Monday, April 12, 2010

Green thumb, Black thumb, or somewhere in between?

I don't have a green thumb. What's the color of death? Black. I have a black thumb. Plants that come into my home do not have a long life. As a matter of fact they die quite quickly under my care. Even those plants that Home Depot told me were fool proof were not so much for me - they were dead within a month. Here's my number one reason - I'm too busy to remember to take care of them. I know, horrible. All I had to do was water them and apparently that was too much for me to handle. My number two reason - my children kill them. We had a strawberry plant that we lovingly named Sophie and I was doing a reasonably good job tending to it, when Luke decided that since he got one strawberry off the top of the plant there MUST be some strawberries in the dirt. He proceeded to dump Sophie out on the ground to look for more strawberries stomping on all her roots. RIP Sophie.
Thank God I have a better track record with human life!!!
Every birthday we celebrate of our kids, Dave and I give each other a congratulatory pat on the back for keeping them alive for one more year. Yes, sometimes, I feel like that's all I can do. Just keep them breathing.
So, when a couple of months ago I decided to focus on the "Fruit of the Spirit" in my parenting I didn't take into account my lovely black thumb. What does gardening have to do with the "Fruit of the Spirit" you may ask. EVERYTHING, unfortunately. To produce fruit you have to cultivate the soil, tend to it, pull weeds, water, prune and on and on. Much to my dismay, you can't just say, "Fruit grow!" You actually have to work at it.
Since I have been focusing on producing more fruit in my life hoping that it will spread to my childrens', I have noticed A LOT of weeds coming up. Weeds of impatience and frustration, sharp-tongue words and selfishness. Those have got to be pruned, really. But I have an excuse, really I do. I just don't have time.
Except my excuse does not work with this. These are not just plants I can toss and buy new if they die. There's a lot more at stake with this.
So, I remember, if I'm not growing I am dying. That's fabulous. If I'm not constantly striving for fruit and lovingly tending to my garden I'm trying to grow in my own life - my garden is dying. And really, who wants a bunch of half ripe fruit? Not me.
I have to stay focused. I have to remain engaged. I have to keep my gloves on and garden shears in use. I have to keep pruning the branches that aren't yielding fruit so that the ones that are will be more productive. Jesus even talks about this in John 15:1-8:
1"I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. 3You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. 5"I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. 8This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples." (NIV)
So not only do I have to stay engaged but I have to stay plugged into the Master Gardener, because without Him, my goal to be fruitful in my life and in parenting will be in vain. This takes work, commitment and focus.
I will stop making excuses, and though it is painful at times, I will prune those nasty branches out and will allow the Father to throw those branches into the fire. I will remain in Him so that I will be fruitful. And I'm pretty sure that my family who reaps the benefits and the consequences of whatever my "fruit" is will be thankful that much more for it.
How is the gardening going in your life? Do you need to prune some branches back? Have you taken off your gloves and dropped your shears for a bit like I have? Are you ready to get back in the dirt and get messy? Let me know!


Post a Comment