Hey there! How is everyone? We’re a bit out from Easter Sunday, but still in the Easter season. I love this! Grab a glass of sweet tea, and a comfy place to relax. Maybe out on the sun porch, or in that swing over there. Take a deep breath, and relax. Smell the sweetness of the flowers, hear the buzzing of the bees and the chirping of the birds!
It reminds me of the verse from a hymn by Cecil Alexander: “All things bright and beautiful, All creatures great and small, All things wise and wonderful, and the Lord God made them all.” If you’d like to read the rest, click here.
But sometimes in the garden, between the beautiful blossoms, there is a weed. A weed of sorrow, a weed of loss, a weed of regret. Sometimes there is sadness in the garden of our life. I know several people who have lost loved ones in the past month or so, and several more who have lost a spouse of 40 or 50 years in the past year. It’s hard to have Easter Joy when your heart is hurting so badly. I’m not about to sit here and tell anyone in those life circumstances to ‘chin up, smile, the joy is there!’ If you are in that situation, please know that you don’t have to suffer in silence, alone. Many churches or hospice organizations have grief support groups, or can steer you to a good grief counselor. And don’t let anyone put you on a timetable – there isn’t one. Unless it’s been several years and you are ‘stuck’. Again, a good grief support group or grief counselor can help get you ‘unstuck’ so you can begin to heal from the loss and move forward with your life.
For the rest of us, sometimes there’s a weed that needs to be pulled up. A weed of sorrow over a life situation, or a family member or any number of things. Maybe we’ve lost someone and we’re not stuck in grief, but we have regrets. Things we should have said, things we should have done, times we weren’t there for that person. Maybe we regret decisions we’ve made – or failed to make – so we’re missing joy. Maybe we’ve just let the weeds take the garden out of frustration or despair. Maybe these are new little weeds, or maybe they look like trees, they’ve been there so long. Not to worry!
I know a great Master Gardener. He can help with those pesky weeds, even if they’ve taken over the entire flower bed of our lives. It may all look dead and overgrown. We just need to allow Him to remove those things that are keeping the real flowers from blooming their best and brightest!
The Beatitudes in Matthew, Chapters 5-7, is a great guide. Once we’ve taken some inventory and want to clean up our garden, we need to take those things to the Master Gardener – to Jesus. Show Him what you see in there, and ask Him to clean it up. He will roll up His sleeves and go to work, helping sort it all out, cleaning up the weeds, and planting new seed that will bring gorgeous flowers of love, peace and joy. Even if you only have a couple of ‘little weeds’, He can transform the garden in amazing ways!
If your joy has seemed dead, or the garden of your life seems hopeless, let the Master Gardener, Jesus, resurrect the bright blooms of joy in your life. He’s right there, waiting to help you pull the weeds, then add the water and the sunshine so plants of joy can flourish.
If you need a little help, find a pastor or priest. Even if it’s been a really, really, really long time, don’t be afraid. I have a couple of friends who came back after 20 years this Easter season. Their joy is astounding!
No matter what it is that’s keeping you down, the power of the Resurrection can restore that joy. Joy isn’t temporary happiness; it doesn’t depend on our circumstances. Joy is a deep wellspring that bubbles up even in the middle of the worst circumstances. If we allow it, joy is unstoppable. Little things just appear in the midst of our lives. A ladybug or two on a daisy. A butterfly, a gorgeous sunset. Getting a hug or giving a hug to a friend. A beloved pet, a grandchild’s laugh.
Let Jesus help you weed the flower bed, and resurrect your joy!