During this long Easter weekend, I decided to tackle the task of weeding my front garden. Now, if you know me then you know that I have two black thumbs and can kill pretty much ANY plant. My husband is actually more of the gardener in this house :)
I put on my big girl pants, grabbed my kids and a large trash can, and headed out front. Upon surveying the scene I realized something dreadful....this was an ugly sight. The grass had grown up into what once was the garden and 4 dead fruit bushes simply sat there, lifeless. Weeds were running rampant and out of control on both sides of the walk and in between the pavers. Now, let me remind you this was my FRONT garden. Not only is it what people see, but I should be looking at it every time I pull into the drive. The problem was that I had stopped looking at it sometime ago...
I joke that I would rather run a marathon than do yard or housework. It's a joke that is quite true though, and I'm not even a runner! There are some things in life that are quite necessary, no matter how much we abhor them. Weeding is my nemesis.
Here is the funny thing though. My children and I set out with a plan. We each worked in our own corner and strove to work inward toward each other. We even pulled the dead fruit bushes up and sprayed the tiniest of weeds that just couldn't be grabbed with our now grubby fingers. All of this work took a grand total of 1 hour. That's it. At the end of an hour we stepped back and surveyed our labor. It looked much cleaner and ready for a new beginning. Now, I have not yet begun on the beginning, but the part I hate is over for now :)
This experience, like so many others, made me think about my own Christian life. I pray for God to weed the garden of my life, but the process isn't pleasant. It is painful at times and takes work on my end as well as His. In order for Him to rid my life of those things that are in the way, I have to LOOK at my life, long and hard, in order to see how messy I have allowed it to get.
In my own personal life I have over committed to things that should have been passed on long ago. This causes the grass of the worldly commitments (though they themselves are not bad things) to grow into my garden, taking up space that should be allocated to growing ministry. I have to look at hobbies that have begun to take up too much of my time, creeping in like weeds to choke out the service that brings my Father, and in return me, true joy. I can also see the things in life that I simply do out of sheer, comfortable habit. These are the things that take my attention, energy, focus and passion away from where God expects me to put it...in His will. My garden of life is quite messy, and it is right where others can see it...
So, what does one do with a messy garden? Well, first I ask God to give me eyes that I may see where things can be trimmed or pulled up altogether. Be careful what you ask for. There are some things that are good on their own, but my Father has better planned for me and I cannot grab it until I let go of something else. If my calendar is filled with "good" things, I might miss out on the great things God has planned in my life...simply because I got too busy to notice when my garden began getting over crowded.
Second, when God shows me what is taking up too much of my time, energy and passion...I have to devise a plan to let go. Yes, I said plan! I am terrible about letting go then running like a mad fool to try and grab it again. Perhaps I suffer from thinking I am the only one who can handle this task. You know, I am reminded of another who thought himself high enough to do God's job, or higher perhaps...his name is Lucifer and he was cast out of Heaven and into eternal damnation. I have to admit there are times when I am guilty of the same sins...
Thinking that we can handle things on our own is a sin. God made us for community and we are a body in Christ. The hand and foot must work together with the eye! Most times the hand is just slapping everybody else around and shooing them away because we think we can do it all! I am terrible at asking for help. By the way, by the time I do ask for help, I'm in deep. That is a sin of pride, no matter how "humble" I claim it to be. So the third part is to ask for help! My kids helped me that day and we got a big job done in 1 hour...because we all did our part.
So, what will change? Well, my priorities have changed and I am making the plans to weed the necessary things in life. Boot camps and classes are being passed on to other individuals whose time is now :). I am selective about clients and trying to rest in God's promise to provide for the work He has called me to do. AND...I am asking for help.
I cannot do this large task alone. I am but a foot (or eye, hand, mouth, etc) and need other parts of the Body to come along beside me and help. My current projects in this new garden God is tilling are a trip to Ethiopia this Summer. I will be traveling there to minister to and train the staff member of safe houses. I will also be taking a trip or two to the red light district. This is a mile long strip of road where women and girls are sold for sex for as little as 10 cents. Some of these girls are as young as 8 years old...3 years younger than my daughter. My son will be making this trip with me. What can you do? If the plight of Ethiopia and these girls pulls at your heart, you can go to HopeChest Ministries and find ways to give to their efforts. I always welcome donations to the trips I have been called to make. I am eternally grateful to those who allow God to use them in order to enable people like me to share the skill set we have received from Him to change the world. If you wish to donate directly to my trip, here are steps to making an anonymous donation:
- Log on to Hopechest.org
- Click on the GIVE tab
- Click on TRIP PAYMENT
- Copy and paste trip code ET130702T in the reference section
- Enter MICHELLE CARLSON in the notes
Now, I do have an ongoing project that is in need of some big funds :) I have teamed up with Hopechest and Beginning of Life to help raise $50,000 to build a small fitness center to add to their holistic approach to rehabilitation and restoration for victims of sex trafficking. This is a large undertaking BUT it will help the ministry in many ways. This fitness center will help the girls victimized to have a better understanding of their bodies and how God made us and intended us to care for our bodies. It will also open up new jobs that have never been available (I will be spending an ample amount of time training in different fitness modalities and specializations) and it will help ease the stress of the workers who tirelessly give to these young ladies. To be a part of a world change, all you have to do is click HERE.
It is easy to think that we are not big enough OR that somebody else will step up to the plate and do the work. If not you, who? If not now, when? There is a change that must happen and we can ALL take part in being that change. Allow a little discomfort to seep into your life. You will not be stagnant and passionless IF you seek out change! Live a little louder and desire to do what is different. Be the change, do the work, help each other.
Remember His mercy and blessings!