Last year, we had a beautiful vegetable garden. It was a labor of love that my husband meticulously planned on paper so he could have the proper spacing, soil balance and growth. It was probably the most easily accessible garden we have even had to date and it was also the most productive. I miss that time.
I say “I miss that time” because I feel like kind of resemble that garden. For years, I had time of wading through God’s Word in the morning before the kids went to school, was part of a ladies Bible study group, guarded prayer time and sat here before the computer and poured out the things God wanted me to share. I had the proper soil balance and growth- if you will. That is not where I am now and am spiritually depleted. Physically, I have seen changes, too. The busier schedule has resulted (ironically) in less exercise and fast eating…and the addition of many extra pounds. I feel distant…and fat.
Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint; but blessed is he who keeps the law.
Just before Winter, my hubby had researched “cover crops”. These are things that you plant to enrich the soil as well as keep down weed growth in the off-season. It also, theoretically, makes for an easy start-up in the Spring. Low maintenance! After his research, he chose oats. I wish I had a picture to share. When the oats grew it was beautiful! They were a rich amber color that seemed to ripple like waves of water in the wind. In the cruise control of “low maintenance living” I didn’t see the battle lines that were being drawn all around.
This Spring, I fired up the lawn tractor for the first time. I put the tunes in my ears, hat on my head and took her for a spin. When I engaged the blades to start edging around the garden plot, I saw a wave out of the corner of my eye. Not of amber oats! This wave was brown. I depressed the brake and watched as some sixty little voles scurried through the garden. We had been invaded! Voles are cute (except when they are in my space). They are a relative of mice, have shorter tails and kinda dig like moles but leave no trace except a few small holes in the mulch and ground. They eat bulbs, roots, worms and other things…OATS it seems. This revelation gave us (and our neighbors) a wake up call. This explained why our neighbor’s tree died last year, this was the answer to the question, “What are those holes in my flowerbed?”. It also gave us fresh perspective on some behavior our crazy dog was engaging in this Winter. He was going into the garden and rolling in the oats! Ha ha ha It was like he was making crop circles and snow angels…minus the snow.
Let’s move across the street for a moment. I can’t remember if I told you a few years ago about the water retention pond across from our home. There was a battle there, too. The builder installed a sub-par water retention pond that has never been able to hold water. The improper installation and lack of maintenance also caused erosion on the farm behind it at one point and there was a legal remedy to all of that. Yet, somehow that area was quietly released to the care, custody and control of the residents in our neighborhood to maintain in the late 90s and nobody even knew about it. Before we moved in 15 years ago, it was already an overgrown forest. The county came to the residents a few years back and smacked the residents of our neighborhood with the notion that the water retention area was ours to collectively maintain AND we would have to raise and spend thousands of dollars to clear this area by a certain deadline – and keep it that way in the years and years to come. Wait…here’s the kicker…they also revealed that there were TWO areas. One we thought was just am empty lot. What a surprise! We personally have dumped over a thousand dollars in those holes out there. And – it would seem- displaced a colony of voles in the process. In 15 years we have never seen a vole…until that area was cleared, that is. It stings a little to say. We paid for one problem and caused another.
In our effort to find a low maintenance solution to weeds in the garden over the Winter, it was like we slapped up a neon hotel sign for little creatures who had been kicked out of their home. Laziness paved the way for a silent invasion that we never saw coming. Laying a cover crop may look like a good way to keep the weeds down, but may become a breeding ground for silent invaders.
Spiritual (and physical) life is not much different. Cruise control is a dangerous place to be if you fall asleep at the wheel. Proper maintenance…daily bread and steady walk…pulling weeds of sin. In an effort to contribute financially to our home, I took a part-time job at school. The initial job offering was an answer to prayer, but I took on more responsibilities after the fact and that threw everything off. I pulled away from group study, don’t have adequate morning time and relationships/friendships are non-existent. Now I am spiritually depleted with an anemic prayer life and find myself surrounded by silent invaders. I am spiritually and physically unhealthy.
Then, yesterday, I read that verse in Proverbs. I have not had much in the area of spiritual revelation in a while. Far from the Word and prayer and time with the Lord. TRUTH: Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint.
If I am not walking with God, I get loose. Standards slip, focus becomes more inward that UPward, I am tempted to look to my own interests instead of the interests of others (contrary to Philippians 2) and I don’t have the blessing of revelation from the Holy Spirit. No wonder I have not had a lot to say here on this blog.
So be careful with those cover crops. Man-made solutions and laziness. A relationship and daily walk with Jesus is the only adequate defense against the consequences of sin.
Now…about those voles…
We won’t have a garden this year. No fruit. We have a battle to wage to restore that plot of land to health. The fruit that comes to this garden will be shared, not stolen. So off to battle I go.