I can’t remember the last time I actually planted things in the dirt. And in general, I have an aversion to dirt. Just ask my kids. I’m a recovering don’t-get-your-hands-dirty kind of mom. They know. And what can I say? Except that I’m changing, and I am trying. I’ve lightened up over the years, that’s for sure. And now, you should be proud of me, I’m even beginning to befriend the dirt.
A couple of weekends ago, I went with my husband to pick out plants for our backyard. And because I love flowers, there’s nothing I wanted more than the beauty of them in my yard. I want flowers I can look at, flowers I can put in vases, and flowers that smell good too. So we trekked over to the wholesale nursery and selected all the plants.
And you would be so proud of me, because I helped plant them! Yes … I got dirty. I had dirt under every single fingernail, my shoes were muddy, and my shirt was smudged. I sat in the dirt, knelt in the dirt, and touched more dirt than I have in a long time. And in fact, I think you could say that me and the dirt … well … we bonded.
And I’ve heard people say that gardening is so therapeutic, but inside I was always a doubter–a dirt-snob. I couldn’t imagine why they possibly liked gardening. I mean pulling weeds and purging plants of their dead pieces, watering, fertilizing, and Miracle-growing everything … well, let’s just say it was never my thing.
But you know what? I think my day with the dirt is changing me. For some reason, working in the dirt offered me time. I could feel the sun on my back and the fresh air all around, and my mind had space to ponder and think—space that’s usually crowded out by the chaos of my life.
But instead of the chaos, I had time.
Time to marvel at God’s creation. I experienced what He had made up close. I could touch it with my hands, and feel the textures between my fingers. I dug a holes for the plants with bound roots—roots that would unwind and grow deep into their new home. And as I did, I felt a part of my stressed heart unwind too.
I had time to acknowledge the life God gives, and the beauty He created. Each leaf and flower are His design, each unique in their own ways. And I found myself giving thanks to Him for His handiwork, for details I would have missed, had I not held them in my own hands.
I planted some bulbs and had time to reflect, how it’s the dark places that give birth to beauty. And it surprised me. And I’m not sure why, because I’ve lived it. I am living proof of how beauty can be born from the deepest and darkest places. That God is powerful to redeem and restore broken lives.
And after my time in the dirt, I had a greater appreciation for becoming clean again. And believe me, being clean is a wonderful feeling for a person like me, but I must say,
I appreciated the clean even more, because I had experienced the filthy dirt.
And I’m thinking it’s the same for our hearts.
It’s almost impossible to accept the grace God gives and the cleanliness He provides, if we don’t realize how dirt-stained we really are.
It’s hard to fully appreciate the mercy He offers, until we first come face to face with the overwhelming depravity of our hearts.
And I’m profoundly thankful to God for making a way for me to be clean. Thankful for how He washes up my dirty self and removes the stains completely … how he takes my dirt-stained heart and makes it white as snow.
And I’m thankful for the soap and water after gardening too. And actually, I think I’m going to need it more and more. Because I think the clean after the dirt is so much better than just the clean alone. And I’m pretty sure my kids will be happy to hear that!
Have you come face to face with the dirt of your heart?
Have you experienced the cleansing power of God’s mercy and grace?
How has the beauty of your life come from your darkest places?