A Hedge of Protection

I used to wonder why anyone in their right mind would plant a Chinese Holly. This holly is incredibly thorny and fruitless. Chinese Holly will literally reach out and attack you by merely looking at it. A lot of houses during the 40’s and 50’s were built, using this “beautiful” thorny beast as a hedge of protection around the home.

My first experience with Chinese Holly was when we bought our first home. The hedge was so fiercely overgrown and had hardened into a large stump with thorns. The hedge had become an uneffective eye soar to the front of the house. There is a beautiful purpose of a protective hedge, but even a hedge needs to be cultivated.

There are a wide variety of hedges. I’m not a Chinese Holly kind of girl. I enjoy the fruits of cultivation….even if it’s just a hedge. The first thing I did after we brought the house, was chainsaw the overgrown thorny beast-of-a-hedge down to the ground. The hedge had been so severe and  thorny, there was no delightful entrance to the house. The hedge was truly out of balance. Uncultivated, the hedge had moved beyond a beautiful garden proection, into a spirit of overwhelming, thorny ugliness.

It is easy to become like a protective hedge. In an effort to protect ourselves, we live in our own fear of the thorn. We allow our hedges of protection to become overgrown and uncultivated….hardened and useless. We lose beauty and our gardens become fruitless.

I lived many years trying to develop an imaginary hedge of protection for my home. I knew that a flood *could* happen, and realistically, it would destroy everything in it’s path (which it did). I lived for many years trying to protect my family and my precious things, never quite setting roots. I dreamed of retaining walls, digging out river ways and city water management plans. I was absolutely determined to find protection. Let’s face it…. I needed more than a Chinese Holly. I needed a flood proof fort!!!

It was also challenging to “bloom where I was planted”….I really didn’t want to be where God had me. We had been SO deceived about “the flooded house” (as people in our town called it) that I cultivated a lot of resentment, jealousy and anger in my heart…..lots of thorns on this holly of mine.

FINALLY. After about 7-8 years of cultivating thorny protection, I realized that I was out of balance. (I am a slow learner). There was only one hedge of protection I needed. It was not Chinese Holly, a wall or even a fortress to protect my home……I began to *really* trust in the Lord.

“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you.”

I started planted my gardens again. The weeds around the flooded house soon became an oasis for birds and wildlife. Trees sprung up around my treasured bulbs I put in. Life was abundant. My spirit began to produce fruit where there once was just a thorny barrier.  I relied on the Lord to become my hedge of protection…..and He did.

At 5 am, the morning of the flood, my husband received a random phone call from.my Mother. She alerted us of the flood. Within 10 short minutes, we were in waist high water. I shudder to think of what would’ve happened if we hadn’t received our only warning, from Florida. No hedge or wall would’ve protected us. It was the mercy of the Lord….the truest Hedge of Protection.

It’s so easy to fall into the trap of trying to protect ourselves and our homes with our own ideas of hedges. Thorns replace fruit, as we spend our time cultivating the wrong things. Deep down, I knew our house would someday flood. I wrestled with it for years. Thorns of discontent grew in my soul, and simply choked out the fruit the Lord wanted to grow. I had to let it all go, and cultivate the only hedge I needed….Him.

“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you. When you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.”  Isaiah 43:2

As you grow your gardens, and seek out hedges for protection, always remember there is really only one source of protection that needs to be cultivated. Thank goodness it’s not just a Chinese Holly Hedge.