"A beginner must look on himself as one setting out to make a garden for his Lord's pleasure, on most unfruitful soil which abounds in weeds. His Majesty roots up the weeds and will put in god plants instead. let us reckon that this is already done when the soul decides to practice prayer rand has begun to do so." -St. Teresa of Avila
something i've learned in the past couple of months... is that weeds can be disguised as flowers. you don't realize that they are taking up all of your energy, all of your effort, all of your heart and not returning any nutrients or goodness. you don't realize that they are infiltrating every good piece of you until you look into the mirror and realize you are a shell, a ghost, a broken down soul.
the only way to get rid of the weeds is to realize you have them, call them out by name, and pluck them from the root.
i don't like that process, because that involves me looking directly at the stuff that makes my heart clench. it's looking at the dirty stuff, realizing how empty i can be, and coming face to face with parts of myself that i don't like.
and it's a painful process, i'm not going to lie. no one wants to look at the broken parts. it is much easier to let the weed keep growing and convince yourself that it's a flower. but the thing about weeds is, if they are left untended, they will soon consume you.
our Lord is the ultimate gardner. He is the creator of the garden itself- He knows how it works, the amount of sunlight it needs to grow, but also the amount of rain it needs to be nourished. He does not leave us to tend to our weeds alone. He is there plucking the thorns away, the same thorns that adorn His head in a crown.
He holds you when the darkness of your being becomes too much. He wipes away tears when you cannot smile anymore. He puts your head against His heart and says, "breathe. I will not leave you."
and when you are ready, He gets down in the dirt right beside you and starts pulling the weeds. He does not want to cause you any unnecessary pain, so He tries to pull them gently. but some need tugging, clipping, shearing, and He holds your hand as he snips with the scissors.
sometimes you want to hold onto the weeds. to the friends you put everything into but received nothing in return. to the boys you wanted to give your heart to, but they turned away without a second glance. to sins that made you feel happy in the moment, but left you broken at night. sometimes you want to keep them, because they were too much a part of you. sure, they were weeds, but they were familiar. comforting. a brokenness you were used to, you thought you could handle.
Jesus takes those away too. because He wants your goodness more than you want your own. He wants your garden to be beautiful; He wants it to reflect the worth He sees in you.
when the weeds are gone you may feel empty. the garden now looks like just a done of dirt. but Jesus reminds you "behold, i make all things new."
where the weeds once were, he plants seeds. seeds of kindness, of gentleness, of peace. of love, of selfless, of beauty. He covers them gently with soil, turns the sun to shine gently on the buds. sometimes He brings rain, but the buds relish in the water. you invite friends in, together you help each other prune your garden. the weeds start to grow back, but you pluck them yourself- while holding onto His hand.
my garden is not empty. it is new. the pain from plucking weeds is still raw, but i learned how to do prune my soul. which is good thing to know, because as fallen humans we must constantly identify our weeds and get rid of them.
it's hard letting go. it's hard letting go of friendships you thought would last forever. of desires you thought were a part of you. of dreams that you wanted so badly. but abandonment is the key to peace- that i have learned. even if i dont want what He does, i pray i will because my garden only becomes beautiful when i invite Him in.
do not be afraid of your weeds- you become stronger fighting them. do not be afraid to look at them-they have no power over you. let God take over. let Him show you how to heal yourself. let Him embrace you, let Him love you.
invite Him in. He makes all things new.