Discipleship,  Summer

Goatheads in My Garden

Anyone who lives in the west is well-acquainted with the hatred of goatheads! They are much more than a nuisance – they’re basically the plant version of a terrorist, with their long, sprawling stems and hard, sharp balls covered with thorns hidden underneath. They’re common in our climate, but somehow, until this week, we hadn’t yet had a run-in with them on our homestead.

So the other day, I was weeding in my garden without gloves as I tend to be (I do have gloves, I just never think to grab them before I get working – that’s probably an object lesson for another day!). I had been working for a while, cleaning up around my tomatoes, when I felt a sharp and strong stab in my finger. I yelped out in pain and pulled back, then began to investigate to see what happened. I looked at the bunch of weeds I had been pulling to find a goathead in the mix.

I called out a warning to my kids who were helping me, and began assessing the situation. I quickly realized that there were goatheads in EVERY bed around the outside of the garden, and they were spreading inward.

My day’s work plan quickly changed as clearing them out became my highest priority. I spent the next hour very carefully removing all the plants with their roots. The largest plants were 4′ in diameter!

As I was working, I thought about what kind of lessons can be learned from my ordeal. I thought of a few, but I want to share the most vivid one with you.

In my garden, the goatheads had taken over the outer beds that I didn’t plant in this year. And they were encroaching on and spreading to the inner beds that are planted, ready to invade and steal all the space and nutrients from my vegetables.

In the lives of my children, it is incredibly important to guard and protect them from invading “weeds.” These weeds might take the form of ungodly influences in people or entertainment, or they might be as subtle as unhealthy thought patterns. Just as I need to keep the area around my garden clear of weeds to ensure that the weeds don’t invade the garden when my back is turned, I need to put a “fence” around my children – and honestly, I need to do the same thing for myself as well. Just because we’re strong in our faith doesn’t mean that powerful “weeds” can’t come in and ensnare us if we’re not guarding ourselves against them.

Let’s be wise and on guard. No one is immune to attack and invasion.

Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8


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