These words, “You’re making my heart a garden”, although an awesome song by Matt Maher, are also the perfect metaphor for my walk with Christ. My conversion began when I chose to follow a boy to a brand new city where I had no friends, no job, and an empty town house to myself. It was only when Jesus stripped away all of my comforts and left me with nothing, that I found myself needing Him. So, I did what all 21 year olds with a BS from Florida State do post-graduation- I volunteered at the local parish pulling weeds during the middle of summer.
What I used as a time-filler eventually became my gateway to a job that changed my life and my heart. I became the 4th grade teacher at that parish’s Catholic school. Christ thrust me into a job that I was ill-equipped to handle and had me teaching a religion I had half-heartedly been claiming as my own to 4th and 5th grade twice a day for an hour. He had me relearn my faith from the eyes of 9 and 10 year olds and called me back to full communion with Him. Time passed, wounds were revealed, and changes to my life were made.
Although this is the extreme short version of my testimony, I must reveal that these changes were painful and difficult. Christ was ‘pulling the weeds’, the sins, the ideologies of the world that I clung to, out of my heart and mind. Some roots ran deep, and because of my stubbornness, took much force to remove. In fact, these changes are still occurring. Jesus is still working hard on my heart, laying the groundwork for more malleable soil in which He can plant virtues, sound morals, and His Word.
Like any garden, this process takes time, effort, and much care. I must continually uproot any and all things from my life that threaten to choke out Jesus’ work, and I must water the freshly planted seeds of faith and trust that He has sown. Over time, I hope to reveal a beautiful, flourishing garden within my soul that fosters all growth that the Lord places within me. My greatest struggle is accepting the slow, steady pace of change and maturation in my walk with Christ but, I must have patience knowing that He is still at work in me.
“And the Lord will guide you continually, and satisfy your desire with good things, and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters fail not. And your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt; then you shall take delight in the Lord. Those who wait for me shall not be put to shame.” Isaiah 58:11, 12A, 14; Isaiah 49:23