Oh, that stinky stuff!!!

IMG_6078What a beautiful sight!  That, my friends, is my garden; and those lovely dark clumps are manure!!! It sure doesn’t smell very nice, but I’m ready to see more fruit from my labors this year!

Like any task, there is a cost involved.  Now I didn’t pay anything for my beautiful manure, but it did cost time and effort on the part of a dear family in our church who were gracious enough to bring the stuff.  AND, it cost time and labor on my dear son and husband’s part to spread it around.  Taking the tiller to it will be the fun part!

By the way, for those of you who remember Tilly – she’s in the shop, but they say she’s worth fixin’!  It will cost more than we really wanted to pay, but it’s a lot less expensive than a new tiller!

Preparing the ground: it takes time, effort, and expense.  Is it worth it?  I think so.  We certainly do not grow all our vegetables in this little plot of ground, but it sure tastes great when it’s fresh from the garden!  Isn’t that just like our wonderful Lord?  He takes the stinky manure mixed in with dirt and changes those tiny little seeds into wonderful vegetables!

And isn’t it even more amazing that He can take us – human clay, no matter how “stinked up” we are with sin, and He plants the seed of His Word into the willing heart and brings forth the fruits of salvation AND santification!  Don’t you just want to bring as much fruit into your life for Him as you can?

 “And other fell on good ground, and did yield fruit that sprang up and increased; and brought forth, some thirty, and some sixty, and some an hundred.” Mark 4:8

Tily Tries My Patience

So, today I decide to till the garden instead of exercising.  Running Tilly is definitely exercise!  She must not have slept well, because she is sputtering all over the place!  She’s lost her spunk!  I baby her along, hoping that she’ll kick into high gear – no chance!  I think she’s upset because I was checking out tillers on the web!  Who would pay over $700 for tiller?  I can buy a lot of vegetables for that amount, even from the farmer’s market!  It’s supposed to rain today and the Ladies’ Missionary Group is coming in an hour and a half, but Tilly has more lessons for me.

  1. Maybe it’s time for her to retire.  Dear older-worker-bee, do you need to step down and let the younger ones take over?  Sometimes we complain that they are not doing the work, but maybe it’s because we don’t trust them to do the job.
  2. Dear younger-worker-be- possibility, do you need to step up to the plate?  You may say, “But what can I do?”  Can you scrub a toilet?  My husband and I joke about the fact that that is where we started serving the Lord – it’s true!  You would probably be surprised at what you could do.  I’ve never met a pastor yet that refused help!  J
  3. Both sides of the fence require a lot of grace!

I think Tilly knows that I was just thinking about checking out Craig’s List – that’s when her belt fell off. My father was a farmer and a machinist – he could fix anything!  So, in the spirit of my heritage, I took a closer look.  Hm, there was a part of the machinery that was hanging at an odd angle, and at a closer look, I saw that a nut was missing!  How would I ever find a nut in a newly tilled garden?  I couldn’t, so I went to the garage.  Now, growing up on a farm, I appreciated my father’s work bench that had every size nut, bolt, nail, and screw that you could imagine!  But, alas, no nut here of the right size.  I prayed as I headed out to the garden.  “Lord, I need a miracle.  You know where that nut is.  I will NEVER find it without your help, and with out the nut (I mean the one belonging to the bolt!), Tilly is done for the day!”  What a gracious God we serve!  After another look around the garden, and when I was ready to call it quits – there was the bolt!  Jehovah-gireh!!

  1. How much do you trust God?  How hard are you leaning on the Everlasting Arms?  We often want to lean and ask only for the select items on our list: the ones that we understand.  Can you ask for His help in the areas you don’t understand; and are you ready to accept the answer He gives?

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.  For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.”  Isaiah 55: 8,9

  1. PATIENCE!  This is the hardest lesson we (or maybe just I) will ever face!  I was ready to junk the whole thing.  Forget gardening!  Shove Tilly over a cliff and call it a day. God’s ways are SO much higher than ours; but as Paul Harvey used to say, “Now for the rest of the story…”  Maybe tomorrow!

Ode to Tilly

Dear Tilly is my rototiller.  She’s not actually mine – I’m just ‘borrowing’ her from my mom!  I remember Dad faithfully using Tilly every year for Mom.  (He didn’t know her name though! 🙂 )  I guess it’s the farm girl in me, but I love to put on my dungarees (I just love that word!  It sounds so much more “farmy” than jeans 🙂 ) and head for the garden to till it up.  Now Tilly is old and tired, but she starts right up purring like a kitten.  She does have a little cough every now and then, but that doesn’t stop her!  She’s not as strong as she used to be: she’s had a rough life.  I don’t know how many years my folks used her, and I’m not even sure if they bought her new.  Then she sat in the shed for about eleven years.  The wasps got at her and there was water in the engine.  She was a mess; so, we took her to a dear older man in our church, and he got her chugging again!  There are so many lessons to learn while gardening.  Tilly taught me a few today:

  1. She’s old and ready for that big junkyard in the sky, but I still have some work for her to do.  I feel that way sometimes.  I understand Paul’s statement more every day: ”For me to live is Christ, to die is GAIN!” I may be old and achy, but God still has a few things for me to do – you too (even if you’re not old and achy!)
  2. When I hit a stone, Tilly just jumps all over like a bucking bronco!  How do I react when God puts me in a tough spot?  We’re in a battle, dear friend.  Life as a Christian is NOT easy.  There are lots of rocks that can really jolt us, but God will pick out the rocks.  Our job is to stay the course!
  3. I let go of Tilly for a moment to check my watch.  Do you know what she did?  She went her own way – the easy way: down hill and through the already tilled spot!  Isn’t that just like us?  We want the easy road, and oh, how lost we would be if God let us go our own way!!

Half the garden is tilled, but that’s the easy part.  I’ve just finished raking all the big stones and weeds that have the nerve to already be sprouting.  From my kitchen window, it looks pretty good.  To the casual passerby, it looks ready to plant; however, I know better.  I will need to go over it again.  Why?  Because there are lots of roots yet to be dug out, and I need to go deeper into the soil.

 Are you looking good on the outside but a little weedy on the inside?  God knows and sees all the weeds that need to be tended to, and YOU are the only one who can dig them out.  God might come at you with a tiller: a dear Christian friend or pastor or radio speaker who uses the Word to dig at that nasty weed’s roots, but YOU need to pull them out.  The Bible only mentions one root:

“Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God;

lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you,

and thereby many be defiled;” (Heb 12:15)

  What a nasty root – its parallel for the gardener is the dandelion.  If you’ve ever tried to pull one out of the ground, you know that they have a tap root – a LONG STRONG root.  You will need a tool to dig it out, and if you don’t get the whole root: Surprise! – another dandelion will appear.  Notice that the root of bitterness not only troubles you, but MANY are defiled!  It’s like acid rain that poisons everything in its path.  You will need the Word of God to root that one out!  Memorize a verse like Psalm 51:10, “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.”

Then we need to dig deep into God’s Word.  I’m honored that you have taken the time to read this, but be sure that you are taking time for yourself in God’s Word – just you and God!  Go deeper: look up cross references; use a commentary; look up words you don’t understand; get a pen and notebook and write down your thoughts.

 “Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips; I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food.”    Job 23:12  Wow! What a verse, but that one needs a whole other blog!  🙂