"Is there yet any seed left in the barn? Until now, the vine and the fig tree, the pomegranate and the olive tree have not borne fruit. "'From this day on I will bless you." Haggai 2: 19
I love this picture--a woman surrounded by the beauty, the product of her life's cultivation, 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, those who cause the garden to flourish. Wisdom is personified all the way through Proverbs as a woman. The older I have gotten, I seek to grow into this great role. Gardening is such a visual representation of the potential of a woman's life.
A field that lays fallow has endless potential for producing fruit, vegetables, flowers of every kind. If the soil has been prepared and fertilized and attended to, it has massive potential. Yet the potential lays dormant until the seeds or plants have been strategically place and planted 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 lays 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 it daily with the grace of God by engaging with Him, watering the planting with faith--engaging my heart at every point, every moment with His perspective, His thoughts, His priority. 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, and attitudes and hurts. Protecting from the storms of Satan and the world. All these things I must do to cultivate a beautiful harvest as I walk in the life of 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 through out 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, and teaching them to spread their 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, nurtured, but requires a wise and intentional gardener--willing to do the hard work it requires to bring about a great produce.
So, what are you planting? How intentional have you been about designing a garden of your own soul and your children? How are you protecting? Fertilizing? Weeding? Watering.
Such great potential lays dormant in our souls, but such a vast harvest is available if we engage in the wisdom and with submission and obedience the First Gardener. There is such capacity for life--in Him and in His ways.
Live into the potential of your call to civilize and cultivate. When women become intentional about eternal issues, the whole world will be influenced by her grace and life.
I have had so much help, so many blessings, such richness because of real live people coming alongside in the work of our own lives and my heart overflows with love for so many of you--even those I have not yet had the privilege of knowing face to face.
I want to acknowledge how very much I have been encouraged in my own life by so many of you. So many of you have given to me in words of life--(I was greatly encouraged yesterday and on many days before, by your comments, emails, phone calls, fb comments, tweets, letters. Every bit of your giving words of life to me have gone deeply into my soul.)
The investment of having friends work beside us for all of these years as we seek to cultivate our ministry and messages into the lives of other people--my soul is rich from so many of you investing love, time, prayer.I do not deserve but have been greatly blessed by each of you.
Our ministry could not exist or be alive today if it had not been for so many investing financially so that we could publish, do conferences, build messages, work with leaders.
I thank you all with all of my heart, as God put you in my own heart today. May He bless you abundantly with the fullness of Him--His grace, life, truth, power, redemption, and the reality of His presence and love.
PS The winner sof Aaron's books:
Heather Ertzberger Sara (who commented at 1:24!)
Thanks for entering.