Raking Away the Mulch

Thursday, February 04, 2016

We’ve had a break in the much-needed rain here in Northern California. Because of this, I took the opportunity to go outside and take inventory of my yard. This is the time of year when gardeners are busy preparing the soil for the coming spring. Dormant plants are trimmed back, old mulch is raked away, and the earth is turned over. It is not the most enjoyable part of gardening, but it is a necessary part. So, as I inspected the areas where I’ll have new plants when the weather warms, I was amazed to find that new life had already appeared! In one corner of my yard I was happily surprised to find a mass of white violets bobbing their sweet heads in the light breeze. In another area, some yellow and orange daffodils were just about to burst into a kaleidoscope of sunny color! The ground hog of last Monday was wrong… Spring has already sprung in my garden!

Now, I am not naïve enough to think that we won’t have another frost. I’ll be careful with my plantings as I move forward. However, the sunny day and the discovery of spring flowers lit a fire in me! I am so excited to get out there and get things done! After months of winter indifference toward my garden I am invigorated!

How many times in our spiritual walk do we feel indifferent? How easily do we fall into a slump when the “weather” turns cold and ignore our relationship with God? Unfortunately, I think it is fairly easy. It can happen to the best of us. Our days become busy and one distraction after another quietly shifts our priorities. Before we know it the resolve to enter into His presence each day is lying dormant under a thick layer of mulch. Slowly, seemingly without our notice, our enthusiasm fades and we wake up one morning to discover that nothing is growing.

So, what does it take to have our faith renewed? Simply put, it needs attention.


“But they delight in the law of the Lord, meditating on it day and night. 
They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do.” Psalm 1:2-3 (NLT)

We need to take the time to foster our relationship with Christ. Just as in a garden, good care will bring wonderful results.  
As we place our priority in spending time with Jesus through prayer, worship and meditating on His word, our relationship will flourish. That enthusiasm we have been missing will return just like a sunny day after weeks of rain. And as a result, we will experience beautiful growth. 

I want that growth, don’t you? It’s time for me to take inventory and rake away the old mulch in my life that is impeding my intimacy with Christ. But unlike with gardening, this part of the process IS enjoyable, for any time we spend in the company of our Lord is blessed.

In His grip,
Joan

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20 comments

  1. Ohhhh how I love this post!! What a great analogy! As I am coming to a close on my 21 day fast, it seems the Lord has been raking away much needed old mulch in my life. He is good that way!! Blessings to you and happy gardening :)

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    1. Hi Stacy! Thanks for the sweet comment! :) Doesn't if feel great to have the Lord be our Gardener and rake away all that mulch? Fasting can certainly draw us closer to Him and help us to focus on what is truly important. What a blessing it is to be cared for by Him! Have a great day!

      Blessings, Joan

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  2. Love this analogy! Very fitting in my season of change....increasing my prayer life, growing closer to God.

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    1. Thanks, Myra! You and I are seeking the same thing...a more intimate relationship with God! Praying that you feel the spring growth as you draw closer to Him!

      Blessings, Joan

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    2. Thank you for this beautiful reminder to slow down: "Our days become busy and one distraction after another quietly shifts our priorities. Before we know it the resolve to enter into His presence each day is lying dormant under a thick layer of mulch." Busy can be such a struggle for me. Loved your analogy!

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    3. Hi Michelle! I often long for a "slower" time. This day and age is so full, whether it is TV, the internet, our jobs, the busyness of all around us, I'm learning that it is crucial to take that time to be still before the Lord. Thanks for stopping by!

      Blessings, Joan

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  3. Hi Joan, just this morning I was telling the Lord I want to be closer to Him. Well, its me who needs to draw closer. Great post as always my friend
    God bless
    Tracy

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    1. Hi Tracy! So great to see you here :) I bet in your neck of the woods, you're getting ready to prepare for winter... I'm assuming the flowers in your yard are now at their peak! Am I right? But yes, as we draw near to God, He'll draw near to us! (James 4:8) We can count on it!!

      Blessings, Joan

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  4. First, it was just yesterday that I thought about the work that will soon need to be done in my yard. Which of course made me miss my husband even more. Come to Chicago, will you, and help me???

    And I say often these days how following Christ is a sacrifice. One of those sacrifices is our time as we seek to know Him and His Word. But it's a sacrifice absolutely worth it!!!!!!!

    Much love.
    xoxo

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    1. That is a beautiful way to explain it, Beth -- Sacrifice, and one that is absolutely worth it! After all that Christ did for us, making the sacrifice of our time for Him is the least we can do. And as a result, we'll enjoy an incredibly intimate relationship with Him. It's a win-win!

      Love you, Joan

      P.S. When does hubby return? Just in time for raking away the mulch, I hope!

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  5. I guess Spring comes a lot earlier in CA then it does in NJ! I'll try not to be jealous. I think sometimes we fall into the same thing we fall into in a marriage--yeah, I know he's there, but we're just comfortable...and we don't work on it much. How I long to turn over the earth in my relationship with the Lord and discover new growth and to nurture those things I hadn't realized were budding. Great post, Joan

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    1. Hi Mary!

      Yes, in most parts of the state, spring comes early...in some, it never leaves! But, there are areas (in the mountains and north of here) that are like the east. It's an amazingly diverse state. I'd say by mid February or March, spring will be in full force here in my town. I must admit that there are many times I long for a stronger change of seasons (like a real fall and winter), but, I do love the warm days!

      Each day is a new day in our walk of faith and "His mercies are new each morning!" (Lam 3:23). What a blessing it is that no matter where we are in our journey, He'll encourage us to discover the new growth!

      Blessings, Joan

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  6. I was listening a song this morning about seeking the Lord first, and your post reminded me (once again) of my need to cultivate my relationship with Christ. Thank you for the encouragement. It seems I need to hear it over and over again :)

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    1. Hi Amanda! Don't you love how God uses all sorts of ways to let us know what He is saying? When I get a message over and over again it is great confirmation that what I thought I heard was true! I'm so glad you were encouraged today!

      Blessings, Joan

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  7. How exciting to discover new growth! I've discovered recently that I have buttercup stems coming up already. Love these signs of spring is on the way. I'm glad that we can apply this to our spiritual lives as well. With a little attention, God is sure to bring growth, often when we least expect it. Thanks for this, Joan.

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    1. Hi Lisa! Oh yes...I'm so excited about the appearance of early spring in my yard. In fact, this afternoon I'm heading over to the home improvement store to pick up some wood for a trellis and some new planter boxes! I've got big plans for my hubby this weekend! LOL

      I love that God will always grow our faith when we turn to Him and show some attention! His mercies are new each morning! Praise God!

      Blessings, Joan

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  8. I want that growth. Honestly, I direly need it.

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    1. Yes, no matter how long we've walked with the Lord, we can all stand to grow even more. I look forward to God's transforming hands on my life as I draw near to Him!

      Blessings, Joan

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  9. Such a great metaphor! I'm not ready for spring gardening yet, but my heart is helped by your longing for generativity!

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    1. Good morning, Michele! Yes, I am excited by the prospect of new growth - both in my garden and in my life! When I draw near to Him, my heart soars. I'm thinking now of the old Hymn, "In the Garden":

      "And He walks with me, and He talks with me,
      And He tells me I am His own;
      And the joy we share as we tarry there,
      None other has ever known."

      The words are so true. There is such joy when we linger in His presence!

      Blessings, Joan

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