Life out of Mess

I don’t live on a farm—far from it actually, I live in a condo. The nature portion of my home is a small ten by ten patch of grass, with some flowers thrown in for color. So what would possess me to start composting?

No idea really, other than I’ve been posting the podcasts of our local master gardeners’ group to our library’s website, and the idea of composting caught my attention. Since I have such a small space, I started with a bucket. Easy, right? A bit of grass clippings, some dirt from my daughter-in-law’s compost pile, and then I can throw in shredded paper and food stuff.

Who knew how bad nature stuffed in a bucket could smell after several weeks?

Obviously, people that live on farms understand it, but I had no clue. (Even my late husband always wanted me to take some more biology classes, as he too was appalled at my lack of scientific knowledge). Tired of trying to shake up my rotting mess, I decided to move up in the world of composting and purchased a cool-looking double-barrel composter that was easier to turn. I got it set up on my patio and then proceeded to move the stuff from my bucket composter into this new-fangled contraption.

That’s when nature hit me in the face!

I had to take a shower to get the smell off me, it was so bad. I began to contemplate if my little garden was worth such nasal sacrifice, but I knew that if I wanted my roses and flowers to thrive, they needed nutrients and nurturing.

It’s amazing to think of what life can come from such mess.

Think about it—you’ve got scraps of this and that, leftovers from an herbal haircut, remnants of the written word, but mixed together, with a bit of heat and time, and you have a bounty of good food to bless your garden. You can’t make this stuff up!

God brings beauty from the ashes.

Listen to how he puts it in Isaiah 61:

The Spirit of the Lord God is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and freedom to the prisoners; to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor, and the day of our God’s vengeance; to comfort all who mourn, to provide for those who mourn in Zion; to give them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, festive oil instead of mourning, and splendid clothes instead of despair. And they will be called righteous trees, planted by the Lord to glorify him. They will rebuild the ancient ruins; they will restore the former devastations; they will renew the ruined cities, the devastations of many generations. Strangers will stand and feed your flocks, and foreigners will be your plowmen and vinedressers.

Isaiah 61:1-5 (NIV)

As we have been reading on Fridays, God used him who was rejected and scorned, a man of sorrows, to bring life to a lost world. He takes that which looks to be a mess, our own lives, and he warms and mixes us by his Spirit, growing us into fertilizer for the kingdom, until we allow ourselves to be spread among the harvest fields in submission to his will. We allow him to use us to bring the life-giving message of salvation to those around us, in our little garden spots of the world; and when we do, he brings life to the lifeless and beauty to those lost in despair.

The process may be painful, messy, and even a bit stinky, but as we remain pliable in his hands, he removes the bad to produce the useful to his glory.

Who knew composting could be so smelly? Who knew it could teach us so much about ourselves and God’s redemption?

He did.

Grace and Peace


2 thoughts on “Life out of Mess

  1. Thanks, Carol. We enjoyed listening to your podcast.My family had a compost heap when I was a teenager.

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