Roy in his seventies with his white converse sneakers and penchant for memorizing poetry, built me my first garden. He was a farmer with a gift for evangelism, building gardens throughout his neighborhood, handing out Jesus as they raked up the soil. He always threw in a few Wendell Berry lines for free.
Roy built my simple boxes in his garage, then leveled the ground with sand next to my driveway where the Michigan sun shone strongest. When he backed up his white pick-up truck up the driveway of the yellow cottage, he took me for a tour of the soil. And yes, I said “soil.”
It was gourmet dirt, if there is such a thing, straight from an organic farmer in Fennville. “Look at the hummus clumps” and, “Summer, check out all the earth worms. That’s how you know it’s healthy dirt, when you see all the worms.”
We don’t have many earthworms down here, not that I can tell. Our new soil is red clay and dry with drainage issues. A plant could drown in it’s own water. The assistant at the nursery looked at me pityingly when I asked what I needed to do to amend the soil here in GA.
“Honey, you all but replace it,” she said. Then she gestured toward the lamb’s ears in my hand, “You can’t grow anything like that in our clay. You just dig a hole twice the size of the quart and pour in the amended potting soil. Then you’ve got half a chance for it to live.”
Abundant harvests require good soil. But good soil doesn’t just happen. It’s tilled and stirred with nourishment.
Moving leaves me raw and self-protecting, a paved sidewalk of a life, vulnerable to the enemy. Two weeks ago Andrew was on his way to a conference and I blurted out: “Can we go home now? I’m done with this moving thing.” He stared at me, unsure of what to say. As soon as the words were spilled on the floor, the tears started flowing…and didn’t stop for four days. For four days I could barely lift my head off the pillow, could hardly breathe.
Day four, mom reminded me to sleep with bread, to meditate on Scripture before I fell asleep at night. Neuroscientists tell us that by meditating on a single subject, we can tell our brains what to use as a lens to process with throughout the night hours.
Desperate for peace, that first night I sensed God directing me to choose Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” I awoke the next morning with the first seedlings of hope and without bands of despair wrapped tight around my mind.
The next day I found Psalm 27:13 tucked into the Daily Office, “I am confident of this, that I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.” It has become my song, my prayer, my thanksgiving, the preparation for a new life leaning on God’s faithfulness.
Soul work leans hard on Word work. It’s the tilling of the soil, the preparation for seed. And good tilling requires patient repetition.
But Word work is more than just memorization, more than just begging our minds to memorize a logical algorhithm.
Word work becomes more than just a formula when it’s done in God’s presence, with God. It is then that meditation becomes conversation.
It becomes preparation for a life ready to love again.
Day 3 Action: You, friend, are you craving hope? Do you find yourself stuck in depression, fear or discontent? Claim a Scripture to meditate on. Then tomorrow too and go to sleep with it…and the next day…and don’t stop. This will be an essential foundation for the rest of what the Lord wants to do in us through this 31 day journey. Each day ask the Lord to reveal a Scripture that will transform your perspective on your circumstances or perhaps just one all 31 days. We are preparing the soil…by retraining the mind.
Proverbs 23:18 “There is surely a future hope for you, and your hope will not cut off.”
Micah 7:7 “I watch in hope for the Lord, I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me.”
Philippians 1:6 “You can be confident that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Jesus Christ.
Go on a hunt…and share with us here.
Leave a comment in the Conversation section. What scripture most connects with you right where you are?
We’re in 31 days of writing, journeying toward falling in love with our zipcode. Want to travel along? Slip your email into the CONNECT box on the front page. I promise, it’s safe with me.