Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Hard Frost

Gardening in January
Tonight's forecast predicts the coldest night of this winter, with a low of 22 degrees.

This afternoon Boo helped me harvest a gallon size ziplock bag of mixed lettuce greens, as well as a handful of plump carrots. I love my greenhouse.

The greenhouse, a labor of love on the part of my hubby, has stood rather neglected for a few weeks. Out of sight, I forget to water my plants regularly. The heat-loving melons, tomatoes and peppers have long since shriveled. Partly from cold, and partly from neglect.

Yet some of the the remaining produce has quietly grown even without my attention. The artichokes stand an obnoxious four feet wide and tall, but without flowers. The peas gave a few pods but mostly seem to just thrive on putting out edible stalks. By all appearances, lettuce and cauliflower plants enjoy this time of year very much.

I wonder, can the plants in my mostly neglected greenhouse withstand tonight's hard frost?

Well-watered plants survive frost better than dry ones.  Had I watered my garden before the first frost six weeks ago, I might still have tomatoes and peppers. Had I tended and nurtured the remaining plants a little more carefully, I imagine they would not be merely surviving, but thriving through this cold season.

My Heart's Garden
I see some connections between this greenhouse and the garden of my heart. Jesus shared a gardening story in Mark 4, about a farmer who went out to sow some seed:

4 As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 5 Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. 6 But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants, so that they did not bear grain. 8 Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up, grew and produced a crop, some multiplying thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times.

Jesus later explains the elements of this parable. God is the farmer. The seed is God's truth, and the types of soil are the various responses people have to God's truth.

I once thought that each type of soil referred to a different type of person, and that my response was of the "good" soil variety.

Later I realized that if my heart is a garden, I allow a lot of thorns to grow up and choke out what productivity God might desire from my life. Let's face it, life constantly throws distractions at us, and I allow myself to be distracted a lot.

As I garden in my backyard, I realize more and more the importance of pulling weeds, removing pests, and providing the right amount of sunlight and water, in order to have a good crop. Soil quality is important, yes, but so are those other elements--and they require constant attention!

The greenhouse garden will probably survive tonight's hard frost.

If my heart's garden were to experience a hard frost, could it survive? It may not be tonight, but the seasonal nature of life indicates a frost will come, sooner or later.

This year I have committed to memorize the book of Colossians. I am about to finish my first successful attempt at reading straight through the Bible. Both are part of my 2011 goal of Drinking from the Well of Living Water. I believe that these recent efforts at tending my heart's garden are exactly the kind of preparations the Master Gardener wants to make so my heart garden can not only survive, but produce a thriving crop of whatever he has planted there.

1 comment:

  1. That's a great analogy! I think my heart may be thawing out from a frost in many ways! Sometimes our hearts just go through seasons of quiet, warmth, productivity, rest. What's amazing is that even in those frosty times, God is still at work...Life is still there, growing, even under that blanket of cold. It is a testimony to the faithfulness of God...I believe the Word of God that we plant in our hearts in the non-frosty times is the greenhouse that keeps our hearts warm in the frosty times! (Your daughter has the cutest freckles on her nose, by the way! Sweet!)


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