I. AM. NOT. A. GARDENER. I dream of moving onto a property where all the landscaping has been perfectly designed, and ALL the work is done. And I get to lounge on a garden swing slurping on freshly plucked fruit all the while enjoying nature in all its glory (AKA paradise).

Tomato plants taller than my sister

Tomato plants taller than my sister

Two years ago, this wannabe gardener removed sod and planted a garden in a raised 5’ X 10’ box.

On top of the rock hard clay I filled my box with the perfect garden soil including three types of manure just to be sure.

And it was beautiful! It thrived and produced lots of awesome veggies and herbs. I was super delighted to show it off and share with my friends.

Second year, not so. For the life of me, last summer I could not keep my garden watered enough.

Some obnoxious weed had taken over and the previously rich soil behaved very much like a bound potted plant. It did not thrive at all and the cucumbers barely survived. Greens didn’t grow to their full potential. We had a problem.

After a couple of hours of effort in the fall, too overwhelmed with the task of digging, pulling and uprooting the tangled mess I put that job off until this spring.

I did approach one nursery and was assured that what was there was dead and all I need do was to dig it up real good. I truly had no idea what sort of task I was in for!

Two hours one day, another three hours digging another day and still I was not even half completed. The third try I began at the opposite end. And immediately came across good size branches creeping under the boards at the clay level. What in the world!!! That’s some serious ‘weed’!003

For six more hours I dug, chopped, pulled and sifted. I moved every inch of that soil digging deep into the clay in some places to loosen those stubborn crawling tendrils.

At first I was pretty upbeat thinking about all the positives of this experience. Yep, I was grateful for sunshine, adding to my tan, vitamin D, exercise, fresh air and rejoiced that I was physically able to do this tough work (at my age). Oh! And did you know that an hour of digging burns 415 calories!! (That equals a meal, LOL.)

011I had many hours to ponder analogies for weeds. Our heart condition, hardened like the compacted weedy soil or soft like the fresh earth? Our thoughts-how often do ‘weeds’ enter? The parable of the sower. The wheat and the tares. The meaning of subduing the earth.

 

“And God said unto them,

Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it” Genesis 1:28

About two hours before I got done I hit a wall. Exhaustion and discouragement set in. I felt like quitting. FOREVER. Forget this crazy gardening idea.

I couldn’t stand the look of another clumpy wooden mess.  The handle on my shovel had become cracked and I was concerned it would bust any minute.

I imagined the satisfaction of Christ’s second coming burning all the weeds-voila! Gone forever.

Definitely time to take a break. More water, an indulgent snack and half an hour later I pushed through those feelings and resumed.

“And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches,

and the lusts of  other things entering in,

choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful.” Mark 4:19

And wouldn’t you know the last 2 feet were the absolute worst and most difficult to dig yet! The mess of wood and weed could not have been any thicker. No wonder my cucumbers had shrivelled as though they were in a drought.016

By now I was quite a wuss with the shovel, my arms felt like noodles and I was like a little kid, barely able to make a dent in the redundant clay.

My favorite analogy? Endurance.

You know that saying “when the going gets tough, the tough get going” or something like that?

Well, I’ve always considered myself a pretty tough cookie. Mixing concrete with my Dad is not even a close comparison to this for toughness. Man o man, it was tempting to quit!

Basically, I’d love to move into paradise and enjoy the fruits of someone else’s labor. Let someone else do it!

However. I’m learning that enduring–sticking to the most difficult task gives great opportunities to acquire lessons, even in gardening, not learned any other way.

Too, I’m sure my satisfaction will be even greater during the harvest. The fruit will be much sweeter, I’m sure!

There’s reason that we are exhorted in the scriptures to “Endure to the end”, to remain firm in our commitment to be true to the commandments of God despite opposition, temptations, and adversity.

Many have set out to follow Jesus Christ, to read and study scriptures, obey the commandments, and pray with faith but give up when the going gets tough with trials, persecution, or hardship-the weeds of life.

For those who endure to the end, how sweet will be the fruit of our labour when we meet our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ face to face!

Endure

Finally, the end of it: Ready for planting 🙂

As a Christian, what makes you want to quit? What do you find most discouraging or difficult?

What keeps you going when it feels impossible to keep moving-when you hit that wall? What lessons have you learned in your struggles?

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