Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad; let the sea resound, and all that is in it. Let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them; let all the trees of the forest sing for joy. Psalms 96:11-12, NIV

If you asked me what my favorite season is I would very quickly reply the fall. There is the smell of the fall air, pumpkins, cool crisp mornings that turn in to nice easy days, festivals, and the turning leaves add beauty that never ceases to amaze me.

But the spring yall. The spring stops me. Leaves me in awe. As the world around us begins to shift and shake itself from its long winters rest, life springs up in great crescendo as all of Creation sings glory to God! With every new piece of evidence that this beautiful season is upon us, a new instrument joins in. Trumpets, grand piano, harp, tuba, flute, cymbals!

Lucky this guy, Punxsutawney Phil, seems to have gotten a good ole fashion swing and a miss when it comes to this year’s prediction. If ever there was proof, it’s the yellow sheen that has covered everything in the last week. A little pollen never got this southern girl down (Ragweed is a different story entirely), and my whole household has been jumping at the chance to come out of our own hibernation. My pups are taking long lazy naps in the grass, my husband is spending hours cleaning out the woods behind out house and my kiddos are having a blast exploring our yard.

This past summer, I did not get to tend to my flower garden quite like I hoped as a result the winter was a little rough on some things. I just knew that some of my flowers would not be coming back. I did all that I could do. I pruned, I mulched, I tended where I could, and I waited.

Even though the temps did drop back down a bit, my sweet garden is filled with life. Little bits of hope springing up all over. Flowers I thought were dead, flowers I thought that I just might have neglected to the point of their ruin. Lucky, their soil saved them. The years that I have spent taking care and making sure good things were in the soil that sustained my beloved flowers in the winter.

Through out God’s Word our hearts are compared to that of a garden. In the parable of the Sower Jesus says, “But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.” The soil of our hearts has to be prepared! It must be softened. It must be good, nutritious soil.

If you are like me your thinking where is this soil? This soil that will help me survive the harsh summers and the cold, fridge winters of my life??

In Ephesians, Paul gives us a bit of insight. “Then Christ will make his home in your hears as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong.” (Ephesians 3:17,NLT) Paul was no stranger to the seasons of life. He had highs and lows, struggles and victories just like we do. There were stonings, jail time, there was that one time that he had to explained to a crowd that he wasn’t a god……

The only thing that will protect us from the harsh, extreme realities of this world is the lavish, grace filled love of Christ. As we make the conscious choice to stop adding things like bitterness, shame, guilt and all those other bits and pieces that poison our hearts soil and instead fill it with God’s love, we will begin to gain the strength of Christ.

Make a point to get into God’s Word. Read His promises. Write them, memorize them and get them deep down into the soil of your heart.

If you are looking for a place to start. If your heart is thirsty for God’s love, if you need someone to explain its fullness and its breath to you, start with Paul in Ephesians. Read his prayer for you and his desire for you to know “how wide, how long, how high and how deep God’s love it” (3:18, NLT)

Be encouraged sweet friend!

in Him,

Ashley