It’s midday in the garden, the sun is at it’s highest peak beaming down on me and sweat drips to the ground. My hands accrue dirt as time goes on and the moisture of the ground keep them that way. Dirty. As I cultivate, my hands stay steady collecting dirt, they’re working, they’re finding their way, they’re exploring, they’re uncovering new things, a game of hide and seek from seeds planted years before.

And so goes the Garden of our heart.

You plant. You water. You tend. Weeds grow. Sometimes we forget to prune them. More weeds grow. We get entangled. Doubts, fears, anxious thoughts, greed, lust, anger, unforgiveness, helplessness — it’s easy to feel trapped, engulfed, entangled in weeds that don’t deserve to take root. They sneak it quietly. They wrap around your good intentions, your faith, the very reason you were put on this earth and they squeeze the life out of every good thing you had envisioned. You grasp for air. You’re sinking and the weeds are pulling you under into the darkness of the earth. How do you get out of this place? What do you do? Fight or flight.

This scene replays in my head like bad memories of my past seeing the ways the enemy had hold on my life and pin pointing the exact moments those weeds controlled me, my life, my passions, my dreams. And just when I forgive myself of my past here come new weeds ready to attack. So, what do we do?

We constantly prune. Not in the obsessive “what’s coming after me” way, but in the “what am I allowing in my heart” kind of way. It’s what we allow that takes root in our hearts. Being aware of your thoughts. Asking God to help, always.

… and so, I’ve gotten pretty comfortable with dirty hands as dirty hands means that I’m pruning and sometimes the weeds take hold and I’m reminded I need to lean more on Him. I’ve gotten comfortable knowing that things will never look perfect and after years I’ve finally found joy in the pruning process.

When I prune with dirty hands, I can lead with a clean heart. When I can lead with a clean heart, real change and break through can happen.

Here we are, friends… in the garden together and some days are lighter, some days are heavier, but one thing remains.

We are never alone.

He takes our dirty hands and prunes with us. He gets down in the soil with us. He makes the process perfect. He sees the weeds we allow. He sees the unforgiveness, the guilt, the shame and He takes our dirty hand in His and lightens the load those weeds bring by uprooting them from our dirty hearts. We can breathe freely again.

A new day begins and the sun beams down on us. Nothing is lost and everything is gained.

Oh, the things He can do with dirty hands and unclean hearts.