I can lift the covering and pull them up really easily when I put my mind to it. These sections of my heart aren’t such a huge issue anymore.

Man alive, that's a lot of weeds to pull by hand! But you know what? I'm gonna do it. As an act of therapy I'm going in and doing a symbolic act, taking active part in the shepherding of my own heart. And guess what else? Little by little it'll get done...and I'll know my garden inch by inch.

The other side of my heart, my garden, is a hot darn mess. Wow, can a little rain go along way to encourage and unintended situation to get really unruly! If I don’t take serious action right now, the weeds will take over. I’ve seen this before. There have been years in the past where I just had to go in with the mower. There was no fruit, no more flowers for me. Just depression, defeat and survival mode. Yuck and no thanks.

Thanks goodness that God’s mercy is new every morning… Or every year as the case may be. A good fire burns away everything in my garden in the fall when necessary, but that’s another story for another time.

That old wheelbarrow is gonna be busy for a while. When it's full, the hour's up. Counseling is over and I have to make myself stop!

So things won’t get to that undesirable point, I’ve decided that this year I’ll just put in my headphones, soak in some instrumental piano music, start pulling back the hay and allow the Lord talk to me. His thoughts are higher than mine, His perspective is better than mine. He sees what is possible and what is throwing shade and sucking up the nutrients instead right now in my life. As I pull those physical weeds, I make conscious decisions to pull out those things He shows to me too. I agree in those moments because it’s impossible to disagree; It’s just plain obvious that he what he says is right. Meanwhile I’m learning obedience. If he says to drop it, I’m pulling it up on my life, Wisdom demands this maintenance; those things I selfishly want are in the way of what He has for me. He wants to plant new, beautiful things in my heart and mind and life and times...and worthless weeds are not part of the program. Out they go.

I really, really want to have a beautiful garden. I want my life to be a reflection of His glory, His imagination, His design, and I want to produce a lot of really good fruit that will nourish other people. I don’t want my own selfish desires and untended ways to ruin what would’ve been awesome.

This is why I’m going into my garden for counseling every day. I want to know His thoughts instead of going through life unaware; I don’t want to wait until it’s too late and only a fire can fix things! Gosh, sometimes there are trees trying to grow in my garden. Trees! Good Lord, please open my eyes to see those quickly, and if I’ve missed them for too long, bring me an ax.

Having a clear garden, having peace and knowing all is well, helps me get my mind off of myself and my problems onto other people. And isn’t that what we’re actually here to do?

As I listen to the Lord in the garden, He helps me pray. He helps me see their issues too, not so I can get in their business about things, but to pray that the issues will become revealed to them…that they will also have rich moments of understanding with Him and deep connection so they can do what is right and learn obedience in their lives too. I see possibilities in them like He sees… And it is so exciting! Sometimes I hear new words bubbling up from my spirit to the tune of the instrumental music and I sing those over them, declaring those better things over their lives. Because these words are streaming out of my spirit while I’m filled with His Spirit, I know those words aren’t just mine, but His too…and that as I release them from my mouth, they’re going out into this realm and enabling new outcomes. His Word always accomplishes what it was sent out to do. Unseen help goes to work in situations when He speaks through His children. Wow! Do you know this is what we humans were created to do, alongside and in unity with God?!? He allows us to co-create with Him, like Father plus daughters and sons!

There is nothing like hanging out with God and letting Him show you how it’s done, in His love and awesome power. There is such hope in His presence.

I highly advise practicing just being in His presence like this. Even if you don’t have a garden, invite Him into whatever task you have to do: cleaning the bathroom, preparing dinner, fixing your car, driving to work. It doesn’t matter what the task is, He wants to accompany you in it. Any big huge old problem (or even a new exciting endeavor) that looks daunting and impossible IS possible with God! Just take it hour by hour and seriously apply intention with the Lord to it. He will not disappoint you. You will be surprised as he speaks and shows you things you did not know. Whatever it is, it will be easier with His counsel. If you follow his direction, your life will get better.

Best of all, you will know God personally. Trust me—He is there and He is a person! He talks. You’ll be shocked how smart He is. And you will fall in love.

So what's the state of your garden, your heart, your life? Been in there to look around lately? What do you want it to look like? Name the first step toward getting into a session with God, and then do it. You won't regret it! Abundant life begins in a garden with the Master Gardener!

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