[Sequel to Dec 2011 Post, Mary, Mary Quite Contrary how does your garden grow?]
Taking the time to review how shame-filled the intimate aspects of my life has been, I am just beginning to recognize how God, the Master Gardener, has been at work these last few years to change the landscape of my garden. As He has been working the soil and pulling weeds, I’ve taken the opportunity to identify the different weeds that mask the beauty and health of my garden.
As He begins to pull and tug I see weeds that have been growing so long their stalks are very thick and tall…possibly defining the landscape of the garden because they are so prominent. Being so old and tall, these tough weeds have been leaned on like a crutch. Events such as sexual abuse, pre-marital sex, unwanted pregnancies, sexual deviancy are all very defining to one’s character and could be used as excuses to justify actions or reactions. I may say “this happened to me, I am the victim”, or “I made this choice so I’m not worthy of anything good.” In either role, it would be easy to lean on one of these stalks and think…”I’m damaged goods, aspiring to something better is unattainable.”
Then there are weeds that encroach on the landscape of a garden to the point of smothering all good plantings; they are low-lying yet cover everything and it’s growth is agressive…much like shame. Shame is so prevalent that it’s difficult to imagine what my garden would look like without it. The shame weed is seeded by things observed, heard, read about, or physically been a part of, whether willingly or as a victim.
I think one of the most difficult weeds that sprout are the ones that have very complex root systems and a lot of time commingle with good plantings. I know a simple tug or two will only break off the stem leaving the root to re-grow. In order to get these bullies of the plant bed out it takes a lot of time and a good amount of digging. What’s difficult with these is that although the weed may seem very straightforward, how it got to ‘be’ is very complicated. In a woman’s life the root system is compiled of insecurities, personality quirks, family dynamics, social influences, and then complicated even further with some sexual experience. The only way to effectively remove this weed is to follow each root to the end, and uncovering how each element contributed to the weed’s growth. What an arduous process! To remove them sometimes requires pulling out the whole jumbled mess-good and bad together, doing a lot of sifting and sorting with the roots, and then only re-planting what is good.
There are weeds that have pickers poking through every seemingly grabable surface and to remove them I find myself hovering over them looking for a place to put my hand. Should I put it here and maybe try over there, only to eventually say “Yeah… I’m not going to touch it. Too painful.”
Then of course there are the weeds that look like flowers. Several times I’ve watered these imposters, fertilized them… even ‘weeded’ them only to find out by someone more wise in the ways of weeds that what I’ve been caring for is not a desirable plant (a habit, an action, a feeling, a memory) and it needs to be removed. I may have thought it was beautiful and that it added value to the composition of the whole garden, but in fact it was corrosive to the healthy things it came in contact with.
All in all those are some nasty plants, and it’s time for them to leave. The truth of Ecclesiastes 3:11 states “He has made everything beautiful in its time” and this redemptive and restorative process will be just the same. As in all areas of my life, I appreciate lovely things, and this area is no exception. I look forward to seeing what beauty God will reveal through it all.
“You shall be called by a new name, which the mouth of the Lord will name. You shall also be a crown of glory in the hand of the Lord, and a royal diadem in the hand of your God. You shall no longer be termed Forsaken, nor shall your land any more be termed Desolate…for the Lord delights in you..and as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice over you.” Isaiah 62:2-5
Dear Father; Thank you for your tender tugs and sovereign sifting. I know You have a perfect and good plan for all areas of our lives. I praise You now for the beauty You will raise out of the ashes and weeds and may You be glorified! I sincerely ask that You comfort and care for all others in and out of my life who have deep wounds and shame in this area. Soak them with Your mercy and incredible grace. Reveal Your great and specific love that you have for each of them. In Jesus’ name, Amen!!!