The Garden of My Soul



Like the weed trees in the garden, God is digging out deep-rooted sin.  Pride has its tenacious roots wrapped around, a judgmental spirit, lack of trust.  The fruits of bitterness and anxiety are ripe.  I can see my deficiencies, my sins.  I have been laid naked, bare, my trying to make bread for a thousand is no longer working.  I have forgotten that God only asks us to give what we have, and not what we do not have.   I have asked God to get the pride out of me, but oh how the slow removal hurts.


The shovel hits the dirt, digging up the roots.


The weed trees shoot up quickly.  If you get them right away, just sprouted, you can pick them out with your hands.  But if you let them go for weeks, months, a year, the root sinks deep into the flower bed, threatening to ruin the blooms that have blossomed so beautifully.


It takes a lot of work for the Gardener to remove the deeply rooted tree. But it must be taken out in order for the blooms he has tenderly planted to properly grow.


I have realized my desire to be self-sufficient, to be able to do everything on my own with no help from God has stuck its root in deep.  This is the place God is taking me, to teach me dependency on Him.   I must realize that I can not do it alone, in my own strength.  It is impossible.  God says that whatever I give to Him, he accepts it according to what I have, not according to what I don’t have.  I dislike dependency.  I despise it.  I buck against it.  I want to do all, be all.  This is the place God is taking me, to teach me the things I do not necessarily want to learn.  How my lack of dependency is just another slippery form of Pride in my life.  I don’t want the manna.  I don’t want the daily dependency.  It is hard, this learning to trust, this learning to walk, to breathe in life a different way.  Every breath I breathe is dependent on God’s mercy.


God is tending the garden of my soul.  There are blooms growing, but there are also weeds.  I cry out for relief, but the relief does not come.  Why?  I know he hears every prayer I utter.  He is choosing to answer the prayer in a myriad of different ways.  He is weeding out the pains of old wounds.  The prayer is answered not in the way I expect.  He answers by weeding out pride, bitterness, and a judgmental spirit.  Oh how the removal is painful!  It takes time.  The blooms he plants in replacement are beautiful.  The blooms are worth the pain.  God is here and hears, he answers other prayers.  Prayers to love more, of togetherness, of family, of reflecting his image.


He is showing me that HE is the Gardener, not me.  The lessons are not easy.  The lessons of gratitude, trust, and dependency are slow to grow.  He has planted the seeds, tenderly, always giving Manna for the day, just enough to make it through the desert.  One day.  One day at a time.  I have enough manna for today.  I will focus on today and stop worrying about tomorrow, for God will also take care of me in the next hour.  I see the glimpses of growth in my soul.  I recognize my need for change.  This is the first step. 


Hold my hand Lord, don’t let go.  I feel the shovel ripping into the dirt of my soul.  God if this can somehow be used for your glory, do it.  If this will not give you glory I ask that this cup be passed from me.  Oh Lord, may those who hope in you not be shamed because of me.  From the ends of the earth I call to you.  I call as my heart grows faint.  Lead me to the Rock that is higher than I. 


Oh Lord I’m learning to trust you.  This is so hard for me.  I am stubborn.  I do not like this place you have taken me God, this desert.  I do not want to depend on the Manna every day.  I want to collect enough Manna to last for weeks, months.  Oh God help  me.  I know, at times I can see what you have been doing in my heart, but it is so hard.  It hurts.  I know you say “Whom you love, you discipline”, but Oh God I don’t want the correction.  God help me to see you as loving.  Help me to continue to look at the many blessings you have given me.  I can see these fruits, I can see the healing.  The way you have chosen to heal truly hurts Lord.  Lord I trust you.   Help the part of me that does not trust at all. Become as visible to me as the things I see with my naked eye.


Bible Verses:I Corinthians 8:12, Psalm 69:6, Psalm 61:2, Luke 22:42, Hebrews 12:6


I am linking up with the following Emily P Freeman, Soliodeogloria, and Jennifer Dukes Lee to share my story.




17 thoughts on “The Garden of My Soul

  1. Janice C. Johnson

    I also try to keep up the mirage of self-sufficiency, even though I know better. Thanks for your encouraging post.
    I especially loved this line: “Oh Lord, may those who hope in you not be shamed because of me.”

    1. kortneystanis Post author

      Janice, that line is from Psalm 69:6. I love to pray the psalms. I think David and I would be good friends! 😉 (I noted the Bible references at bottom-would love feedback on that, if its better to reference on the bottom of the post or right during the prayer)

      1. Janice C. Johnson

        I recognized some (but not all?) of the sentences as coming from Psalms and other places in the Bible. Hm… it would have been intrusive to stick the references in after each quoted sentence.
        Maybe with the format you used here, numeric footnotes would be most effective. The reader could see what sentences were from Scripture, and the references would be available but not interrupt the flow of reading. It’s a thought, anyway.

      2. kortneystanis Post author

        thanks Janice! I appreciate your feedback. I am new to blogging so it is very helpful! I will try the numeric footnotes. Blessings to you too!

  2. boebertj11

    Kortney – I hope your garden blooms without weeds soon; God is a good gardener. He may just replant those trees to specially prepared plots – maybe beside still waters, to provide shade for green pastures…. Your faith is showing – even in the middle of doubt. God is a good gardener.

  3. Jennifer M. Frisbie

    Kortney, this is beautiful. I was already reading when you asked me to leave honest feedback and I kept relating to myself and my own situation in every single paragraph. To me, I feel like an olive being pressed. The pressure can be rough and there are days where I’m squeezed so tightly that I don’t think I will be able to breathe again. God has turned my life upside down the last 7 years in such a way that I didn’t think would be possible. And the closer I get to Him, the more He molds and shapes me. But it certainly doesn’t always feel good. And right now, I’m in a place that I’m not sure I want to hear when He speaks to me…I’m not sure if I can obey. But I must. So I trudge on through conversation after conversation – asking if the fleece is wet and then if it’s dry – to know whether these thoughts are my own or if they are truly from Him. I gotta trust. Through the muck…I gotta trust. Through the pressing…I gotta trust. And so do you…

    So glad we have become acquainted. I am learning from you with every post that you share.

    1. kortneystanis Post author

      Thank you for your honest reply Jennifer. I will be praying for you too, that you will hear Him loud and clear. It is so hard to hear him sometimes when all the other noise gets in the way. And I know that you can obey whatever He says. He will you give you the strength! You will hear the voice saying “this is the way, walk in it” (Isaiah 30:21). Your love for Him shines through, he will show you the path to take. Thanks for your encouragement, I value what you say!

  4. Mei

    Kortney, I absolutely love your prayer. God brought me through a season where I felt like I was in the wilderness for 10 years. During that time, He did some major pruning and digging up roots. It taught me so much about relying on Him for HIs sufficiency. I came to a point that there is absolutely nothing I could do to change my circumstances and speed up events. Believe me, I tried! When I finally submitted and gave it to Him, He parted the waters and I was able to walk on dry ground!

    1. kortneystanis Post author

      Mei, thank you for taking the time and reading my post. Yes, it is painful but I know that what he is doing is also beautiful. he is making me more beautiful on the inside! And yes, even at this point im already seeing how submitting to Him, how stopping to be self-sufficient is providing a huge release for me. so thankful for you. Are you going to do the writing class this fall? I would love to be in another group with you again!

  5. Jan Armbrust

    Kortney, I am so grateful for your sharing and for everyone else’s comments. The Sacred Text references at the close of the post were so powerful. Some of them felt like nails in my personal cross. That’s alright with me. I so needed their truth at this moment. And I so needed your truth, as well. I wonder if we as North Americans might benefit from seeing pruning (spiritual tests) as a creative act. I say this because you relied on the Scripture in writing your post and I have been pondering recently on the linkage between Genesis 1:3 and John 1:1. In both cases, a word (The Word) is spoken and then it is interfaced with the physical realm. The creative act (whether writing or overt spiritual pruning) seems, then, to involve for us as human beings both discipline (per the Hebrews reference) and an abandonment/freedom that is like the wind of God in Genesis. Deep respect sent your way.

    1. kortneystanis Post author

      Thank you Jan for stopping. Your words are so deep, I am going to have to think about them a while….:-) I know that when I do “create”, when God finally helps me create something, I do know that the release I get helps so much, it frees me in a way that only comes when I can pinpoint what is going on through words and pictures that God provides. Make sense? Deep thinking here! 🙂

  6. elizabethfstewart

    I’m here from SDG. I’m afraid to admit that I struggle with so many of the same things you mentioned. God is such a good, kind, and patient Gardener. And persistent!

  7. Pingback: Begin-Five Minute Friday | vulnerableprayers

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