My Heart Garden has history in the soil, wine aging in the cellar, an active compost pile, and an open gate to fellow Heart Gardeners. I offer a standing invitation to other life travelers to explore with me the revelations of the Master Gardener.
My story starts when I was seven. The deed to my Heart Garden had already been questioned and the gates damaged by life’s storms. But one day, the Master Gardener sent a knock on the door of my chaotic home, and the sun started to shine with hope and the rains began to soften the soil and words of promise and purpose found fertile soil. That was a long time ago, with many seasons of planting, growing, harvesting and waiting.
Discovering my Heart Garden
The metaphor for my Heart Garden began one day while listening to the song, “Garden” by Misty Edwards. I grew up in Louisiana working in my daddy’s garden, so the comparison of the natural to the inner workings of my heart made so much sense. She was singing the passage from Song of Songs 4:14-16. In the Song, the King describes His relationship with His Beloved as being His place of solitude, peace, and refreshing. It was His Royal garden, set apart for His enjoyment alone. The waters there were undisturbed by public use. The orchard was full of a fragrant harvest of fruit and spices. It was this revelation of His opinion of her heart that created the freedom to trust that the north winds of testing would be balanced with the south winds of blessing. She was okay being a “locked garden” when she understood that He sets apart that which He cherishes.
A Dark Night
My Heart Garden was in a season that I call the “Dark Night of My Soul.” I was looking for meaning to the pain of my night.
For years my identity was wrapped up in my occupation. I would say, “I am an engineer. I am a teacher.” That is a relate-able label. My purpose was defined by my role of raising my children to know a loving God and being the best reflection of God’s love that I could possibly be in honoring, respecting, and loving my husband.
But my world came crashing down in 2008. I lost my job, which contained my community and my ministry. My son graduated from High School and left for college. My daughter withdrew from High School two years early to enroll in early college which required boarding school. My husband worked really long hours. In the matter of a few months, I lost my identity and purpose. I found myself lost, alone, abandoned, and in a dark wilderness. Betrayed, forsaken, stuck, and oh so broken, I looked for a righteous response for my heart that would bring dawn to the sky.
At a Song of Solomon conference, I found my place in “the story.” I could identify with the Beloved Maiden who in her dark night cried, “Have you seen my Beloved? I am lovesick for Him.” That scripture became my heart cry, my battle cry, my reach.
During that season, I laid aside my false identity to find myself defined by the gaze of the King.
I read, “You are a garden locked up….” Song of Songs 4:12
Then He said to me, “You are my darling Bride, my private paradise, a perfect partner for me. The waters of your soul are a like a secret fountain that bubbles from your depths. The fragrance of your Heart Garden is spicy aroma and your tears of suffering are like healing myrrh that drips from a tree. Your life flows into mine. I take great delight in the garden of your soul.”
When the Sun Comes Up
While it had seemed that the sun would never rise again to warm the internal soil of my wounded heart, I eventually realized that the value I had before the King was the only opinion that really mattered. I learned what happened behind my face was what was important
During that really long season, I came to understand that assignments come and go. The details of my role evolve. If I have done my job well, I have equipped my children to live their story and find God in their journey. If I am truly honoring my husband, he will be everything God has designed and purposed
“To know Him and make Him known…“ (John 17:25) from the place of HIS LOVE
for me that would be the “…seal over my heart (Who I am?) and “… seal on my arm (What I do?)” ( Song of Songs 8:6)
Growing My Heart Garden
Intrigued, I delved into the pages of the Song of Songs. I read, studied, prayed, journaled and eventually wrote a book series unlocking the mysteries of the love story found in the poetry of an earthly king who grew up in the presence of night and day worship. (You can find them in my store.) I found layers of revelation and the beauty of the description of how Jesus, the King of Kings, feels about us, His Eternal Beloved Bride. In the book, I found true Identity and Purpose because I found it in what God feels about me.
I spent years in pursuing wholeness for my Heart Garden. To be certified by Vision Life, Elijah House Heart-Sync, and Symbis meant spending time co-laboring with Him to prune, excavate, cultivate, and nurture the King’s Secret Garden in me. I got my master’s “to study to show myself approved” (2 Tim 2:15). I pursued my licenses as a Professional Counselor, a Chemical Dependency Counselor, and a Biblical Therapist. With each new certification and license came new levels of freedom. (I am currently an LPC-A under supervision from Heidi Johanson, LPC-S).
Flourishing in Life
Always a teacher, always a communicator, always caring, my past careers as an aviation engineer, a school teacher, a curriculum writer, and prayer minister have brought me to the place I am today. I am on a mission that others will not spend half of their life like I did wondering about the disconnection between what they “know” and “believe” about God’s love for them.
Of all the jobs I have had, the most challenging, yet most rewarding job of all has been getting to be a mom. All grown-up now, Logan and Katrina, my children, brought the blessing of love, lessons in self-forgiveness, and evidence that God does still work miracles. God has crowned our life with the joy of grand little people, Caroline and Clark. Best of all, I get to journey through life with a man my heart had only dreamed of. Larry and I have been married 30+ years. My promise that I held onto during the lonely years of singleness and broken-heartedness, “Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4).
The blessing of a healthy Heart Garden that flourishes are the impact that it has on the surrounding Heart Gardens. When I found my identity in God instead of my dear husband and children, I was freed to be a fragrant, messy, thriving, growing Heart Garden and so was my family.
From my Heart Garden to Yours
My passion, my drive, is that all would know:
“You are wanted and loved by a Living God. Nothing you have done or believe changes the fact that the whole world revolves around His reach for your heart.”
To make that happen, I will set aside my striving for excellence, fretting about being accepted, and just be vulnerable with you from my experiences that happen behind my face.
I will offer you an imperfect invitation to sit on the bench and listen to the spiritual water bubble.
From my stained fingers on a keyboard will come words of a fellow gardener trying to figure out how to “grow in grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ” (I Peter 3:18) and that the “love the Father had for the son will be in you and me.” John 17:25
I will create for you a safe place for your story to be heard. I will seek to hear with the ears of the One who loves you and wants what is best for you. I will join the Master Gardener in tending to your heart from my eclectic box of tools.
So glad you decided to stop by to hear a little of more of my story of “Who I am?”
I plan on blogging about growing a Healthy Heart Garden because I contend once we have the vocabulary to understand what is going on in the “garden enclosed with skin” we flourish in this adventure called LIFE.
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