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About the Writer:
Sherrill Schlimpert

An ordinary suburban girl with an extraordinary passion for seeking the Lord’s will in her life, Sherrill is more than a poet. She is a retired elementary school teacher, mother of two grown children, and wife for over 31 years. One dreary morning's drive awakened her passion for writing prayer-poetry as God greeted her with a spectacular sunrise. Her flow of words and faith has filled two self-published books so far.



What is Living in Your Garden?

By Sherrill Schlimpert

The light spring days and the hopeful planting season slide into the sultry long hot days of summer. I look at my flower garden, planted with the energy I felt as spring awakens my soul each year with the need for beauty, and survey the results of my efforts that now seem quite in the past. The petunias seem to be thriving with my simple attention of watering, but the dianthus have bloomed once and my not so gentle pruning with garden shears seems to have left the stems dried and withered with little new growth. I tried a few new purple flowers that are blooming, but only with random shoots with no lush growth to sustain them.

As I look at my journal, I seem to see similar results of insights and resolutions. Some seem to thrive, others just kind of hang out, not really dead, but not having enough attention to bloom and grow into something productive. It was after this reflection that I read a simple sentence that I believe was a revelation.

C.J. Mahaney in his book Humility – True Greatness writes on the age-old battle we all fight – with our gardens, our houses, and our hearts. They all demand daily, diligent and deliberate attention in order to thrive. His simple recommendation?....Make a list!!! Duh – we have to have a plan in our battles, whether it is against weeds, dust, laziness or the ultimate enemy – sin!!!!

Mahaney suggests that pride is the core of all sin – the arrogance of not attending diligently to our soul. He struck a nerve with me when I read his assessment that most of us listen to ourselves more than we listen to truth! We entertain complaints about yesterday or worries about the future, more than we take time for His word and prayer. Most of us charge into our days motivated by self-sufficiency, allowing the thoughts of our mind to grow out of control, with little attention.

God opposes the proud. (James 4:6) Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall. (Prov. 16:18) Yet don’t we just pridefully, arrogantly, allow the garden of our hearts to go unattended all too often?!

Maheney’s admonition to make a list is a simple solution to utilizing simple truths that need to be watered daily into our parched hearts with diligence and care. His list is short and born of common sense, but just like I skip watering occasionally, and put off fertilizing, sometimes these small steps aren’t taken as I wander from the garden path into my own pursuits. Below is my take on Maheney’s list with some of my own resolutions mixed in:

A List for Tending the Heart

1. Reflect each day by surveying the wondrous cross on which the Prince of Glory

died. My richest gain I should count but loss and pour contempt on all my pride.

John Stott tells us, “At the foot of the cross we sink to our true size!” It is only by

purposely standing at the cross each day that we can be liberated from our absolute

inability to save ourselves from pride and selfish ambition…only a divine rescue can

do it! Otherwise, the weeds of our heart naturally grow to arrogantly contend for

supremacy with God!

  • Begin each day by acknowledging your need and dependence on God. Sin doesn’t

wake up tired – rather than be attacked, we must go on the defensive, directing our wayward thoughts.

  • Also, at the beginning of the day, express gratitude. Greet your Savior and your day

with gratefulness, not grumbling. Also, we must continue throughout the day watching for blessings - God’s sticky notes of reminders of His presence and provision. We must be alert and perceptive of the innumerable manifestations of His grace that we so easily miss. We must prune the thought daily that whatever grace we receive from God is so much more than we’re worthy of.

  • Also throughout the day, we must practice the spiritual disciplines of prayer, study

of His word, and worship. As we do each, we make the statement that we are in

need of God! Regardless of how we feel, we must be faithful in our devotion. We all have the fluctuating emotions that come with the weather where one morning

we are profoundly aware that God is near while the next day He seems to send the message that He wants us to grow more in our trust in Him, therefore He withdraws that sense of nearness. We can seize commute time, or waiting in line time to take mundane moments to meditate and pray. We can continue to allow the soil of our mind to settle into dirty ruts or use the time to till up transformed thinking. As I Peter 5:6-7 tells us: “Cast your cares on Him. Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God casting all cares and anxieties on Him, because He cares for you.” Anxiousness has pride at its root because we’re trying to be self-sufficient. We must recognize that all cares coming our way are actually provided by God specifically for the purpose of cultivating humility in our lives!!!!

  • Then, how we end our day can affect the way we encounter tomorrow. True

humility will cause us to review our day and carefully assign all glory to God for the grace we’ve experienced that day. Whatever successes in life, be it in business or parenting or relationships, it’s only appropriate to transfer the glory to Him or be guilty of committing cosmic plagiarism! Then, let your need to slumber, a need He created in us, remind you of divine purpose – that you are a dependent creature, not

self-sufficient. There is only One who “will neither slumber nor sleep” (Psalm 121:4). Sleep can be a picture and parable of what it means to be a Christian. You can fully relax because no effort at supporting yourself is required. Someone else is sustaining you.

Just as my little flower garden withers under the heat of the summer without care and maintenance, so does my heart in any season. How simple is this 5-step sustaining list. I can't help but notice how easily the weeds of my life, and the heat and pressures of the world, interfere with my 5-step program. Still, all is not lost, even though my garden is drooping, I’ve got fertilizer and water and the hope of a summer thunderstorm one of these days. In the same way, even though I get busy and unfocused, the weeds can be pulled, pride can be tamed and I get blossoms once again, just as I do this morning, by simply taking time to sit here in the cool of the morning, pruning my soul by recommitting to the biblical basis of my list.

And now, before the cool is gone, I’m getting on my gardening gloves….



Copyright © July 2007 - Sherrill Schlimpert. All rights reserved.

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