A year ago my husband and I decided we wanted to redesign the landscaping in our front flowerbed, which is a rectangle about 30 ft wide and 8 ft deep. Our new son in law, who has a degree in horticulture and experience in the planting, irrigation and maintenance of a large estate works with a lady who designs landscaping for the rich and famous. He drew upon their friendship and got her to come to our house and rethink our little lawn and flowerbeds. She sent computer rendered sketches of the layout of all the trees , bushes and flowers that were to be planted. It was pretty exciting to have an overall design for our whole property rather than the "little here, little there " approach we had always employed in our landscaping efforts. The process became a little less exciting when our son in law explained that builders established a building site by laying down a pad of mostly clay, upon which the foundation is poured as well as driveways and sidewalks. All lawn and beds should be excavated down to native soil so that the plants and shrubs, grass and trees could enjoy proper drainage and gas exchange and thus thrive, but builders generally don't. They put enough soil down to plant stuff but drainage is superficial and while things live, they really don't thrive. Therefore, we would have to remove tons of clay, establish multiple drains into the native soil, and fill them with gravel. God began to deal with me about allowing the Holy Spirit to dig down into the depths of my heart to get out the hard things that keep me from thriving as God intended. Psalms 51:10 says, "Create in me a clean heart , O God: and renew a right spirit within me." We have to continually allow God to renew our minds so that the Holy Spirit can thrive within us. My husband would dig and dig and think, "that's good enough" only to be told, "no, you have to dig deeper!". We can get to a point of allowing God to do a work in us, but we get tired of the digging and exposing those things that God wants to remove so we can thrive to the fullest. Matthew 10:39. "If you cling to your life, you will lose it, but if you give up your life for Me, you will find it". Daily, we chose to either pick up our ways or pick up His ways. It is a life long process, so don't expect for it to be complete in a few weeks as I was thinking that our newly designed garden would be. After all the long days of digging, drain work, soil mixture and allowing the soil to breathe it was too late to get the plants that we were wanting. So between the time we had removed everything from our front bed, and dug out enough clay to appease our son in law, to the time we could obtain the broad variety of plants, bushes and ornamental trees that the plan required was a few months which put us past the time of planting; it was early December and too late to plant! Our front flowerbed existed in a state of holocaust type desolation for nearly a year! Do you ever get to the point that it seems too late for God to bring to pass what He has designed for you ? After the over-haul of your heart, do you feel like you've been stripped down to nothing and left to lie dormant? You are not alone!! Then the day comes that it's a new season (spring) and you go and get those plants, trees that were in the plan from the beginning. You have to go to many places to gather the exact plants, then it's time to get that plan out and see where to place each plant. Jeremiah 29:11. " I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, it's for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope." As I looked at our son in law's master plan (not the computer sketch that we were given) I noticed that he had marked off precisely where each tree was to be planted, each rose bush, each flowering plant. He followed the plan exactly as it had been drawn. I think that was a great revelation to me that God has a plan; it's specifically designed for your life in great detail and there is an exact time and place that you are to come forth. It's not too late,my friend, and though you have been in the crucible, God has been preparing you for such a time as this. He wants to use you to reveal His glory so the world around you can see Jesus. Finally, the garden is planted and it's thriving after all the ground work has been laid. Those who saw the barren area and wondered, "Will this garden ever be finished?" can now see a beautifully designed bit of landscaping! As I gaze upon the beautiful plants, I think how after all the hard labor that went into it , I am so thankful for what God taught me through this process. God has a well thought out plan for our lives and as we continue to renew our minds and till the garden of our hearts ,we will look back on all the labor of submitting to God and allowing Him to sift our hearts and see the results and say it was worth it. We must see that this life is the dress rehearsal and preparation for our eternal destinies.....according to His design!