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PatienceA Cultivated Heart
By Tammie Smith

Rolling fields, in vibrant shades of greens, yellows and browns, cascade across the land like a patchwork waterfall. Nestled in the distance and surrounded by this rich landscape of luscious green fields, rests a little town; its houses huddled together as if to keep warm. Beyond the field are clusters of trees that cover the vast mountains.

The sites are breathtaking and I am amazed at the beauty of this world. Living in Germany has been a wonderful experience not only to see the various cultures of Europe, but also to see, firsthand, God's beauty displayed in these clean, uncluttered fields.

Surrounding my home is a vast array of corn and grain fields. From dusk to dawn the farmers are busy working in the fields to assure that their crops yield a bountiful harvest. They spend countless hours meticulously plowing, sowing and harvesting their crops. The only way that their gardens will prosper is through hard work.

I have learned that my life with Christ is exactly the same. In order to tend the "gardens" of my heart, I need to follow the example of the farmers I have to be meticulous in my relationship with Him if I want to be useful to others. I want my life to be reflective of Christ and this requires dedication and work on my part.

When farmers plow the land, they are preparing it to receive the seeds. Plowing is used to break up the soil and help control weeds.

By looking deep within myself, I can ask God to show me anything that is unpleasing to Him. Just as plowing rids the soil of weeds, confessing helps to get rid of sin.

Weeds are kept from coming back over time by plowing the land and, in the same way, it stands to reason that if I confess often, over time I will have fewer sins to confess. When temptation does come, God will help me through it. Where I am weak, He is strong.

By sowing the seeds, the farmers are planting the fields for growth. I can plant God in my heart by having a daily quiet time.

Soil serves as a natural reservoir for water and nutrients the more water and nutrients, the more fertile the soil. Farmers need to sow seeds in fertile soil so that they can grow and prosper. Planting God's Word in a clean heart will help me to flourish.

Just as seeds need water to grow, I need to water the seeds in my heart frequently. Reading, studying and memorizing scripture is a great way for me to keep these seeds watered. The roots of this knowledge are able to grow deeper and stronger with each lesson. The stronger the roots, the healthier the "plant" will be.

It is my prayer that I will blossom into the woman God wants me to be. I can do this only as I cultivate my relationship with God.

One of the final stages of tending a garden is the harvesting. This is the part where farmers get to reap the benefits of their hard work.

Just as the farmers see the glorious results of their hard work, I too can see the benefits of my relationship with God through the eyes of my children. When I hear my daughter saying grace at dinner or wanting me help her read the bible, I know that the time spent plowing and sowing has produced a harvest.

By looking at what farmers have to do to get from seed to crop, I see a magnificent example to follow to get my Christian walk from infant to mature. As I enrich my relationship with God, not only will I reap the benefit, but others will as well.

Dear Lord, help me to build a strong relationship with you so that my life becomes a building block not a stumbling block to those that I come in contact with.
Tammie Smith is a US army wife, mother, and writer living in Germany. She is a member of European Protestant Women of the Chapel and a member of Christian Writer's Guild. She can be contacted at tammiekiren@yahoo.com.
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