Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Behind the Walls

The Secret Garden was what Mary called it when she was thinking of it. She liked the name, and she liked still more the feeling that when its beautiful old walls shut her in no one knew where she was. It seemed almost like being shut out of the world in some fairy place...

Frances Hodgson Burnett
The Secret Garden

My very favorite of childhood places was "The Public Gardens " in Halifax NS. I remember rolling down the hills with friends on school trips, going for picnics under the seemingly ancient tree limbs, walking the paths and making beautiful discoveries at every bend.

Years later, on my girls' first trip to NS, we met their Grandma in the Public Gardens for our own little tea party, complete with iced tea, a red and white checked picnic blanket, miniature china tea cups and tasty cookies.

From the book I highlighted in my last post, I am making discoveries about the garden of my heart. Though in my physical world I am the very least among gardeners....I am discovering I have quite the intricate garden within my heart. There are some lovely areas that are accessible to almost anyone, filled with fragrant and beautiful flowers. The paths are paved smooth and the view can be quite breath taking.

There are some very productive areas of vegetation from whose abundant harvest I am able to give to and provide for others...even strangers.

In my garden, there is a beautiful secluded gazebo, a place for me to meet with Jesus. It is surrounded by beauty and has been white washed with His blood.

I also imagine there is quite the elaborate labyrinth within my heart...filled with twists and turns that can be really quite confusing...though I find the challenge to be loads of fun.

If you look very carefully past all that has been nurtured and displayed...all that is accessible, there, in the very back corner of my garden is a wall. It is high and strong and heavily fortified, it's gate is so well hidden, I too, have difficulty locating it at times.

If you happen to get close enough to the walled area of my garden, you will find that there are a mix of fragrances that permeate the senses.

Some are sweet and hint of beautiful treasures longing to be discovered...others might be poignant and strong, the stench of which might cause one to withdraw. They speak of weeds and rotten foliage, areas left unattended, (some for many years...others, a life time). I am not sure what all is within this hidden area or how it all got there and into such a state of disarray. Mostly, I have learned to ignore this part of the garden, to walk away from this area and to keep others at a safe enough distance so as to not detect the walls that hide the imperfections of this hidden place.

Behind this impenetrable wall is my secret garden...a place to which I have been known to retreat, where no one knows where I am and which seems to shut out the entire world.

At first, my secret garden is a refuge and a place of safety and solitude. I might even decide to get busy with some of the uprooting and untangling of long neglected and over grown plantings. It doesn't take long though, for the work to seem unmanageable...for those walls of safety to become walls of seclusion and for solitude to turn to loneliness.

In this place of self protection, I unknowingly closed the gate on my Healer as well. Oh, at times He was a welcome guest, but when he tried to uncover or uproot something that was just too painful for me to bare...I pushed Him back outside the gates and declared this part of the garden "Off Limits".

As I grow in intimacy with Him, He is gently pushing open these ancient gates and is leading me to find the treasures hidden beneath the gnarled and thorny branches. Sometimes the uprootings are still quite painful, but watching His strong and capable arms work so lovingly and skillfully, enables me to go through the painful processes and to have hope for the place of beauty He is creating.

I am not sure, I am ready for this part of my heart to become a "public garden", but I am learning with fear and trembling and most importantly the leading of Holy Spirit, to risk opening these recesses of my heart to the ones He has chosen. To those who will not be overwhelmed by the stench or the work, who will look for and find the hidden & forgotten treasures. Who will walk with me, discovering all that is within, encouraging me as we go, yet knowing when the encouragement may need to become a loving rebuke. Some with greater understanding will help me to discern what is of value and needs to be cultured...and what is destructive and needs to be uprooted.

God is teaching me that I need others and that the beauty He is creating is to be shared and that there are trusted ones who will walk and commune with me. As they admire all that is good and lovely, will be willing to stop and gently pull a stray weed that may have gone unnoticed.

My challenge to you is to allow God to walk with you through all of your garden, to help you discover your Secret Garden and to lead you to those who are to walk in the inner place with you and Jesus.


Maureen said...

Absolutely breath takingly written.
I imagined your secret garden,then read your post over again and envisioned mine.
Thank you for this post,because as of late I have left parts of my garden unattended wanting to avoid the hard work of pulling the weeds and just being complacent with staying comfortably in what I see.
Neglecting to tend what could be.

Shaun and Holly said...

I love you Jenny!!

Tamatha said...

Wow! I hung on every word..not wanting to stop reading till the very end of your post. At times I felt as though you were writing about me...even though I knew you were not. In a way I guess it is the same story for everyone...we just have different areas and unique gardens of our own.

I have been longing for more intimacy with Him as of late. p.s. I have your book!...will return it next time I see you!

Tamatha said...

p.p.s. Thanks for your encouraging words on my blog today. :o)