I slipped quietly into the stillness of the garden, seeking the same stillness in my soul. Isn’t it interesting how winter seems to lull the earth to sleep? The woods seem quieter, the garden is still and the sky grays over. It is a season of rest and stillness. Just as the ground in the garden needs the rest, so does our soul.
Tending the garden is similar to tending our soul; there are seasons of work, harvest and stillness. To tend means to care for, look after, give attention to, nurture and maintain. Doesn’t our soul need that as much as a garden does?
When it comes to tending a garden, there are various tools to help tend the garden well. For our soul, the most effective way to tend our soul is to go to the very Gardener of our souls, the One who created us. He offers us His Word and His Spirit in order to tend our souls towards fruitfulness.
How can we begin to let the Gardener of our soul tend the garden of our heart?
Three ways I have found to bear much fruit when I walk consistently, by His Spirit, in them.
Pray the Word.
The Bible is clear as it teaches the power that God’s Word has; it creates, redeems, restores, heals. So as we consider our lives and the lives of our loved ones, the most effective and powerful way to lift them up is to do so by the Word of God and pray Scripture over them.
God tells us to pray, to talk to Him. Psalm 62 invites us to pour our heart out to Him, the good, the bad and the ugly. Repeatedly we see saints of God crying out to Him, praising Him and petitioning Him. But there is an added sweetness when we not only pray but pray His Word back to Him.
When we use the life-giving Word He offers us to petition His heart for our loved ones there is a double blessing for us. We are meditating and aligning our own hearts to His as we pray the Word. There is far more power in His Word than in ours, so why not search His Word for truth that we desire to see cultivated in our lives and in the lives of others and then pray it back to Him?
Memorize the Word.
Our mind is so noisy and distracted. The world is constantly screaming their distractions at us through the TV, the phone, the computer. We carry worries and demands from our job, our family, our own hearts with us throughout the day. Then we lay our head on the pillow at night and wonder where all the noise is coming from.
I have found that my mind will chew on a thought until it’s so soggy there is no easy way to remove it. But I have discovered that I get to choose what that thought is.
I don’t have to lay in bed worried about my child’s current school situation or the friend who is being unkind or about my husband’s recent health scare or my own fears of the future. Nope. I can make a new choice. Though I can’t seem to be one of those people that just pulls the “bad” thought out and rolls over to sleep; I have to replace the one thought with another thought every. single. time.
The Word of God has proven to do exactly what it claims to do in Romans 12:1-2. I can be transformed when I renew my mind with the Word of God. I can memorize Scripture and wrangle my thoughts towards the life-giving path rather than letting my mind forge its own path to destructive thoughts.
Engage with the Word.
Slowing down and leaning into the heart of God cultivates intimacy with our Creator and Savior in a way few things do. We were made for intimacy with God. Listening to His voice through His Word is how that intimacy is cultivated.
After coming to a saving faith in my early twenties, I had zero knowledge of the God and His Word. I plunged myself into every workbook, spoon-fed study I could find. I certainly grew spiritually through them, but in a dark season of my adult life, I realized I didn’t have the tools to hear God through His Word for myself. I had become dependent on the workbooks and the voices of other teachers and leaders. I yearned for intimacy with God Himself, just He and I.
His Holy Spirit lives in me and promises to teach and guide me to all truth. So as a believer, I figured, I should be able to trust the work of the Spirit and allow Him to teach me. I developed the TEND method to help guide me through the simple process of approaching God’s Word. In the years since, I have consistently pursued God through His Word using this method and have found such a sweet peace and stabilizing hope in the relationship it has cultivated between Jesus and me.
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