My heart is like a gardening shed. It stores lots of tools – some are helpful and some are outdated. There’s always reorganizing and cleaning up to do. There are also a variety of plants sheltered there. They hang in the windows and are a breath-taking beauty to behold. Some are large, blooming, and healthy. Others are struggling and in need of some TLC or a miracle. Then there are rows of baby plants waiting for the right conditions to grow. Every plant in my shed is a gift – a relationship entrusted to me.
I wish I could say that my heart- my gardening shed- was beautiful from the start. But it wasn’t. If I’m honest with myself, my shed was factory fresh, sterile, and impersonal. The tools it held were eccentric in color and size. Some were beautifully worn in and handed down through generations while other hand-me-downs, while traditional, simply didn’t make sense for me to keep. Others tools were cheap but affordable. I stumbled upon these myself, easily accepted into the shed because I had friends that used the same tools. Over time, the easy and cheap tools have been replaced by ingenuity, diligence, hard work, and gracious mentors. Inside and out, my shed needed time and the rage of life’s elements to soften the edges with a warm patina. It also needed the beauty of vines.
Vines are the scars on my heart. At first, I resisted vines because they cluttered the sterile appearance of my shed. So I fought and resisted what nature was trying to teach me – that vines add character, especially the right kind of vines. The right vines were a result of heart pains – those that resulted from truly loving others. These vines, while not part of my plan, would add a fresh beauty, new insight, and blossoms of exotic and unexpected colors all over the shed. They added a new dimension. Working on these vines has helped me identify tools I’ve been misusing or needing. Over time, my gardening shed has accumulated better and better tools. Ones that work well and bring life.
But even good vines become overwhelming at times. If not kept in check, the vines cover windows, blocking the life-giving sunshine. Vines can grow thick over the door, locking my precious tools inside and me outside, feeling sorry for myself at how cluttered and heavy-laden the work feels sometimes. On those days, the day grows dark and stormy and I’m tempted to curl into a ball by the shed and just let the vines swallow my form along with my shed.
Yet deep down I know that I wasn’t created to close my eyes to life – to both the beauty and pain it brings. I was created to bring truth, hope, and healing. I was created to bring beauty to this world by applying my gardening tools and then sharing them. I was created to tend the plants I was given. I need their beauty and they need me.
And at the end of the day, the vines aren’t to be resisted but trained and positioned for beauty. The vines don’t define the function of the shed, rather they soften and add character to the sharp edges.
Please feel free to share how you envision your heart, either by commenting below or by sending an email. I’m here to pray for your wounds, scars, and triumphs!