I was out in the gardens the other day and noticed my red raspberry leaves were not lush and verdant as I expected them to be. Upon closer investigation I noticed that the neighbors had their side of the fenceline sprayed…and mine. And MY side got the worst of it.
The raspberry hedge I’d been working to establish and make fruitful was all but dead in a matter of days.
Breathe, Self… Breathe…
Because the flesh part of me wanted to storm over and bang on their front door, holding withered leaves and dried up berries and lecture them on the danger of chemical herbicides and rail at them for poisoning my food and by proxy, my family…But Scripture teaches me that so far as it depends on me, I should live peaceably with everyone.
So, privacy hedge gone, expected fruit harvest obliterated, how do I respond in a way that honors Christ, and doesn’t destroy my witness to my unbelieving neighbors?
I salvage what canes remain, and I move them elsewhere. No it’s not my ideal, and yes, I liked having a hedge barrier between my neighbors nippy yappy dogs and my own. But I can’t have my kids out picking and eating poisoned berries, and I can’t afford to let 3 years of cultivation be in vain.So I was out digging holes for the canes I’ve managed to save- there are 14 of them.
So I got 7 holes dug before I ripped open my blistery hands (I couldn’t find my work gloves and they tend to hinder more than they help) so I went inside and I looked down at my roughed up, bleeding palms and I thought, “THIS is feminine.”
At first my mind said that with sarcastic inflection. But then as I stared at my hands, I thought, “No, this IS feminine.”
Biblical Femininity isn’t makeup and curled hair. Sorry, ladies, that’s just the truth. I know that cuts some women deep. I’ve wrestled that battle and God showed me deeper truth. Are you ready for it?
Having a gentle and quiet spirit–one that goes out of her way to dig 14 holes to move and reestablish a hedge so as not to offend her neighbors’ more “manicured lawn” mentality– is real femininity. I get their perspective- raspberries look “weedy” and thorny. And I hadn’t been trimming them back as often as I could have to be a more conscientious neighbor. And I want a gentle and quiet spirit. But that demands I give up my rage. It demands I put the sensibilities of others ahead of my own. It demands that I die daily to self and consider others as better than myself.
So I’m glad I didn’t go with my first reaction, angry though I was at my circumstances. Because they may not see Jesus in my torn, bloody hands, but I do.
And they are CERTAIN not to have seen Jesus in a raging neighbor screaming at them about organic gardening and dead fruit bushes…Thank God for the grace He extends to me daily to learn these lessons.