Five Facts for Mind-Weeders



Ten years ago a luxurious green ruffle erupted in our horse paddock. New to me, it looked like a kale/daisy hybrid. Pretty. Grown from a stowaway seed in a random bale of hay, I figured. I kept meaning to look the foliage up online, but you know how it goes. Vegetable planting and spring chores beckoned. Dabbling with plant ID could wait.

With June’s first heat the elegant rosette bolted on a three foot stalk. By July, yellow thin-petaled flowers resembling miniature echinacea blossoms crowned the lacy foliage. Enchanted, I hauled water to it and yanked away competing grasses. I liked it so much I considered moving the plant into my flower garden, right there between the crocosmia and shaggy shastas, where it would offer new texture and color for my bouquets.

But when I picked a blooming spray and showed it to my veterinarian husband,  he frowned at the interloper. “Where’d you get that?”

“You know what it is?” I asked. An ID at last. I was delighted . . .until he told me that my new beauty was tansy ragwort. Stinkin’ Willie. Staggerwort.


If our horses or cows were to graze for thirty days in pasture with a five percent tansy infestation, he said, cumulative toxins would quietly overwhelm their livers. Long after they ate the stuff—up to six months later—the animals would start dying. Given the delay, we might even blame other causes, while that nasty plant spread. Our calves would be the most vulnerable.



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Needless to say, the weed was gone in minutes. But the copious seeds it had already puffed out remained. Every year since, I’ve been pulling tansy in that infected paddock.

Not my favorite job. When the ground’s too dry or when I hurry, the purple stems break off at ground level, leaving the roots to regrow even more leaves. Too often, I have pulled the same plant over and over. After way too many wasted hours, I now hunt the noxious weeds with a shovel, and make sure I get the roots.

A good plan, digging those roots. I try to apply it to all sorts of weeds, including those that germinate in regions of my heart.  Here’s what I’ve learned along the way. Sometimes the hard way. (Thanks for bearing with the metaphor. Visualizing it helps me. I hope it does you, too.)


  1. Watered weeds (resentment, unforgiveness, pride, anger . . .) poison perceptions and behavior. Better to starve ’em out. Change the soil’s pH with gratitude and forgiveness—of others and oneself.
  2.  Ignored weeds mature, and not in a good way. They scatter seeds beyond the mind’s own paddock. Better to deal with weeds before they send those seeds somewhere even more fertile (like the hearts of children who love you).
  3. Weeds broken off at the crown (our suppressed noxious attitudes and actions) may look like they’re gone, but they grow back—tougher, bigger and more injurious.  Each time they break off, they become progressively harder to extract. Better to dig deep, get the whole plant. Lift it out of the soil, unearthing roots of resentment, self-centeredness and fear so they can shrivel in the light.
  4. Even a 5% weed infestation can kill relationships, joy, personal growth. A few weeds can poison a whole pasture. Better to pay attention. Spot weeds as soon as they emerge, then remove them while they are small and few.
  5. Damage is often delayed. Weeds can poison slowly, making us believe that our  angers or worries, criticisms or lack of mercy are harmless and justified, and that something or someone else is responsible for the upheaval or illness, the distance or death of hope. Better to investigate. Better to know our own weeds and keep pulling.




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All that weeding. Daunting, I know. Fortunately, help’s available.

If we ask.

Anything you’d add to this list? How do you deal with your weeds?


Romans 8:26  . . .the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.

Romans 12:2 – Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

#Prayer #weeding #healing #freedom





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Love the outdoors? I can take you there. Rural & wild PNW posts and photos from a naturalist, faith writer, and author of three books, including the award-winning novel Sugar Birds. Member of Redbud Writers Guild.

10 thoughts on “Five Facts for Mind-Weeders

  1. I love how gardening gives such valuable metaphors for our life. Invasive weeds are such an appropriate example of how sin can take root in our minds…spreading and poisoning as it grows. There’s no neutral ground–either we choose to pluck it out, starve it or otherwise we nurture it by default. I suppose some sin may lay dormant for awhile, but those seeds will sprout back up the second they have the right conditions. Thanks for posting. 🙂


  2. Thank you for sharing such a simple analogy (one I will remember), and yet such a profoundly convicting and encouraging reminder! Love this. ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

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