It’s the middle of the summer and vegetables are starting to become ripe in the garden. I love this time of year. I love the hot days and warm nights. Even though, with my red hair and freckles, I’m destined to burn to a crisp, I love the sunlight. And I love picking and eating vegetables fresh from my garden.
When we were first married, I tried my hand at a garden. The area best for it was a spot where the previous owners had a desert garden complete with sand and cacti. Needless to say, it did not go well. Very little grew there even after we removed all the sand. (10 years later it still gets the least amount of weeds.)
Last year we picked a new area for our garden and decided to try again. For years we let our neighbors grow flowers there even though it was on our property because it’s out of our normal line of sight. Those neighbors moved and we wanted a garden so we decided to try again. We tilled it all up and planted a garden.
We were so excited about the idea of a garden, the thoughts of fresh peppers and tomatoes, making our own salsa, broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussel sprouts. Sadly very little grew. The plants grew big but yielded very small results. The best thing we got from it was at Thanksgiving when I walked over to the garden as 2crazylittleboys were playing in the snow and saw the Brussel spouts had finally grown. I picked them, and they were a fun last-minute addition to our meal.
This year we got a late start to our garden. By the time I got around to buying plants, our favorite stores stopped supplying them. They told me I was one week late. This year there are no sweet potatoes or Brussel sprouts in our garden. We have an assortment of peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers and onions. I already have more tomatoes growing on my plants than I was able to harvest all last year.
To get 2crazylittleboys involved in the gardening (other than playing in the dirt), I let them both pick one package of seeds to plant. The youngest picked spaghetti squash and the oldest jack-o-lantern pumpkins. They dug their holes and planted their seeds. I didn’t have high hopes for either growing but those seeds had other ideas. We have 4 spaghetti squash plants growing like crazy, and if you need a pumpkin for craving this fall, I know where you can get one. They are trying to overtake our little garden.
But the tomatoes and spaghetti squash and pumpkin plants aren’t the first thing your eye is drawn to if you walk over to our garden. It’s the weeds growing up in between the plants. Only I learned this year that those aren’t weeds and our garden isn’t neglected as it might appear.
If you walked over to it, you might notice that we don’t have a fence up. I’m not organic crazy, but no pesticides or sprays to keep rabbits and deer away have been used even though we live across from a woods. Our plants are growing and everything is leaving them alone.
Those weeds growing throughout our garden are actually a ground cover. The old neighbors planted it and tilling and weed killer didn’t get rid of it. It was so aggravating until I pulled it and caught the scent of it. I’m not sure what it’s called, but it gives off a scent that keeps animals away.
Because I know it keeps the animals away, I let it grow. It means I don’t have to spray. I don’t have to put up a fence. It may make my garden look neglected, but it’s actually keeping the plants safe.
Sometimes I think my faith is like my garden. Maybe it’s messy. Maybe it looks overgrown. Maybe to the passerby it looks neglected. But if they would get closer, if they really knew me, they would know that my faith isn’t neglected at all. Maybe what looks like weeds to you is the part of my faith that keeps the animals away.
I may not being in church every Sunday, but I know my God. I may not carry a bible in my purse, but I know my scripture. You may not see or hear me pray, but I talk to my God.
The youngest of my boys loves to pray. He never forgets that we need to say our bedtime prayers, and sometimes he reminds me if he’s afraid I’ve forgotten. He’s more likely to remember prayers than teeth brushing. And about half the time, he wants to lead the prayers (which means they included a lot more animals than when Mom leads).
My oldest is the opposite. He doesn’t remind about prayers and has even on occasion told me he wasn’t praying that night but is always respectfully quiet during prayers. And that’s ok. I can’t force him into prayer, and I won’t.
The oldest is also easily embarrassed. He’s more likely to hide his face. He refuses to show off what he knows to people when I want him to. Singing “Happy Birthday” to him will make him turn the brightest red, and he may tell you to stop singing. All though there are times he would like everyone’s attention, he wants that attention on his terms.
His faith is like my garden. A couple of nights ago, it wasn’t the youngest who reminded me we needed to say our bedtime prayers. It was the oldest, who then announced that HE want to say the prayers that night. And then he prayed from his heart, thanking God for our good day, for his family. Praying for our safety while we slept.
All those times when it may have appeared as if he wasn’t listening, he was. When his faith looked like my overgrown garden, it was really growing down low and all across and actually strengthening his garden.
Only God knows the condition of our hearts. Don’t be discouraged when people pass by the garden of your faith and thinks you’ve neglected it and have let it be overtaken by weeds. God knows your faith isn’t neglected. God knows those aren’t weeds but are strengthening the garden of your faith.
Pull your weeds. Let your ground cover grow. Your faith doesn’t have to look like everyone else’s. I know my faith doesn’t. Work in your garden and let God grow it.