Over the summer, my son and I were in the flower garden trying to pull weeds. Maybe what I should really say is that we were in the weed garden trying to find the flowers that somehow were surviving. Gardening is one of my favorite things to do, however when life gets busy it tends to be one of the first places of neglect. It was a dry summer and the weeds were stubborn. We both started to get frustrated and decided to move on to a different project.
Later that week, a thunderstorm rolled through dumping buckets of rain for days. After three days of gloom, when we were starting to feel restless, the sun peeped through the clouds little by little and it looked safe to head outside. I called upstairs to my son to tell him to get some old clothes on, that we'd be going out to pull the weeds we'd left to continue to overtake our lovely flower garden.
He's seven, curious and always asking why. "Why now? Won't we get all muddy?"
"Most likely," I said, "but the weeds come up much better after a storm."
"Well, let's see. First, the lighting from the storm affects the plants, then the rain drops onto the hard dirt and as it does that, the earth softens as it absorbs all of the rainwater. Since the dirt loosens, the weeds come up root and all much easier and that means that they're less likely to come back."
While we were uprooting these nasty weeds, the thought ran through my mind. This is exactly what it is like when our life is dry. Those nasty little habits we get into stretch their roots down deep, our heart hardens around them and trying to pull them spends energy with no reward. The storm comes through, lightning strikes, the rain pours down and things look hopeless.
That is the time God can step in and pull the weeds, root and all, out of our loosened hearts. He can yank them all up and cultivate the soil that is our heart. It is then, that if we plant seeds of love and good habits that we start to see our garden bloom with beauty.
The storms will always come and I have just begun to look at them with anticipation of hope. They seem to have become, for me, a new beginning. A time at which I can allow God to pluck the weeds from my heart and plant the seeds of His loving kindness.