About 6 months ago I got set on the idea that I really wanted to grow my own vegetable and flower garden on my back patio. I would find myself constantly thinking about all the ways I could transform my neglected little patio and turn it into a beautiful and peaceful garden sanctuary where I could sit and eat my breakfast or just relax and enjoy during the spring and summer evenings. But there was just one problem… I had this huge bougainvillea bush growing along the fence where I wanted to plant my garden that would have to be removed first, and I knew it would be a lot of work.
When I first moved in to my townhouse, I loved that big ol’ bougainvillea bush. But after a couple years, I started realizing just how much maintenance it was! The whole bottom part of the bush started dying and getting really dry from the lack of rain, so every few months I would have to take my small clippers and trim off all the dead branches. And this was no easy task either because the branches had these huge spiky thorns all over them that would prick me, so even with gloves on it made getting the pile of trimmings cleaned up extremely difficult. It felt like I was getting into a fight with the bush, and every time the bush would win.
So about a month ago, I finally decided that it was time to say goodbye to the bougainvillea and get the soil area where it was planted prepped and ready to plant my garden. My dad even offered to come down from Oregon and help me take the bush out, so I didn’t end up having to hire anyone. He also built me a good sized planter box for me to grow my vegetables in, and painted the old run down fence a nice blue color to match the patio tile that I have back there. Now whenever I look outside, I am so happy with just the few little changes that have been made so far, and I’m astonished by how much of a difference it has made in it’s appearance. Just a new coat of fresh paint, clearing out the dying bush, and some simple landscaping and decorating has totally given my little patio porch a completely brand new look and feel.
As I was thinking about this the other night, it also reminded me a lot of how my walk with God has been. Every single stage of this patio/garden makeover project can relate in some way to the stages of how my life has changed and how my faith has grown over these last 2 1/2 years. For a long time I was kinda like that bougainvillea bush. My heart was getting really dry from a lack of spiritual nourishment. Even though there were periods of my life where I attended and even served in different churches, I still wasn’t really allowing God full access to my heart and allowing him to change me into the person He created me to be. Yet all along He never gave up on me. He was still putting in the maintenance, trying to trim me up and get all those dead branches cleared out. But I was living in sin and enjoying my life the way it was, so I was like those thorns on the bush that kept pricking Him and making His job more difficult. My unwillingness to give up the way I was living was holding me back from the plans he had for me.
But then a couple years ago, I finally realized that something in my life was missing and acknowledged that the way I was living wasn’t right. It was like God was breaking through to me, and I was finally willing to allow Him to completely remove the thorny bush and start prepping the soil of my heart for his word to be planted in it. Now that I have allowed him to have full access to my heart and clear up all the dead branches, I am like a totally new person. Just like my little garden/patio transformation, God has completely transformed my life through his word and by the power of the Holy Spirit. I am reminded of a scripture that has had a particularly greater meaning to me over the last couple years since this transformation first began.
2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”
Indeed, I am a new creation in Christ, and every day He is planting and growing seeds of faith, hope and love in my garden of life. Are you willing to allow him to do the same?