I love this picture--a woman surrounded by beauty, the product of her life's cultivation--as it is such an encouragement to me for my own life. Part of the glory of women, in my mind, is that they have been throughout all the ages, civilizers; those who subdue, causing gardens to flourish. Wisdom is personified all the way through Proverbs as a woman. The older I have gotten, the more I have sought to grow into this great role. Gardening is such a visual representation of the potential of a woman's life.
A field that lies fallow has endless potential for producing fruit, vegetables, and flowers of every kind. If the soil has been prepared and fertilized and attended to, it has massive potential. Yet the potential lies dormant until the seeds or plants have been strategically placed into the soil.
This is a picture of all of life. We have the Holy Spirit inside of us when we become Christians. We, and our children, are made in the image of God. Intrinsic within our hearts, lives, and souls is the capacity to display God's imprint to the world, but the potential lies dormant, waiting for a gardener of the soul to cultivate it.
And so, I picture myself as a gardener of souls, in relationship to Him who gives me the power and strength through His spirit to be a part of His work in the world. First, of my own soul. I must plant the seed of God's word, of truth, excellence, art, beauty, character, intellect, relational skills, vision, and inspiration, and water them daily with the grace of God by engaging with Him, watering what I've planted with faith--engaging my heart at every point, every moment with His perspective, His thoughts, His priorities. I must bask in the sunshine of Jesus---living in His love, His redemption, His humility, His generous soul always reaching out and giving in compassion and redemption. Pulling the weeds of sin, bad attitudes, and hurts. Protecting what I've planted from the storms of Satan and the world. All these things I must do to cultivate a beautiful harvest as I walk in His power and reality in my life, through the seed of Himself that He planted there..
I invest deeply, so that others may have the richness and productivity of His life and ways and truth and character to draw from my soul.
And then, I come to motherhood. I understand how broad my role is in planting the seeds of truth and faith and character in my own children's lives. Protecting them from the ravages of their own storms in a fallen, wicked world. Exposing them to the sunlight of Jesus in every way, every moment throughout my day. Helping them to develop a strong root system of family, friends, and Christian community during the winter seasons, and to water their souls with God's love, grace and hope, teaching them to spread their own plant in the direction of cultivating a life of faith, service, and giving as they yield from their souls eternal produce.
All this and more is waiting to be intentionally planted, cultivated, and nurtured, but requires a wise and intentional gardener--willing to do the hard work it requires to bring about a great harvest.
So, what are you planting? How intentional have you been about designing the garden of your own soul, and those of your children? How are you protecting? Fertilizing? Weeding? Watering?
Such great potential lies dormant in our souls, but such a vast harvest is available if we engage in wisdom with submission and obedience to the First Gardener. There is such capacity for life--in Him and in His ways.
Live into the potential of your calling to civilize and cultivate. When a woman becomes intentional about eternal issues, the whole world will be influenced by her grace and life.