Before You Plant {More Quotes and Questions || Lent~Week 2}

Before You Plant {More Quotes and Questions || Lent~Week 2}


It’s about that time here in the South.  We’re a month away from what they tell me is the best time to plant our flowers for the new season.  With that in the forecast, my husband and I have planned a day to get the flower beds ready …rake …weed …break off the dead wood from the perennials who are beginning to wake from winter’s rest …prepare new flower beds and garden areas …re-design …stir up …rejuvenate  the soil.

Maybe that’s exactly what these 40 days before Easter — the Lenten Season — is supposed to be about as well.

Consider your heart, mind and soul like the soil of your flower garden. 

Long-time perennials of truth embedded in our hearts come back to life after a much-needed dormant season of rest– showing off the best of God’s glory in colorful  blooms and luscious fruit along with the brightest of green of the new growth from winter’s lessons learned.

New plants growing from our experiences through joy and suffering were added to fill in color, add height or depth to the landscape of God’s design.  Annuals, much like those people or opportunities who come into your life only for a short season,  were added to round out  a beautiful bouquet and a brilliant flower arrangement.   Short-lived but oh so worth it!

Lent gives us pause to consider our heart-soil.  What did we plant last year that needs to be uprooted?  Bitterness?  Jealousy?  Lack of compassion?  Anger?  Anxiety?  (ouch!!)  Control?  Expectations?  Easily offended attitudes?  Selfishness?  Hoarding?  Obsessive compulsiveness?  (ouch again!)  Unteachable?  Unreachable?  Fearful? Lack of concern for the poor?  Storing up treasures here instead of God’s Kingdom?   Addiction to man’s approval?  False assumptions? Judgmentalism?  Unforgiveness?  Pride?    (You can add more but my toes are sore already!)

Here’s a prayer for us to pray as we ask God to search the soil of our hearts and see if there are roots of bitterness or weeds of worry that need to be revealed and removed so that our heart-bed is ready for a new season of planting.  {Print this visual or create your own and tape it to your bathroom mirror if you need to for regular check-ups.}

Take a step into the freedom God is offering you as you humbly ask Him, “Search me …Know my heart …test me …know my anxious thoughts …point out …LEAD ME.” 

But there’s another quote that stirred my soul-soil…

“The way we do anything is the way that we do everything.”

(Martha Beck)

I heard this quote while doing a beginner’s  yoga video with Caroline Williams.  While instructing, she suggested that “the way we approach this stretch is the way we approach conflict in our lives, fear during transition, uncertainty about money or jobs or friendships. …When we approach with grace, ease, faith …wait on the Lord …He’ll fight for us.”

Think about that a minute.  How do you approach a time of personal evaluation?  Defensively or in humble dependence?  Self-centered or seeking God’s heart? Arrogant or in awe of God’s grace?  Teachable or throwing a tantrum?   Stubborn or surrendered?  Loud or listening?  Desire to learn or a determination to lecture about your opinion?  Control or contrite?  Or if you’re like me,  maybe a little bit of all of the above. #real

So maybe this gives you plenty of quotes and questions to work through during this second week of Lent.  Grab your journal and a Bible and write out your thoughts.  What question or quote jumped out at you the most?  Write about that.  Wrestle that out with God.  Look up a verse that speaks truth into that question or wrestling.  Write that down as well.  Ask a trusted friend or family member  to walk with you through these questions to help you process your thoughts.

Dig deeper into the truth of God’s word.  Allow the Holy Spirit to water it to reveal what your heart-soil needs most.  Ask God to give you good friends who can act as nutritional fertilizer to scatter  truth and encouragement …and sometimes a tough, loving word that might be needed.    Be patient as the fruit begins to grow.  There’s a lot of life-giving work going on beneath the top-soil.  Believe it.  Trust the Holy Spirit with the process.

I pray that your soul awakes to new life this season.  Winter has been long and spring may seem slow to arrive.  Take heart weary travelers and wandering souls.  The resurrection is coming!  

Joy Waters Martin

My kids tease me sometimes that my definition of a situation going well is often described as, "It was 'life-giving' " -- meaning, it may have had some conflicts or uneasy moments or stress but all in all , something about it breathed life into the situation and the people involved...something of the heart was moved in a good direction. I'm all about LIFE ... life with my husband, life with 4 adult children, their spouses and 8 grandchildren (to date, that is :), life in our home and life in a wild adventure we tend to label "ministry". In reality , all of these categories mesh together to make up the "organic me". Relational , redeeming and restoring are some of my favorite words and they give life to my soul as I walk it all out with Jesus Christ, the Giver of all life. Profile Photo by: Melody Martin

This Post Has 10 Comments

  1. Gail

    Hi Joy,
    I just wanted to let you know that I’ve attempted three times to “follow” your blog and it’s not working. When I click follow, it says I will get an email notification but I never did the three times I tried. I just thought I would let you know, because if I’m not able to follow you, I’m thinking others might be having trouble too. There was a support link to click if I did not get the email so I did click that and explained I was trying to follow your blog but it wasn’t working. I got an email from wordpress saying they posted my question to a forum but it looks like it is saying I am having trouble following my own blog (instead of yours).

    1. Joy Waters Martin

      Gail …thanks so much for letting me know. I’ll do some research as well and see what I can find out. Did you use the subscribe space toward the top of the blog page?

      1. Gail

        I clicked the follow button at the top (under your photo) the first two times and then the follow button at the bottom of your page the third time.

        1. Joy Waters Martin

          Ok… checking into it today. So sorry… but thanks for trying and for letting me know.

          1. Gail

            You are welcome and sorry for the trouble. I bookmarked your blog so I’ll still be reading. 🙂

          2. Joy Waters Martin

            You are so kind. Somehow this will bond us for life 😁

    2. Joy Waters Martin

      Hey Gail, I went through the process myself and I’m wondering if this will help.
      First of all, check the blogs you’re following via WordPress “Reader”. Those don’t show up in your e-mail inbox. They’re just in your “Reader” feed. If you’re “following” via Reader, “unfollow” there. Next, sign out of your own WordPress account and then go to my blog site and follow via the e-mail subscription follow button under my picture. If this doesn’t work, let me know. I’ll research more 😉 Thanks so much for taking the time to even reach out. That means so much. God’s blessings on the process forward for both of us!

      1. Gail

        I’ll try this and see what happens! Thanks for your help.

      2. Gail

        Well, I tried it again and I put my email in and a box pops up as in the previous times that says: “Thanks for subscribing! You’ll get an email with a link to confirm your subscription. If you don’t get it, please contact us. ”

        I’ll give it a little more time but I don’t think it took this time either as it’s not showing me as following your blog and there’s no email. I know hitting “contact us” doesn’t help because it just sends my question to a support forum where nothing happens. It’s not showing me following you in my Reader. I’ve never had this problem before so not sure what’s going on.

Go for it! Leave a comment. :-)