Gardening of the Soul (by Jen Duffy Ruzicka)

I was a world traveler this past summer.  I was very thankful when I finally got home. That was until I saw my garden. Dan isn’t much on landscaping. I have the green thumb in the family and I really enjoy it. Its alot of work but I love the quietness and the oasis that I eventually will have.

I got home on a Monday evening around 8 p.m. and by midnight I was outside pulling weeds and beginning to clear the overpowering weeds that had taken root. I was able to clear one whole side of the house and it felt great. Once I cleared out the weeds – I could immediately see the beautiful landscaping that I had worked so hard on. There were even a few flowers that were blooming.

I had an amazing time traveling this past summer; however, this was a summer of revelations. This was my summer of pruning. Every one of us has points in our lives where we just feel weighted down and needing to shed the extra baggage that we carry around our shoulders, or worse, around our hearts. Just as we must prune and tend to our garden, we must also prune and tend to our hearts. It can be a very painful process, as it was for me, but it is something that is necessary if we want to continue to bloom.

God took Dan and I to a place that became very special to us. He brought people into our lives that helped us become better. I have held on to those people and the place far too long. I realized this past summer that it is time for me to let go, say my final fairwell, and move on. Its time to prune…. God has a mighty work in progress; I can feel it happening. These memories and people will always hold a special place in my heart and I am so very grateful that they were brought across my path. Many of them renewed my faith in friendship, in women, and in who I was capable of being.

Pruning can, and usually is, very painful. My heart still aches a bit, but I have to have faith that God has his reasons and his purpose. Pruning can be lonely because we have to let go of people that we love – walking in faith that the hole of loneliness will be filled. As we allow God to reveal his plans to us, and we cut away the extra weeds – a beautiful garden will be revealed.

My foundation has been laid – my roots planted deep. By allowing situations and people to come into my life, God is helping me bloom into something great. I have weathered many storms, been overlooked, and forgotten about, but my Father – the master gardener, tends to my heart. He is ever so faithful in what he helps me shed.

As God tends to my garden – it may sting a little, but I must hold steadfast that there is a purpose to the season. Although I may shed tears during the process – it will not break me; although I may cry out in anguish – I will not lose faith and, even when the thunderstorm and hail crash down upon me – I know that there will be sunlight again and I will rise above it.

To all the women who have come across my path – each of you holds a special place in my heart!

To all the women who have hurt me – all is forgiven…..

To all the women that I have caused pain to – I am sorry and ask for forgiveness!

To all the women who feel left out or unloved – you ARE loved!

To the women that wear masks – take them off and let us see your real beauty!

To the women who still stand beside me, through all of lifes storms, we are sisters… And my heart is filled with love each and every moment that I have known you!

Love to all,


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