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Redbud Writer’s Guild sister Connie Jakab doesn’t toe the cultural line for women, or even what some consider “polite conversation” on purpose.  Following the guidance of the Holy Spirit on her heart and her passion for social justice, she courageously writes and talks about subjects that many people avoid. I love all of this about her!

Connie calls herself a “culture rebel” and is soon to release her first book by that same title.  As a matter of fact, she is publishing chapter one of Culture Rebel on her website on Wednesday, August 15! Click here to check out the chapter and more of Connie’s inspiring writing.

As the August heat bears down on most of us in North America, I hope that Connie’s post will refresh us.

Gardening, Grumbling, Gleaning, & the Master Gardner

by Connie Jakab

A Jakab family tradition is to get out gardening and planting on the May long weekend.  We have lived in my grandparents old house now for six years.  I have wonderful memories of their little yellow house being so cute.   The yard was immaculate, filled with pruned bushes, lush flowerbeds and my favorite, the crabapple tree.   After my grandma’s sudden death, grandpa had no desire to tend their lovely yard.   It’s amazing how only a few years could send it into such a downward spiral.

Photo credit: “Garden prep” by Viewoftheworld at Flickr; rights reserved under Creative Commons lisence.

My patch of flower-bedding was only a small section around the crabapple tree.   Seemed small and harmless enough.    I got on my hands and knees and started to remove the rocks that divided soil and grass.  “EEWWWW!”, I screamed, as I was welcomed by worms, small ants and bugs that resembled centipedes!   My compassionate hubby laughed at me.

I began to dig through the dirt to remove all leftover roots as we have had so many odd looking flowers  begin to grow.  We wanted a “new start” for the backyard, so all roots had to go.

As I dug and dug, root after root after root after root (keep repeating) came to the surface with every dig.   And this was only my first section!   Half way around the tree I exasperatingly expressed to hubby, “HOW am I supposed to get ALL these roots?!”    Compassionate hubby again laughed at me, then realizing he was wearing the gardening gloves, gestured, “Oh, would you like THESE?!” (add another laugh)   I love that guy.

It amazed me that after six years of doing this each spring, there were still SO many roots!  There was one HUGE one (I have no idea how we missed it!).  There were some that went deeeeeeep and I really had to dig to get them out.  And there were so many tiny ones.  Too many for me to attempt to remove.  Many of them are still there under the nicely groomed soil.

As I grumbled and gardened (because those, for me, go together), I felt God teaching me a few more of His ways.   Here’s what I was gleaning;

We all have “roots” that go deep inside of our hearts.  Some roots God wants to keep there because once He waters them in our lives will grow to be beautiful expressions of Him.

Some roots, God needs to remove, because although they would grow into some sort of vegetation (not necessarily good or bad), it doesn’t reflect what God envisions for our lives.  It’s not His best.  He’s got to root it because He believes good isn’t good enough.  He wants to grow His BEST in us.

Some roots in our lives are nasty and were not planted by Him in the first place.  They will grow weeds that choke out His words in our lives, so He needs to remove them.  Some are big. Some are smaller.  Bigger roots go down deeper and need more time and care to remove.  Smaller, damaging roots take time to remove each and every little strand.  But God, unlike myself,  is a patient gardener, and will take the time needed to remove every little root.
God, the master gardener, realizes that if unwanted roots are left in the spring, it won’t be long before it grows into a full-fledged plant. He is gentle and will only remove roots we allow Him to.   If we allow Him to remove the root, a new one can be planted in the fresh soil of our hearts.  If we don’t give Him the go-ahead, He will step back and allow the root to show it’s fruit.

At the end of a long day of gardening, my husband and I took a deep breath as we gazed out at our yard.  It was a rewarding day as we reflected on how far our yard has come since we started 5 years ago.  After a few tree removals, sodding, weeding, replanting, weeding and replanting over again, we are just beginning to see the potential of the quaint little yard I grew up loving.

Likewise, God gazes into our hearts and lives reflecting on all He has done in us the last few years.  What has He done in you?  What has changed in your heart in the last few years?  Can you see the fruit of His labor in your life?  Have you allowed Him to dig in the deepest trenches of your heart?   As painful as it may have been to be uprooted at first, are you now enjoying the freedom from those roots?

Continue to allow the Master Gardener to make a landscaping masterpiece out of your life.  It’s beauty for all to see.

Connie Jakab is the author of the blog, Culture Rebel, which will also be her first book title released in 2012 with others such as “Mommy Culture Rebel,” “Church Culture Rebel” and “Raising Culture Rebels” to follow.  Connie is passionate about rebelling against status quo living and encouraging others to branch out.   The founder of WILD (women impacting lives daily) as well as Mpact, a dance company that produces shows based on social justice issues, Connie drives her passion outward into the arms of those wanting something more radical and meaningful in life. Connie is an active speaker and worship leader, and lives with her husband and two boys in Calgary, Alberta Canada.  She can be found at http://www.facebook.com/conniesmithjakab and on twitter @ConnieJakab and @CultureRebel.