Garden of Grace

Last week I finished up my junior year at Belmont University. I am very much enjoying the challenge of being back in school, but it is just that – a challenge. I feel like these last few days I have been able to catch up on some much needed sleep and get back to the household chores with a little more proficiency. The one thing I am the most excited about however is starting my garden.

I am working on a small, raised garden bed and it has been so therapeutic to have something to do with my hands. I am starting most of my plants from seed and am diligently watching the garden for possible predators, shielding it from too much rain or too much sun, and making sure there are no diseases on the plants. My preparation for this garden began in the fall of last year when I started my compost pile. The idea behind the compost pile is that you let the natural carbon decomposition process break down organic elements which in turn creates a very rich soil for plants to thrive in. After months of stirring and adding in ingredients, my compost was finally ready to use. As I poured it in my raised garden bed, I was tickled to see little earthworms crawling around. I told my mom, who was there helping me, “Look!! I did something right – we’ve got worms!!” I guess I should mention, if you have earthworms in your compost – that means you have a good mix of nutrients and these natural “tillers” will only be a help to your plants. As I was on my hands and knees spreading the dirt and pulling out anything that might be harmful for my little seedlings, I was reminded of a passage in Mark 4 where Jesus tells a parable about sowing seeds. He says:

“Listen! A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants so that they could not bear grain. Sill other seed fell on good soil. It came up, grew and produced a crop, multiplying thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times.” (Mark 4: 3-8 NIV)

If you have never grown a plant from seed, I would encourage you to try it. Many times a stepfamily is like a bunch of individual plants that were growing in strange places, and now they have all been planted together in a new pot and are expected to thrive on the love of the husband and wife, but that simply is not enough. If the soil is not rich, the individual plants won’t have what they need to survive. The only way the soil can be rich enough to help these traumatized and broken plants is if the soil is watered with the Word and is fed Christ’s love.

My husband came to Christ after he was divorced, and his children are not sure they trust his newfound faith. They have one home where God is seldom mentioned, and then they have our home where He is the center. It is confusing and frustrating to them, and my husband and I are finding a home without a focus on God tends to have more “fun” and it is hard to keep the attention of our teenage boys. Instead of getting mad at the situation, I encourage my husband to focus on the soil here in our own home and give the rest to the Lord. It would be silly for me to get angry with my plants if they were not growing properly or if a bird stole the seed away, but how quickly we let our own disappointment about the children cause emotional responses that drain the soil of its life-giving properties.

Stepmoms, I don’t know what the soil is like in your home or what the soil is like in your children’s other home, but what I can assure you is that if you place yourself in the hands of the Christ and work with your husband to keep the Lord center in your marriage and your home, you will see the fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control spring up in your lives and in the lives of your children.

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