Inspect the Protective Layer

Looks like the warm, gray, fleece blanket is going back on the bed … again!  We are headed toward the middle of April in the south and we are still doing the off again, on again, off again … uh um … on again winter blanket dance!  As I write this, it is 38 degrees, supposed to get to about 42 degrees and then back down in the twenties tonight.  What is with that?  I’m confused.  The trees are confused.  The animals are confused.  The flowers are confused.  The only ones, that I can see, that are not confused are the weeds! The weeds, especially in my flower bed, they are thriving!

I spent the better part of three hours pulling weeds yesterday.  It was close to 60 degrees yesterday afternoon.  It was cloudy, very cloudy, as we were expecting rain (and possibly snow) to move in early.  So it was warm enough, yet cool enough with no blazing sun.  It really was the perfect day for cleaning out the flower beds and starting to get ready for spring.  When I pulled my little red wagon out to the front flower bed, I was truly daunted.  How in the world had the weeds gotten such an upper hand?  I did not think I would be able to make a dent in the wild, out of control,  tangled green mess that was before me.

I described my flower “garden” in a blog last fall as, “some shrubs and a few flower pots.”  Well, the ‘bed’ that hold these shrubs and flower pots is an area about three feet wide, running the length of the house.  Half of that, the half that is right in front of the porch, is where the shrubs and flower pots are.  The rest of the bed is pretty barren with only some light creek rock to cover the earth, and a couple of flowering perennial shrubs … that I am certain will not survive.  It has a small black border running the full length.  There are garden lights that run the entire length also, although only about half of them are burning!

As I said, the weeds totally had me quaking in my blue-flowered rubber garden boots! Well, half of them had me quaking and half of them just had me annoyed.  The area right around the front porch, that was actually designed for flowers, has a covering of  that dark gray landscaping fabric under the medium sized creek rock cover. It amazes me how weeds can grow in those rocks, without any soil to nourish them.  The surface weeds come up pretty easy.  The root system is not much.  Then there are the weeds that have grown up from the rips and tears in the landscaping fabric.  Those are deeper with a more developed root system.  They take a little more effort to pull out.  Then there are the weeds right on the border, which have their root systems partially in the rocks, partially in the tears in the fabric and partially in the soil outside of the flower bed.  Those needed the assistance of the “weed puller.”   (I’m sure that is probably not the technical name of my favorite gardening tool,  It is just a piece of metal that is split on one end with a handle on the other end.  You just stick it in the middle of the weed’s stem and twist until the weed comes up.)

Then we get to the half of the flower bed that has no barrier between the creek rock covering and the earth below.  It was complete chaos! There were so many different types of weeds growing on this end of the flower bed.  The two flowering shrubs I had been convinced to plant there last summer were supposed to be in there somewhere … somewhere beneath the growing, creeping, climbing, sticky, slimy, fuzzy plethora of weededness (I know … not a word, but it works.)  My goodness, the root system that these invaders had developed was crazy!  Most all of them required the assistance of the weed puller, especially those sticky ones with thorns.  And where in the world did all that clover come from, and how did it grow to be that big!?  That lower half of the flower bed was the biggest time consumer for my afternoon.  The area right in the middle, I did not even get to yesterday.  The weather started blowing the storm in, so I figured I was finished for the day.

This was the first time back out in the dirt for me this year.  Yea … this first day was up and down, bending over, standing up, leaning in and leaning out, pushing, pulling, tugging, struggling and bending a couple of fingernails back to the quick.  Let’s just say there has not been a lot of exercise during this crazy, cold winter.  So today, I am feeling the activity of yesterday!

I had started a crossfit workout a couple of weeks before the flu hit.  I was doing really well and was feeling really good about how it was going.  Somehow, I have not been able to get back on the wagon since the flu, and it has been over a month now.  I think, if I had kept up my routine, the weed pulling would not have taken such a toll.  It would have been an extension of my workout, making me stronger.  “If only…”

I believe the weeds have won the first battle this spring.  I hate it when the weeds win.  My desire, over the next week or so, is to, first, get all of the weeds pulled, remove  the creek rock in the lower section, then put down a clean layer of the dark gray landscaping fabric and add a fresh layer of creek rock.  That should give me some weed protection for a few years anyhow.  I think a nice, new, taller border would be good this year also.

What do I see through the weeds?  Well, thank goodness, I do see an end in sight. I also see that the areas I had protected with the dark gray landscaping fabric were the areas with the least trauma which were the easiest to get back into shape. They did not require a lot of effort.   The areas that were left with no protection were invaded by the weeds outside of the flower bed.  They did not even have a chance.

If you think about it, that is the same way with our spiritual lives.  The areas of our lives that we have protected with guidance from God’s Word, with a daily intimate relationship with Jesus Christ and with accountability from Christian friends are the areas that seem to have the least weeds popping up.  Those areas that we leave open to weather the elements on their own, such as avoiding spending time with God in prayer and Bible study, avoiding our Christian friends, and participating in worldly activities that oppose our spiritual beliefs are the areas where the weeds are given the opportunity to sink in with deep roots.   So the best way to avoid those weeds taking over your Christian life is to make sure you concentrate on your relationship with Christ and definitely be sure that you have the protective covering of God’s Word to provide a shield of defense against the weeds of the world.

What am I going to do?  Well, tonight I am going to put that warm, gray, fleece blanket back on the bed once again.  Then in the coming days, I hope to get that dark gray protective covering down, to finish the flower bed, and get some spring flowers out there (whenever spring decides to take the upper hand.)  I also hope to continue to protect my spiritual life with the covering of God’s Word and my relationship with Jesus Christ!  I am certainly hoping for some growth there also!

~~~

Those who go to God Most High for safety will be protected by God All-Powerful.
I will say to the Lord, “You are my place of safety and protection. You are my God, and I trust you.”
He will protect you like a bird spreading its wings over its young. His truth will be like your armor and shield.
(Psalm 91:1,2,4 International Children’s Bible – ICB)

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