Thursday, 25 July 2013

The Patient Gardener (growth takes time)

This summer I am finally getting to see some growth in my garden.  The smaller plants that I put in last year are now filling out the borders.  Once they begin to flower, it will look fuller and more mature. There's still room for growth - for change - for adjustments.  It's takes TIME, though.  Knowing what works best in certain places is not an instant thing.  You need to watch the plants in the place you have put them, and sometimes they need to be moved.

I have bought some new shrubs for another border, that my lovely husband has cleared for me (in my opinion, if a plant has not got a)flowers, b)interesting foliage or c) pretty branches when the leaves fall off in winter, it's not worth being in my, plants WENT!!)  I have bought a ceanothus, a philadelphus and a lilac. The philadelphus (mock orange blossom) holds distinct memories of my childhood - the heady scent of that plant brings me right back to my early years, when my Mum had one and the neighbours down the road had a HUGE one on the corner of their garden, right where we walked past! The thing is, what I would REALLY love is to have a fully grown plant of each of those, instantly appear in my garden.  I think it's possible to get much larger plants than the ones I bought, but for a MUCH larger price. So, I have to wait - wait for the plants to grow into something that is more mature and sturdy.

I don't know what your personality is like, but I have a bit of a struggle with patience.  Ok, so more than a bit.  It has taken me time (and I am STILL learning) to have patience in  life.  I'm talking about patience with others, here.  I especially struggle with others who don't "get" what I am trying to explain to them, or they just don't understand or grasp something that I find quite simple.

I tried to teach my children how to play the piano, a couple of years ago, but we kind of gave up because I struggled to have patience with them when they didn't "get it" as quickly as I thought they should.

It's a battle in my life, and I wish that I could just fix it in an instant.

How about those traits in the lives of our husband and children?  Those faults that we see, those sins that they struggle with, the character that we are trying to grow up in the children?  The "annoying" personality traits in our spouse?  Things that can irritate, or simply things that are sinful that we wish we could just remove in an instant?  Our children displaying attitudes and behaviour that are far from perfect. We pray, hope and try to encourage growth and change.

What about our OWN lives?  We see failings in others, but we are far from perfection ourselves!! I inwardly despair at times, at my own lack of spirituality - at my stumbling time and again.  The same struggles and battles seem to remain.

We want all these things to instantly mature. Like my garden, we want to see them full height straight away.  But our spiritual life is no different to my garden. It doesn't happen straight away.  In fact, we are told in the scriptures that sanctification is NOT instant.  It takes time.  It takes the Holy Spirit working daily in our lives - a continual growth  - in order for us to become more like the Lord and reach more maturity in a spiritual sense.

Just like my garden, the way to growth is time, water and food. I need patience.  I need to make sure the plants are nourished and watered in whilst they establish and grow.  So it is with those around us - and for growth in our OWN life.  We have to run with PATIENCE the race that is set before us. We need to patiently work at growing more like the Lord.  Feeding on God's Word, being watered with prayer and the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives.  Waiting for our character to become more Christ-like, and to mature and grow.

Is there some area in our husband or children's life, that we have been praying for change in?  Change takes TIME.  We need patience, and allow the Lord to work in their lives, as it takes time in our own.  Children, especially, require our patience.  They take time to grow, develop and mature in their lives.

There's really no such thing as an instant garden.  Similarly, there is no such thing as instant and complete sanctification! Be patient whilst your "garden" grows around you.  With time, you will find plants growing, flourishing and looking healthy, strong and truly beautiful.  Just be patient!

"But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ."
II Peter 3:18

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