Getting Dirty in the Garden

Terracotta pots line my patio waiting to be filled with this season’s flowers and herbs. Although the official day of spring has come and gone, I feel like I’m catching up with gardeners who already have placed seeds in soil, fertilized fields, and planted in pots.

I choose to garden in containers because planting flowers and herbs in the ground creates considerable work. Bending over, tilling soil, and pulling weeds quickly deters me from the strenuous labor of producing a full-yard garden. I enjoy the simplicity of planting in clay pots for its limited space and for the protection of these old bones.

With container gardens, I don’t pull weeds. I avoid worms. And I use gloves. Not digging in the ground suits me just fine.

It’s obvious I did not inherit my grandfather’s farming practices. I recall his bountiful harvest of fruits and vegetables. He rose before sunrise and began working the rows in his field. He tilled the ground. He planted seeds. He harvested crops until the evening.

My grandfather rarely wore gloves. At lunchtime he would come inside to wash his hands before eating. During my summer visits, I observed his fingernail prints on the bar soap. He dug into the soap to remove any dirt and grime from under his nails. Looking back on those visits to my grandparents’ home, I still remember the nail prints on the bar soap.

Soft soap didn’t exist in my grandparent’s house. Soft soap merely cleans surface areas and misses the cracks and crevices where dirt embeds itself into the nail area.

While gardening in containers, I try to avoid getting dirt under my nails. It’s impossible, because I take off my gloves to gauge the moisture of the plants by sticking my finger in the soil. I admit, dirt accumulates under my fingernails. And every time I come inside from gardening, I, too, dig my fingernails in bar soap.

In a similar way, digging into scripture loosens dirt that creeps into the chambers of our hearts and the recesses of our minds. Scripture like hard soap washes deep areas of the soul.

Digging into God’s Word leaves a lasting imprint

“Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and look at my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Don’t be faithless, but believe.” John 20:27 (CSB)

The scars in Jesus’s hands, feet, and sides leave a lasting imprint as a reminder of our cleansing and forgiveness from the sin that soiled humanity in the Garden of Eden.

How often do you dig into the soap of God’s Word? Do you allow the scriptures to agitate the dirt to cleanse you from the world’s stains?

“Although you wash yourself with lye And use much soap, The stain of your guilt is before Me,” declares the Lord GOD. Jeremiah 2:22 (ESV)

Only when we understand the power of the nail-print hands and feet of Jesus that cleanses and resurrects us from a sin-soiled garden, then we will see the abundant fruit producing a harvest in our lives.

Journal About Your Garden Area

Do you need to contain your garden to keep it from growing wild? Do you need to let your garden spread freely to grow in new spaces?

What kind of field has God placed before you? Shovel deep into that piece of ground. Cultivate it. Dig into your story and write about it in your journal. Take off the gloves holding you back from getting dirty with your story. Pick up the pen and write.

The clean pages of your journal are meant to be soiled and leave lasting imprints on its pages.

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