The Prayer Garden at my church looks beautiful right now. That has not always been the case; even a month ago it was more of an eye-sore than a source of inspiration. But several members of the church decided it was time to give our Prayer Garden a little "tender love and care" and they did just that. The transformation has been amazing and now it is truly a place of beauty. People are visiting it once again; it is again a place for meditation and prayer. Once again it has become a place of blessing for many....
This same type of transformation is possible for us. We all know that if left unattended, the "garden of our heart, becomes very "unkept." When we fail to give proper attention to the issues of our heart, the results eventually become obvious to all. In short, like our Prayer Garden, our lives become unkept.
The writer of Proverbs 4:23 says: "Guard your heart with all diligence, for from it flow springs of life." This means that the garden of our heart must be properly cared for: properly watered, sun shine provided, weeds pulled, plants pruned and trimmed. The outcome can be a life of beauty and blessing for all.
As we approach the season of Thanksgiving and Advent (times when we give thanks for all that God has done and prepare for all that He is about to do) what would it mean for us to give our hearts a little "tender love and care?" It may mean that we spend some time pondering how our life needs to change and making appropriate confessions. It may mean setting aside some time apart from our busy schedules and routine just to meditate, listen, and pray. It may mean reconnecting with special friends with whom we can share "holy conversation." Obviously, it will mean different things to different people. But whatever it means for you, I pray that you will not give up on the vision of a "well-ordered and holy life." Perhaps you may feel that your life is presently in a state of chaos and turmoil; but I would encourage you to practice a little "tender love and care." I am convinced that in a short time a "garden of beauty" will appear before your very eyes.
Dr. Allen Schneider is a United Methodist pastor and a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist presently serving the Sapulpa and greater Tulsa communities.