Spiritual Formation from a Flower Bed

Ashley and I have been gone from our home for 2 months. A summer in the mountains was a tough price to pay for not being able to be in oppressively humid Illinois for the summer.

The last two months have been spent, like many college students, away from campus. We were helping to direct a Leadership Training program in Estes Park, Colorado. 140 students from all over the country working full time jobs at the YMCA of the Rockies and hearing messages from influential leaders from all over Collegiate. It was a great summer for us.

Back at home, we had some amazing and helpful people who watched our house and mowed our lawn. Upon our return, the lawn mower even offered to do it one more time as we got settled. What a gift!

However, one thing that wasn’t really kept up was the flower bed. I spent many hours chopping bushes down and ripping out roots to then put flowers into the dirt the bushes were just in. And it’s become quite beautiful. Lillies, some tulips, and beautiful ground cover make it something I love to stare at. But two months of zero cultivation and it was a haven for the plants we just don’t want or need.

As we put our work gloves on and pulled, we saw how deeply rooted these weeds had become. Crab grass. Dandelions. Some weird tall thing that was kinda interesting but we knew wasn’t meant to be there. It took us a couple of hours to get it cleared and we ended up filling up two yard waste bags. Two massive paper bags. Of weeds.

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We were fortunate the flowers weren’t overtaken. They were still beautiful as ever, even if in the process, we knocked off some of the delicate buds. We were so thankful to have our flower bed back.

It’s hard not to sit in creation and consider the creator.

What had my summer been like? Had I connected with the Lord? Had I let the soil the Word was planted in become fresh, or had I let weeds grow in my heart? Two months is such a short time, and yet so long. It’s most of the summer. As we return to the rhythm of the school year, are you cultivated? Are you weeded? Can we see the beauty of your heart, or are there things in the way that a couple hours with The Lord would do well to heal?

Consider this, as we start a new school year: what will you do to cultivate the flower bed of your heart? How will you let The Lord’s beauty shine forth? Who will you invite in to help you pick weeds? We must answer these questions or we too, will end up needing an overhaul.

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