Y’all, I love Fall. Everything about it makes me happy. Boots and jeans. Scarecrows and pumpkins. The colors. The smells. The crispness of the air and the apples. Pumpkin-flavored-everything. Boots and jeans. And did I mention boots…?
Like I told y’all last year in “To Boo or Not To Boo,” Fall and I have a relationship sorta like Lorelai Gilmore and Snow. We have a connection, an understanding. And every year it does the same thing to me.
Fall makes me forget I have a Black Thumb.
After years of trying, I’m finally admitting this. I so wish I’d inherited Momma’s Green Thumb; her yard is gorgeous! Mine…? Let’s just say “I Will Survive” is the tune my plants hum.
Momma has all kinds of flowers, plants and trees. I, on the other hand, tend to choose plants that practically don’t die, like lantana, which is considered a weed in Australia.
But this time of year, I totally pretend like I can do it. I am my Best Gardening Self. I buy mums, hang ferns, plant pots of fountain grasses. I water every day. Heck, I might even pull a weed or two. The weather is awesome and it lures me outside. But all these things does not a gardener make.
This is how I know I am NOT a true gardener: When the weather changes, so do I. It’s too cold, too dark, too windy, too much like work.
Cover plants during a freeze? Probably not. Go out and water when it’s below 45 degrees? Negative. I let it go and figure I’ll just start over again in the Spring. All my feelings and efforts from the Fall literally go to pot.
Sure, I say I want a pretty yard but let’s face it—I’m not willing to work that hard. My desire for a pretty yard is choked out by my desire for comfort.
Sadly, I realize it’s the same way with my faith. I say I want a strong, fruit producing faith, but am I willing to do what it takes to get it?
When the seasons of life change from beautiful, feel-good Fall to cold, lifeless Winter, do I still give my faith the nourishment it needs to survive?
Do I protect my heart from freezing by covering it with the truth of God’s word?
Do I winterize my soul with thankfulness or do I complain and beg God to make the Winter end?
Do I hole-up inside—alone—or do I venture out into the weather to huddle together with other believers?
Fortunately, God cares more about the soil of my heart than the soil in my yard. In fact, He is The Gardener of my soul. (I’ve always wanted a gardener!)
“I am the true Vine and My Father is the Gardener. He lops off every branch that doesn’t produce. And He prunes those branches that bear fruit for even larger crops…Take care to live in Me, and let Me live in you. For a branch can’t produce fruit when severed from the vine. Nor can you be fruitful apart from Me. Yes, I am the Vine; you are the branches. Whoever lives in Me and I in him shall produce a large crop of fruit. For apart from Me you can’t do a thing…But if you stay in Me and obey My commands, you may ask any request you like and it will be granted! My true disciples produce bountiful harvests. This brings great glory to My Father.” ~ John 15:1-2, 4-5, 7-8 (Living)
Unlike me, God promises LIFE to His branches, both now and in heaven. But, a choice must be made. Just as I couldn’t inherit Momma’s Green Thumb, I can’t inherit her faith either. I have to decide whether I want to thrive or wither.
First, I must accept The Father as the Master Gardener of my soul through salvation in Jesus Christ. When I receive Him, the Holy Spirit is planted in my heart and He helps me grow. I can even produce fruit through His Spirit—GOOD Fruit, like Love, Joy, Peace Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self-Control (Galatians 5:22-23). Who doesn’t need more of THAT kind of fruit? (Have you been to Walmart lately? ALL of us need it!)
Second, I must realize the way I choose to tend my spiritual garden will determine how it grows—fast, slow, flourishing or wilted. If my garden isn’t growing then I need to own it. Quit pretending and stop feeling envious or inadequate when I see other people’s pretty yards. I have made the choice not to work my garden and I reap the kind of garden I sew.
If I choose to let my faith turn completely brown, Jesus says He’ll lop me off! (John 15:2) But if I “take care to live in [Him],” I will produce a large crop of fruit—“Bountiful Harvests” (John 15:4-5). That’s Fall, y’all!
This means I can have Fall in Me all year long.
When I find myself in an unpleasant season, cold with depression or hot with trials, The Father is such a committed gardener that He can still create a harvest in me. He’s got two Green Thumbs and He knows how to use ‘em. He can even bring dead plants back to life. This is the Master Gardener we have, girls.
If The Fall is what I want then I’m gonna have to dig deep. I must allow the Master Gardener to till the soil in my soul; I have to willingly let Him break ground, as painful as that may be. Then, I must seek to gain as much gardening know-how as I can. Pull out that Farmer’s Almanac and get to studyin’ because Winter is coming.
The Father loves to garden and Jesus has done the work I cannot do through the Cross. But the choice is still mine to make. What kind of garden will The Father see when He looks through the windows of heaven at me?
Heavenly Father, thank you for caring for the garden of my soul. Thank you for giving Life when my branches are droopy. I understand that the abundance of my life’s garden relies upon the attention I give to it. Help me tend to it even when the seasons of life aren’t pleasant. Lord, I want my garden to thrive for Your sake, for Your glory, so You may be pleased when you look through the windows of heaven. Help me to “take care” of my garden by obeying and living in You. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.
“Take Care” Friends,