Today's post was written by Amy Barlow. She is married to Allen and homeschools their three children: Laney (10), Jude (8), and Zane (6). They have been at Brook Hills for almost 4 1/2 years.

I headed out into the bright morning, my garden claw in hand, determined. The flower bed had once been teeming with one of my favorite flowers - iris. They would burst forth with the most gorgeous purple brilliance. I looked forward to it all winter, anticipating their arrival.

This year there was nothing.

The monkey grass that lined the bed had taken over, and now there was only a messy tangle of weeds and monkey grass.

And I was angry about it.

I plunged that claw into the earth and gave it a good twist. I twisted and twisted and pulled. Finally, a clump emerged, and I tossed it aside.

This was going to be a back breaking, all-day job.

I became even more mad.

I plunged, dug, twisted, and pulled. Sweat poured off me, and I called in the kids to start bagging the discarded clumps.

This was going to take all day. Hours.The more I pulled, the madder I got.

I despise monkey grass.

Something caught my eye, and I dropped to my knees. I used my already filthy hands to dig into the dirt. There, buried, were at least fifty perfect iris bulbs. I sat back on my heels and wondered how I had let it get this bad.

Standing up and resuming the work of pulling and digging, my thoughts wandered to the news articles I had read that morning. One pastor and his wife had been arrested for heinous crimes against children. One traveling evangelist had been videoing unsuspecting women in bathrooms.


How? and Why?

Then I heard the unmistakable voice of the Lord.

How did this flower bed get so bad?”

“What’s that got to do with sin?” I tossed back, brushing hair out of my eyes.

“These weeds didn’t take over all at once. There was a long time of inattention to this bed that led to its current condition. Those small weeds were ignored. They started out small. Few in number. And they slowly multiplied over time. Slowly. Nearly unnoticed. Until they they choked out the flowers. Buried the bulbs deeply. Now it’s a mess, and it's taking you hours to dig out the mess...

It’s the same with sin.”

I paused, leaning on the garden tool.

Of course.


I felt the gentle conviction flowing through my soul.

What had the Lord been challenging me with that I brushed aside as “normal” or “culturally acceptable” or “no big deal”?

These men didn’t wake up and sin greatly. There were little things that went unattended. Unnoticed. Ignored. For a long time.

Until these huge things happened that wrecked lives.

I saw how that could happen.

Show me, Lord, how to stay sensitive to Your Spirit.

  • Be in the Word. Spend dedicated, daily time there. Have a plan. Don’t study randomly. Talk about what you learn. Share what the Lord shows you. Teach it to others.

  • Stay in prayer. Spend a dedicated, daily time in prayer. Pray throughout the day. Pray and ask the Lord to show you sin in your life, and be still and wait for Him to reveal it. Also, ask Him to show you secret sin in your heart as King David did in Psalm 19.

  • Mourn the sin. See its potential to destroy. Mourn a heart that wants to sin. Confess it to God without excuse and without blaming others. Ask Him to wash you clean. Receive the forgiveness instantly, knowing that He threw it as far as the east is from the west (Psalm 103). Don’t chase after it once it’s gone.

  • Tell a close, trusted friend about the journey with this sin. Ask her to pray for you and with you.

  • Abstain from anything that makes you desensitized to sin. What you watch, what you read, who you talk to, where you go... These can all make sin attractive, acceptable, and seemingly harmless.

That flower bed is pristine now - lined with beautiful stones, covered with sweet smelling mulch, and sprinkled with bright yellow flowers.

The weeds still come. I yank them out daily. I am not going through that again.

Lord, tend my heart the same way. Show me each and every weed of sin that pops up. Even when I’m tired and don’t want Your touch of sanctification that day, do it anyway. Ignore my protests. Keep me close to you. Don’t let me sin. When I protest, yank me up like Your angels did for Lot when Sodom was burning. Keep me safe and protected so that Your name would be made great and people would come to know You through Your work in me.