I watch garden shows on HGTV and YouTube channels featuring programs on decluttering. I am often struck by how much of what is learned there applies to my life and yours too.
If one does not remove from home the clutter, what is important and needed cannot be found or seen. If one does not put away in an organized way the important papers, so much time and frustration is spent on locating them. I know at times I have had to go to the store and buy an item I knew I had but could not find.
What a waste of time and financial resources. Do you remember how you felt when you stayed in a nicely decorated and uncluttered hotel room?
If one does not weed the garden, the weeds take over. They hide or kill the plants that produce the herbs we eat and the fruit and vegetables we consume at the table. The beauty in the garden is lost, stifled, or dies.
Have you ever thought about how the lessons in weeding the garden or decluttering a home apply to your relationships with others? Your spouse? Your kids? Your parents and siblings? Your neighbors?
Dub Brooks, a dear friend, and minister said once, “God gives us a garden. But, we have to weed it ourselves.”
God wants us to declutter our relationships. To weed our relationships of the weeds. Like ongoing resentments. Like not forgiving others for past transgressions. Like bringing up over and over again old wounds to blame those we love. Forgiveness is like a pre-emergent non-toxic herbicide to end once and for all such things.
Weeding our relationships of other things too is important. Like not listening to others with our hearts. Like not overlaying one’s will over the wife or husband we love. Giving up on never losing an argument. Not being judgmental.
When we lead with love the weeds never have a chance to grow in the garden of our love for one another.
I recall a man who hired me to represent him in a collaborative divorce. His wife left him for another man. He said he was caught totally by surprise. On questioning, I learned quickly that he had stopped leading with love in his relationship with his wife of 25 years. I asked, “When have you last told your wife you loved her?” His reply, “I don’t need to do that. She knows I love her.” “When you have given her flowers,” I asked. His reply, “When her mother died ten years ago.” “When have you taken her on a vacation alone?” He said, “Never. We’ve only gone with the kids.” “When have you been intimate with each other in bed?” He replied, “Not in years.”
I am not saying this man was solely the cause of the beauty, the joy, and wonder of the marriage being lost. But, it was clear to me he had not decluttered, weeded, or cultivated the blessing of his marriage. He was a very good, church-attending man. He just had not been a very good gardener in his marital relationship. The weeds finally overtook what little was left in the marriage relationship.
God has spoken in Scripture about helping us to weed the gardens He has given us.
The LORD will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.
Let us pray together.
Dear God, in prayer, please help us to lead with love in our actions with others, others who are gifts to us from You.
Please help us to recognize the clutter and the weeds in our relationships especially in marriage and family. In that recognition, please strengthen us to weed and remove the things which separate us from each other or worse kill the happiness, joy, and growth within ourselves and others.
God, we thank You for the garden in our hearts and in our lives. With Your help may we harvest the best in life and love for us and those You have sent our way. Amen
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If you want to purchase for yourself or a friend a copy of Bending Angels: Living Messengers of God’s Love or Prayerful Passages: Asking God’s Help in Reconciliation, Separation or Divorce, please click on here to go to Amazon.
Jack H. Emmott is a Senior Counsel of Gray, Reed & McGraw, LLP, a 145-lawyer full-service firm in Houston, Dallas, and Waco, Texas, a Board-Certified Family Law and Master Credentialed Collaborative Law Professional Divorce Attorney, Mediator, Author, Entrepreneur, and Inspirational Speaker. For more information about Jack or his latest book, Bending Angels: Living Messengers of God’s Love, go to the Bending Angel website.