What Gardening Taught Me About Spiritual Growth

This past April, my Husband and I had the greatest idea and decided we would try our hand at gardening.  So many people at work were bringing in fresh salads with chopped herbs and juicy tomatoes from their own gardens so I thought “hey, why not?”.  It just so happened that we had raised flower beds in our backyard that were just sitting there unused.  So  off we marched to our local nursery and bought all the makings for a little beginner’s garden.  We bought tomatoes, herbs, zucchini, and a few flowers for our front yard.

The first few days we poured love into that garden.  Rich soil and plant food was purchased and matching gardening tools to boot.  We even started discussed what we’d be planting next Spring and giggled expectantly about our first harvest!

Every morning and evening we tended to those baby plants.  We fertilized them, watered them, and discussed what we’d do to protect them from the summer sun.  Before long we saw the fruits of our labor, our tomato plants started to bud, the zucchini plants were spreading, and the herbs were thriving.  We were so encouraged that my Husband made up his mind that he would be attempting watermelon (lol) and I was going to grow vines of berries (haha).  We were in awe at the miracle of plant life and how God was making them grow.  After a month or so we were able to pick a few tomatoes and use some of the herbs in our recipes.  Mmmm…scrumptious!  But then something happened…

 

When gardening takes a turn for the worst

Here is the part where I tell you that we live in Las Vegas, NV and we have about four months of blazing summer heat that can reach temperatures of 120 degrees fahrenheit.  Before long, daily watering of the garden turned into once every other day of watering.  Pretty soon that turned into forgetting to water the garden altogether because it was just too hot to go outside.

I remember one day I decided to make salsa and when I asked my husband to bring me some cilantro he brought me the whole bushel (roots, dirt, and all) because when he went to yank off what he needed, the tug uprooted the entire plant.  The roots had withered and the plant had given up.

That in turn caused us to give up on them.  We couldn’t bring them back to life now.

Those poor baby plants were left alone exposed to the elements.

I looked out my window a few days ago just out of curiosity because it had been weeks since I had even thought about my little plants and I was saddened by what I discovered.  What had once been a garden teeming with life and bearing fruit now looked like a cross between tumble weed and potpourri (embarrassing to admit).  It was completely dried up.  Dried up because we had simply neglected to take care of them.

 

How our spiritual lives are like this garden

The Lord showed me something as I pondered over those abandoned plants.  This is what happens to us when we lose our focus, when we get distracted, when we neglect our time with the Lord.  Our spirit needs to be watered and nurtured with the word of God.  His Holy Spirit is the living water that quenches our spiritual thirst.  Our spiritual lives can be likened to a plant.  It has to be rooted in Him, it thrives in good soil, and it needs water to make it grow.

 

“Remain in me, and I will remain in you.  For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me.”

John 15: 4

Our Lord promises us His Holy Spirit upon salvation but what happens when we don’t stay tapped into the Spirit? What happens when we forget to pray, and push the bible to the wayside?  We are exposed to the elements of this world and then we are left fighting a battle that was never intended for us to fight alone.  We become parched.

“Can papyrus grow tall where there is no marsh?  Can reeds thrive without water?  While still growing and uncut, they wither more quickly than grass.  Such is the destiny of all who forget God; so perishes the hope of the godless.

Job 8: 11-13

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What gardening taught me about Spiritual Growth

Jesus is the one who is able to tend to our souls, but we have to let Him.  All throughout God’s word He talks about roots, growth, seeds, branches, water, soil, fruit…the list goes on and on.  It occurred to me that there is so much we can learn by gardening.  That like gardens, our spiritual lives have to be tended to. Do you remember how annoyed Jesus was with the fig tree that didn’t bear fruit in Matthew 21:19 or the parable He told in Luke 13:6?

“I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardner.  He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more.”

John 15:1

He desires for us to lead fruitful lives that are continually transformed and have evidence of growth.  Don’t let the busyness of life keep you from studying God’s word.  Stay soaked in His presence absorbing every ounce of love and wisdom.  Not only that but we are to put what we read into practice.  Growing every day to become more and more like Him.  Learning from our experiences and increasing our faith.

 

“When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father”

John 15: 8

May you continue to produce much fruit.

Blessings to you,

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  • At least you have an excuse – your hot weather – to avoid getting out in your garden. I have indoor plants that I just forget to water. I get so wrapped up in everything else that I totally forget about them until they are shriveled up and knocking on Heaven’s door. If I get honest with myself, I can get like that in my Spiritual life, too. All the other things that seem more pressing aren’t really that important compared to spending time with Jesus. I love this post Natalie!

    • Thank you Kylie for your honesty…it made me giggle. I honestly feel that if there is plant-life within a certain vicinity of me than it has a certain life sentence. It’s so easy to get distracted but this analogy that God placed on my heart rings true. We have to stay connected to the vine. Blessing to you friend!

    • Oh Robbie so have I. I will continue to learn till I meet the Lord in Heaven. Thank you for stopping in 🙂

  • Beautiful reminder Natalie! I so well know the feeling of planting flowers and seeing them blossom into these beautiful creations. But as soon as it gets too hot, or I’m limited in my time – I let it go. So many lessons to learn from this. One that comes to mind…(Mark 4:14), we are the sower and we are to sow the Word into our lives. When we do that, our garden (spiritual lives) flourish. Yes, gardening teaches us so many lessons and in some ways (as you mentioned) our spiritual lives can be just like gardening. We’re gung-ho and ready to take on anything, but when adversity comes or better yet, when we become familiar with doing what it takes to maintain our walk…we slack up and it shows in our garden or lack thereof. 😉 Thanks for sharing! Stopping by from “Christian Women Bloggers Unite.” Blessings!

    • Thank you so much for stopping by Michell. You don’t know how much I appreciate comments! Especially when they are as detailed as yours. I agree with everything you just stated and you are right, we get all excited when things are new and after a while we get neglectful. Lessons abound when it comes to gardening.

    • You’re not alone Marie lol. As it turns out I didn’t not have the patience for it. However, someone told me I planted too late in the season and that if I plant in early Spring the roots will have time to get deeper before the summer heat arrives. I will be attempting it again.

  • This is beautiful. It reminds me of our flourishing garden in my former house..my husband’s green thumb was all about nurturing the plants and soil. And you remind me how the Bible uses garden as metophor for our lives. Visiting from Christian Women Bloggers Unite!

    • I’m so glad you came by to visit Kathy! I’m so glad you were blessed by this post because I know that my garden forever changed my perception. Gardening is Godly 🙂

  • This is a wonderful analogy, Natalie! It’s really just what I needed to hear today. We too had high hopes of a beautiful garden, but then the summer heat here in Oklahoma came along and we weren’t faithful to water those plants as much as they needed. Needless to say, our flowers shriveled up. Thanks for the reminder that I need to be “watered” by God’s Word so the same thing doesn’t happen to me spiritually!

    • I’m right there with you Marisa. Believe me you are not alone lol. God’s word fills us up where everything else can be so depleting.

  • Love this! This is a such a good word for the season I am in! Thank you for the reminder that apart from the lord I can do nothing.

  • Natalie, I truly LOVE this! I love when God teaches us His truth through such experiences. I have chosen to feature your post on this week’s Grace and Truth Link-up. be sure to pop by and get your “I was featured” button! Thanks for sharing.

    • I was nearly moved to tears when I read your comment Aimee. I am so honored and humbled, and well I’m just overjoyed. What a blessing! Thank you so much!

  • Such a good post. It reminds me of how much I need to remember that I need to go to Him continually. Sometimes I default to wanting to handle things on my own but that is not how our spiritual life is supposed to work. We only grow when we lean into the Father for His care. Thank you for this reminder!

    • You are not alone sweet Karin,
      I think we can all learn a lesson from this, myself included. I’ll be learning till I’m at the pearly gates.

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