Monthly Archives: October 2022

What’s Your Soil Like?

I love a good visual aide for learning. Take a look at these root clumps that I recently lifted from my dahlias. I’ve placed them on a paper dinner plate for size reference.

Purple Dahlia Tuber #1
Purple Dahlia Tuber #2
Red Dahlia Tuber #1
Red Dahlia Tuber #2

These two sets of clumps are the exact same variety of flower and each originated from a single tuber that I planted. They were packaged together and likely came from the same original clump of tubers that was split. But look at the size difference after one growing season. I was astonished by the amount of growth in the bigger sets.  What is the singular difference between the tuber that grew into a large clump and the tuber whose growth was small and stunted?

The soil.  

The larger clumps developed from a single tuber planted in a newly turned garden area of rich soil. The smaller clumps came out of my infamous hillside garden full of dry sandy soil. It’s easy to tell which soil was a better growing environment for the tubers.  

This got me thinking about my own growth as a wife, mother, and follower of Jesus. If I took a look, would I be astonished by the amount of growth that’s happened in the past seven months? Or would I find only meager progress and limited life developing? What is the quality of my growing environment, or my soil, if you will?  

If I am assessing my actual garden soil, I am going to consider its contents and whether it has the right nutrients for good plant growth, things like nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus. If my soil is deficient in these things, then despite my watering of the plants, and the hours of sunlight the plants receive, the growth will not happen. Both of my tubers pictured received the same amount of sunlight and water, but the growth outcome was very different. The soil is the key.  

What is the soil of my life like? What are the key ingredients that make up my growing environment? Does it have key nutrients like prayer, rest, solitude, time in the Word of God, service, healthy boundaries? If these ingredients are lacking, then for me, growth will also be lacking.  

Or is my soil comprised of anxious thoughts, busyness and weariness (they go hand in hand!), selfishness, toxic relationships, constant noise, fear, anger, comparison? The list goes on an on, and for you maybe the toxic soil composition is different – substance abuse, obsession with something, addiction, perfectionism, critical thoughts, stress. There are many killing ingredients we can allow to be in our soil that will inhibit our growth. 

If today you’re assessing your own growth and your own soil and you find it lacking healthy nutrients, then start making small changes. (Too many abrupt changes for a plant can also lead to its demise!) One step is a good step. It doesn’t need to be many steps or big steps to make a big difference. Look at the good list above – what can you add to your environment? Worship music playing quietly in your home in the morning as everyone is starting their day? A faith-based podcast on your commute? A weekend free of event after event so that you can rest? A 15-minute devotion to end your day? Setting aside your phone for an afternoon regardless of who is texting you for emotional support? (You don’t have to be at everyone’s beck and call 24 hours a day!)

Boundaries are healthy. Rest is healthy. Solitude is healthy. Time in God’s presence (prayer, worship, Word) is healthy.

If you want to see more growth, try adding some of these things to your soil. When you reassess in a few months, I pray you are surprised to find bountiful growth, producing beautiful fruit in your own life!  

“But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.” (Luke 8:15) 

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5) 

“Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress.” (I Timothy 4:15) 

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” (Galatians 6:9)

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The Backpack

It’s been a few months since I’ve made time for blogging. Life got real lifey this summer when we had some major changes taking place with close family members. On top of that, the littlest Burleigh started preschool this fall, so I’ve added an additional drop off and pick up location and time to the Mom Taxi service schedule. How can one little change like that make us moms feel like we’re running around with our hair on fire!? Writing took a backseat while I processed a lot of these late summer changes. Some of the things we were going through weren’t really mine to share first, and I owed it to my family members to let them share on their own timeline.


To be honest, I didn’t also know what to write about or how to begin processing the weight that I was feeling, in particular from my mom’s cancer diagnosis, among the other shifts happening in our life. I just felt heavy.


I didn’t stop pressing in to my faith through all of this, even though I paused writing about it. So now I want to share part of what I learned in hopes that it will help someone else who’s lugging around some heaviness in their life.


I love a good object lesson, and the one that God impressed on me in this season was a backpack. I was carrying around many heavy things in my metaphorical backpack. In particular, I felt very burdened about my mom’s health. We had a lot of big decisions to make regarding her treatment plan.  It’s also not easy to consider and to face the mortality of our parents. This among other things was the heaviness I was feeling, just like an overloaded, weighty backpack.


The Scripture that I have clung to in this intense season we have been going through is Matthew 11:28-30. It has come up continually and everywhere in my life. The verses say, “Come to me all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”


Through this Scripture, I felt God asking me to take off my backpack. Big problems and small problems alike, He showed me that none of these were my burdens to carry. Jesus offers me his yoke, his way to bear the weight of my problems – it’s through entrusting them to him.


The problems of life will never go away – we live in a broken world. But if we continue to carry the weight of our problems, have we truly entrusted them to him? Is there really such a thing as “trying” to trust God? As my five-year-old pointed out at random one day in the car, we either do trust, or we don’t! There’s no in between. You’re either bearing the weight of the backpack, or you’re not.


Jesus offers us a better way to live in the midst of our trials, that’s his yoke, and according to his words, it’s easy. When we trust him with the weight of our burdens, things that truly are not ours to carry in the first place, we can experience the rest he described in Matthew.


As I chose trust, I began to experience God’s peace. As I began to focus on all that is true about God and all that he is able to do, the weight that I was carrying lifted. I decided that no matter what I did, or what we decided, God was able to handle the outcome. There wasn’t any wrong decision we could make that would be impossible for him to correct. I’m not responsible for my mom’s life – that’s a God-sized job! Phew – talk about lifting the pressure! Some of us need to realize that we weren’t created for that kind of pressure. We aren’t God! We’re not powerful enough to derail his plans!


This summer I saw my mom through two surgeries and the decision to begin chemotherapy this fall. Those are big, weighty decisions. But God led every step of the way, and I can honestly say that I have walked and am continuing to walk with peace through those things. It’s all because I made the decision to trust him. I took off the backpack, left it at the cross. I’m embracing his yoke, the Jesus way, walking in peace, rest, and freedom from heavy burdens I was never made to carry. He’s been right there with me, bearing the weight of it all.


Are you ready to walk that way? Today can be your day – Take off your backpack, leave it at the cross, walk in Jesus’ yoke, experience his rest and peace. Your problems with be there either way, but you have the privilege of being invited to trust Jesus. He’ll carry the weight for you if you allow him. Choose trust. You will not regret it.


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