Michelle’s Story

I love to be outside in the dirt. Barefooted, usually. I love digging, planting, watching things grow. I’m not afraid to sweat or get dirty. I have callouses on my hands and feet. They build over time, protecting tender skin from the abuse of the elements and the tools I use.

garden sunset

The calloused heart I possessed was also built over time, protecting me from physical, emotional, and spiritual abuse I endured by the people who were supposed to ‘love’ me. The tender heart spoken of by Jesus, the soft, fertile ground of the heart that accepts the seeds He throws out and thrives–this was not my heart. Mine was the rocky one. The one the seeds hit and bounced off of, washed away by the rain.

Can one cultivate sheer rock into fertile, black dirt, full of nutrients and minerals? I’ll tell you, after all my years of gardening, I don’t think I could make a garden on top of sheer rock grow.

 

 

I will gather you from the peoples and assemble you out of the countries where you have been scattered, and I will give back to you the land of Israel.

And when {you} return there, {you} shall take away from it all traces of its detestable things and all its abominations (sex impurities and heathen religious practices).

And I will give {you} one heart [a new heart] and I will put a new spirit within {you}; and I will take the stony [unnaturally hardened] heart out of {your} flesh, and will give {you} a heart of flesh [sensitive and responsive to the touch of {your} God],

That {you} may walk in My statutes and keep My ordinances, and do them. And {you} shall be My people, and I will be {your} God.

 

 

It doesn’t happen overnight. And it’s not easy-peasy-peachy-keen either. But I guess the nice, fertile, black dirt didn’t happen easily. Silt is some pretty fertile dirt. And y’know how it gets to be silt? Abrasion through transport. It is carried along, bounced in the river water, forced along, Or–glacial grinding, “Where glaciers slide over bedrock, they pick up grit, gravel and even large boulders. These are incorporated into the base of a glacier and grind away at the bedrock over which the glacier flows. Rock flour is fine-grained sediment, mostly silt, produced from the grinding of rock on rock under the weight of a glacier.”

Grinding the rock under the weight of a glacier.

Abrasion through transport.

So you mean to tell me all of the abuse I went through, God knew it would produce a soft, tender, fertile heart? And am I supposed to be ok with that? With having to bear the hardships, the atrocities? With believing I was alone in the world?

I remember as a child I used to proclaim that I had to take care of myself, otherwise no one else would and my life motto was: hope for the best, but expect the worst. And the worst was typically what I got in situations. Negativity was a layer of my calloused heart. Being negative protected me from being let down. If I didn’t expect anything, and I got nothing, I got what I expected and I could deal with that. What I couldn’t cope with was setting my expectations on something only to have those hopes dashed.

Twenty years ago, God started courting me. Giving me gifts. Sending me love notes. Affirming my existence. Loving me.

But I didn’t trust Him, didn’t believe Him, didn’t want to accept His gifts much less His love.

I had a dream many years ago. Jesus told me that I possess everything I need. “Now go,” He said.

Everything I have for what? What is everything? Go where?

Here?

Here.

garden sunset2

He has been teaching me through the years that it’s ok to be me. He made me this way for a purpose and instead of fighting who I am I have been learning that I already possess everything I need. Just like He told me. And I don’t even have to strive to be more like Him. What I really need to do is abide in Him and as I learn to abide, He gives His lifeblood to me and I blink and there’s a harvest. The fruit is so plentiful, it’s beyond measure.

So the answer is yes. God can cultivate soft, fertile soil out of the hardest of hearts.

And here is where I’ll share that journey.

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