By Mariah Schultz
Almost three years ago, a dear friend of mine told me that, while praying with me, she had seen the garden of my heart and that it had beautiful flowers. As she told me about her experience of my heart garden, I imagined a small and neat garden full of tulips. She told me that she watched the flowers get torn out of the garden, and Jesus planted a tree there instead. The flowers were beautiful, but not very strong. A tree’s beauty is in its strength, and the Lord wanted to strengthen my faith and spirituality. She encouraged me to spend the summer diving into attending daily mass and praying the rosary, so that’s what I did.
As the years have passed, I’ve thought about this often. This past spring, Jesus placed truth in my heart using this same analogy (man, he knows this English major so well). At that time, I looked at my heart garden, and it wasn’t pretty like it was before. I found that it is pretty in a new way. Now when I look at my heart as a garden, there are trees and a lot of greenness. I see the Master Gardener at work in the little bit of soil I have to give. He has put in paths and a nice bench in the middle of it all where he lets me sit and enjoy the wonder and beauty he has brought to life there. I think the bench is next to that tree my friend told me about.
Jesus is kind enough to never go past the places I’ve said “yes” to him working on. He asks often for more of my land but never pushes me into giving it to him; nor does he get mad when I’m not feeling ready. He waits patiently, gives encouragement, and often shows me how much and how fully he loves me. He is so trustworthy, and I’m working on letting him have more space. I hope someday I can tell you that my whole heart is his garden, unique and beautiful. (Life is a journey, am I right?)
What does the garden of your heart look like? There’s no right answer to that question. I challenge you this week to take a look into your heart garden. Be fearless—maybe it is not as pretty as you had hoped, maybe there are flowers that make you sneeze. Ask who planted what. Ask the Master Gardener to remove anything that should not be there. Even telling Jesus that you want to want him to uproot the plants that should not be there is enough. It is enough because it is a beautiful first step toward letting the Jesus do what he wants, which will always be the best for you.
The Master Gardener wants only what is best for your heart garden.
When he is working there, he will settle for nothing less.