When I was a little girl, I had a horrid nightmare. My mother had asked me to take a white handkerchief to our garden, enclosed in a fence behind our house. I started for the gate but several very terrifying monsters came at me. I could not do what my mother had asked. Most childhood dreams are gone, but not that one.
I’ve prayed about what that meant that it remained so powerful in me. James Goll, in his book entitled Dreams, shares about something similar happening to him as a boy. God later revealed to him that monsters are symbolic of Satan trying to steal his destiny. When I read that, it immediately spoke to me. Satan tried early on to derail the purpose God had for my life.
But I had more questions. Why a garden? And why a handkerchief?
Why a garden?
God answered the garden part by reminding me that He created the first garden called Eden and that it was a place of beauty and delight prepared for His kids, Adam and Eve. It was a place where they served Him in worship and service, a place of intimate relationship together. Today, my heart is a garden prepared by Him when I accepted Christ to be my Savior instead of relying on my abilities. It is also a place of worship and intimate relationship. This garden is where He creates what He has for me.
There is more.
Satan derailed Adam and Eve in the garden. What was the result? We know sin entered and impacts people and creation to this day. But what else happened? Adam and Eve had to leave the garden and it was secured. They could no longer enter there.
Why take a handkerchief to the garden?
As I looked at handkerchiefs in Scripture, I realized a handkerchief is an ordinary item with specified uses. I realized God was telling me to bring my ordinariness including my weaknesses and failures to our garden in my heart. There He connects it all with His purpose for my life.
The garden of my heart
Perhaps you are like I was initially and think the garden of your heart looks like a weedy, unproductive mess. Rose Marie Miller writes about the garden of her heart in her book, Nothing is Impossible With God. God taught her from Song of Solomon 4:12-16. I got so excited when I reframed this passage!
You are a garden locked up, my sister, my bride; Song of Songs 4:12a (NIV)
How does that apply to the garden of my heart? My heart is locked up. Dr. Marcus Warner, in his book Understanding the Wounded Heart, page 83, explains the impact when a heart is locked up. “Wounds don’t just impact us by the lies that get planted in them. They affect our emotional capacity. There are skills we don’t develop – coping skills, recovery skills, communication skills, and more.”
As Christ followers, we are a bride, His bride. But if our garden is locked, nothing can enter. In a locked garden no effort is made toward beauty or fruitfulness. No life happens there. The garden of our heart is to be a spring that flows, a fountain of living water. As the Holy Spirit flows from within us, we fulfill what God had for our garden heart and our purpose in it.
A flowing spring
The garden of our heart is to be a spring that flows, a fountain of living water. As the Holy Spirit flows from within us, we fulfill what God had for our garden heart and our purpose in it.
… you are a spring enclosed, a sealed fountain. Song of Songs 4:12b (NIV)
I’m intrigued by the phrase, “a spring shut up.” My next-door neighbor’s house was built where there had been a spring-filled pond. The contractor filled in the pond with dirt to seal it and built the house. My neighbor later put in an inground swimming pool to enjoy. He closed the pool the first winter but after a few months he realized the pool seemed to be overflowing. The pool had to be relined and he installed a sump pump that runs 24 hours a day, year-round.
Why the sump pump? Because a spring does not stop flowing. We were never designed to be a spring shut up or a fountain sealed. We were meant to be a vessel through which the Holy Spirit would flow, revealing to us what God is dreaming and how He wants to accomplish His purpose in and through us from day to day.
You are a garden fountain, a well of flowing water streaming down from Lebanon. Song of Songs 4:15 (NIV)
How does our heart function as the garden God intended for each of us? When the Holy Spirit is free to flow within us because our garden heart is no longer locked up with its emotional capacity restricted by wounds and pain and trauma.
Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” 39 By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified. John 7:38-39 (NIV)
The garden of my healed heart
What does the symbolism of a garden indicate my heart produces? We would expect to find beautiful flowers, vegetables or fruits in a garden. The aroma is so pleasant.
Your plants are an orchard of pomegranates with choice fruits, with henna and nard, 14 nard and saffron, calamus and cinnamon, with every kind of incense tree, with myrrh and aloes and all the finest spices. Song of Songs 4:13-14 (NIV)
Imagine the fragrance of this garden. I would love to experience a garden like this one. Our lives are to be a fragrance, a sweet aroma of the knowledge of God. This knowledge for now is fragmented and incomplete but develops and grows as we participate in this relationship with God, our Abba Daddy. We spread this fragrance everywhere as we go about our daily lives, whether at home, school, work, or in the market place. In the simplest of activities, we are spreading fragrance.
But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him. 2 Corinthians 2:14 (NIV)
Invite the wind to come blow
I want the fragrance of my garden heart to waft all around, so I invite the wind to come blow.
Awake, north wind, and come, south wind! Blow on my garden, that its fragrance may spread abroad. Let my lover come into his garden and taste its choice fruits. Song of Songs 4:16 (NIV)
The north wind is cold and often brings storms to our area. While storms can be destructive, they also are necessary to bring the rain that enables growth. Trials come but honestly, I’ve grown the most in the valleys.
The south wind brings the warm that we so appreciate in the winter months. And whatever wind blows that brings back the sun after dreary gray days is wonderful.
The Holy Spirit is often symbolized by wind. He is Comforter in trials. He reveals truth so my knowledge of God and my experience of God develop and grow. He is the nature of God and the power of God flowing through the fountain of my heart.
I want my life to be lived to the fullest for God. I want the Lover of my soul, Jesus, to come into the garden of my heart and find choice fruits.
The garden of your heart
How is the garden of your heart? Is it locked up? Is the spring sealed? Remember that Jesus came to heal the wounds of your heart and to free you from the prison that keeps your emotions locked up in pain. (You may want to go back and read the blogs entitled Jesus Heals the Broken-Hearted and Is Your Heart Broken. They can be found by scrolling down if you click on Blogs.) (photo via pexels.com)
Be prepared to be a most fragrant garden, better than the very best perfumes or colognes you can buy!
Carol Boggess, author and speaker
Rivers – A Journey of Restoration From Broken to Breakthrough and God Sees Broken Hearts