We had a great weekend with friends we’ve had for many years. Several weeks ago, we planned this weekend to converge in Orlando, traveling from the north, west and south of Florida. Outside of one couple having to return home yesterday morning because of their son getting sick, the weekend went off without a hitch. The weather was perfect and the company was great. I appreciate and admire each of these people.

Last night, after the unpacking and the showers, W and I were talking about friends and family and things of that nature. In short, there is just no reason to expose yourself to people (or things, for that matter) that aren’t good for you. I’m not referring to bad people; I’m referring to people who aren’t good for you. It’s all about recognizing the different seasons of our life.

Just like seasons throughout the year, there’s a good time to plant certain trees and certain annuals in our yards. It’s a timing thing…and some things in our yards aren’t meant to last forever; they’re seasonal in nature and that’s just the design of it. That’s just the beauty of it.

Our hearts are like gardens, I think. We have to be attentive and deliberate in the care of our hearts to keep out harmful things and our hearts are always a work in progress. When do you ever look at your clean house or freshly landscaped yard and think, “Well, that’s it. I am completely done and will never have to pick up another mop or rake or vacuum again.”  Wishful thinking…it’s an ongoing process. Step away for a short period of time and watch the yard begin to look neglected. Ignore the early signs and instead of maintenance, you’ll be carving out dedicated, lengthy time to go in and repair the damage the neglect has caused. My heart needed some maintenance a few years ago and I didn’t see the signs so now I try to catch it early on…weeding, fertilizing, watering….reading the bible, spending time with God, sowing seeds. It all correlates.

“There is a very real spiritual battle that is going on in the life of every Christian and it revolves around your spiritual “garden,” which is the ground of your heart. The enemy is constantly seeking to overtake believers’ lives by planting the wrong kinds of seeds within them. He does this through thoughts that are designed to create wrong images in their minds. As a soldier in the army of the Lord, it is your responsibility to vigilantly guard your heart and mind with the Word of God. This will keep the weeds out of your garden and ensure that the seed of God’s Word grows up in your life to produce an abundant harvest.”

I am thankful for the people in my life who have been the beautiful, blooming roses and I understand that roses don’t last forever. I really, really didn’t get that until my 40’s.   I am also thankful for the people in my life who have been the solid oaks and what they’re strength and stability signifies.

Mostly, I’m thankful that I can recognize the beauty of each and accept it for what it is.

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