My husband and I planted a butterfly/hummingbird garden in the spring. We selected plants that were either native to our area in the Texas Hill Country or did well in our climate (heat and drought tolerant). We also tried to choose plants that were somewhat deer resistant. Because the deer, especially the young ones, will try almost anything.
We selected the area on our property, a place where the ground sloped away from an extension of our driveway. We built a rock wall along the slope to make the bed somewhat level and most of it raised. We then had a load of soil delivered and dumped in the area. Once prepped, we began planting.
I surrounded the rock wall with creeping rosemary, hoping the smell would deter the deer. Then we added several varieties of lantana, along with esperanza, pride of barbados, mexican and jerusalem sage, butterfly bush, and a couple kinds of decorative grasses.
I set up a mister system to help water during our long periods without rain. And, just before we left for an extended trip, my husband and I put up a quick fence, hoping to deter any curious deer. The fence wasn’t very secure. It was made of plant netting and stakes shoved into the ground.
During our trip, we received a text from our neighbors. The deer easily knocked down our fence in several places and routinely enjoyed the salad bar we set out for them. Sure enough, when we returned, about half of the plants provided a feast for our four footed friends. The plants they didn’t care for flourished. The others, not so much.
If we wanted to provide food for butterflies and hummingbirds, rather than the deer, we’d have to improve our garden defense. We cemented the posts into the ground and wrapped the area in wire fencing. So far, so good. The deer are a bit miffed because they can’t get in.
The nibbled on plants are now regrowing, flowers are reblooming and the butterflies are returning.
Our hearts are like the flower garden. Quite tempting for the world (the enemy) to come in and slowly gnaw away at us, taking big chunks of us, stunting our growth and beauty, and ultimately hindering the purpose for which God created us.
Often, we erect our own fences, feeble, frail and usually ineffective. The enemy easily tramples down our weak defenses and feasts on our lives.
But God has something more effective in mind. He provides a sturdy fence, real protection, and the enemy cannot infiltrate.
– God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Psalm 46:1
– I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” Psalm 91:2
– So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10
– But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one. 2 Thessalonians 3:3
Sometimes the law, God’s word, his Torah, may seem restrictive, legalistic, and oppressive. But that’s not his intent at all. He has given his knowledge, his instruction, his guidance for our protection. When we follow it, it’s like a solid wall, and strong defense for our hearts.
For the LORD gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding. He holds success in store for the upright, he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless, for he guards the course of the just and protects the way of his faithful ones. Then you will understand what is right and just and fair—every good path. For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul. Discretion will protect you, and understanding will guard you. Proverbs 2:6-11
As for God, his way is perfect: The Lord’s word is flawless; he shields all who take refuge in him. Psalm 18:30
I take precautions to shield my plants so they can abundantly grow and display their beauty. In the same way, I want to allow the Lord to shield my heart, so it to can abundantly grow, displaying the beauty he has planted there.