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by ~MM~
Rated: E · Poetry · Religious · #2032808
If my heart were a garden, how would God see it?
A close friend of mine - a poet as it happens - asked the women of my church what their heart would be like, if it were a garden.  K told us all to 'walk through' our gardens, and put down in words what we saw.

The responses were amazing; some ladies viewed their hearts' garden as a nursery for God to grow and tend, others as a sanctuary for quiet reflection.  One, very memorably, asked God to dig out all her weeds and throw them either on the compost heap to make them useful, or to burn them up in a blazing bonfire.

*Vine1* *Flower5* *Flower5* *Flower5* *Vine2*

My heart had never felt less like a garden - more a tangled mess of wild scrub-land, thick undergrowth and brambles.  But as I walked along the thin pathway through the woodland, snagging my clothes on thorns and climbing over fallen trees, I realised something.  Although I wanted to offer up a grand country garden,* God was telling me to look closer at what I did have.  Peering into the wild woodland, I saw blackberries nestled amongst the brambles; dock leaves growing side by side the stinging nettles; a tiny mouse scurry under a root; moss and fungi growing from a rotting, dead tree.  And I realised that God does not need the confines of a garden - my heart or otherwise - to work. In the middle of thorns, He has placed fruit. Delicious, juicy, fabulous fruit that I can reach out and take.  Reach, ah now that was the imperative word.  God offers me this bounty, but it is up to me to take it - and not just leave it on the branches.  But only when it is ripe and ready; if I try to snatch what God is willing to give me before He is ready to present it, then I must expect it to taste bitter and unpleasant.  I risk the complications of Ishmael before the blessings of Isaac.

In the stinging nettles, growing tall and strong in the shadow, God had another lesson to show me; how they offer protection and nourishment to the caterpillars and grubs feeding off their leaves - how one man's meat is another man's poison.  And in the dock leaves He had growing beside the nettles, God show me that He gives healing, no matter how many times I get hurt.

Like the blackberries, He told me the mouse represented the good, but hidden things in my life.  Tiny, often overlooked, blessings that flourished in my life; if only I stopped and looked.  And like the mouse sought safety under the tree root, not only would God offer me protection and safe-haven, but I too should be willing to look after the vulnerable in my life and be there for them regardless of my own plans.

And finally, when I saw the decaying, rotting tree - uprooted by strong winds and covered with creeping parasites - I realised that God can, and will, make good come from the tumult in my heart and mind.  That from the death of the old oak tree He was making way for new life; for the young saplings that had struggled towards the light, but risked growing bent and twisted, deformed in the shadow of the old tree.

*Vine1* *Flower5* *Flower5* *Flower5* *Vine2*

Father, I thank you for showing me this and for reminding me of it again tonight.  I ask that You walk amidst the woodland of my heart and act as forester - tending and protecting that which requires Your care - and teach me to spot the hidden beauty in all things, even me.

*I felt rather embarrassed when I realised that everyone else had pictured cosy cottage gardens or neat little town-house lawns, and I immediately envisioned sweeping vistas, ornamental ponds and classical statues amidst intricate rose gardens, and refused to read my poem out loud.
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