I’m so happy to introduce guest blogger, Candace Salamone, to you. Candace and I have been mentoring together since the last time Tom’s and my interview was aired on Focus on the Family. I love Candace and am overjoyed watching God’s movement in her life. May you be blessed as you read a portion of her story over the next 3 weeks.
While love is usually what leads us into marriage, sadly, it’s what often dries up as time passes and life happens. Dry ground is no place for new growth, but God has a plan that will drench your marriage’s love drought and produce a plentiful love harvest.
“I said, ‘Plant the good seeds of righteousness, and you will harvest a crop of love.Plow up the hard ground of your hearts, for now is the time to seek the Lord, that may come and shower righteousness upon you.’” Hosea 10:12, NLT (emphasis added)
I read this verse recently through the blur of tear-filled eyes and with a heart as empty as my husband’s closet. Along with his clothes, I had packed away the hopes and dreams for our marriage.
Me harvest love? How? There are no good seeds in my marriage. How can I reap love after all that’s happened? I don’t know all that’s happened in your marriage, but God does. And when the One who is himself, love, assures a harvest, it’s a promise you can grab hold of.
My marriage was in a totally hopeless, end-of-the-rope place where harvesting anything from it, much less love, seemed beyond impossible. Our love tank had been empty for more than a few harvest seasons.
Can you relate?
God’s desire is to heal our hearts and restore love to our marriages. I’m beginning to experience the buds of new love growing, and I believe you can too. Hope is rising in my marriage where weeds of despair had grown dense. True forgiveness is sprouting where deep-rooted hurts had smothered peace. And I’m no longer fixating on my husband’s issues—trusting the Lord to work on him instead. Love is growing.
I’ll be sharing more on how we got there over the next 3 weeks on Sandy’s blog.
But I’ll start by saying, the work began in me, and it started here with Hosea 10:12. Everywhere I went, Hosea was there. On the radio and in my dreams. Even in my own backyard.
Work gloves on, several shovels and wheel barrow in tow, I stepped into the yard to remove piles of loose dirt left behind by a project. The piles looked loose, but when I thrust the shovel into them, they were hard as rock. With all my strength, swinging sharp, heavy tools, only crumbs broke away.
How could loose dirt harden so quickly? No one packed it down. It was untouched, yet completely hardened, and impossible for me to move.
God’s gentle whisper pierced my spirit. This is just like your heart. What do you mean? I asked.
These piles of dirt are like the hurts and wrongs you’ve collected over the years. They’ve piled up in your heart, untouched and have hardened. Your heart couldn’t receive love even if I sent it.
Holy Spirit was right. I was holding onto years of wrongs, causing the ground of my heart to harden. God had my attention as I remembered the verse from Hosea. He showed me that the hardness of my heart was blocking my love harvest. Like the farming metaphor in the verse implies, I had work to do.
Farmers know they can’t plant and harvest in the same season. Not only do seeds take time and tending to grow, but before seed goes into the ground, the dirt itself must be carefully and meticulously prepared to receive it.
What if, like mine, your love harvest has been delayed because the planting ground of your heart hasn’t been properly prepared to receive it?
God’s plan in Hosea 10:12 can change that. It says: in order to harvest love, you must plant righteousness, but before you plant, first, you must plow.
The Hosea 10:12 Plan
Step 1: Plow up the hard ground of your hearts
Plowing has a very specific purpose in preparing soil for seed. It turns the upper layer over, bringing fresh nutrients to the surface, while burying the weeds (like unforgiveness, bitterness and resentment) and dislodging the roots and remains of previous crops (or in our case, past wrongs) so that they break down and die.
Bringing in fresh nutrients is like allowing light into the dirt below the surface. So, for me, plowing meant acknowledging the truth of what the Lord had shown me.
Uncovering the root of the problem is the first step towards resolving it. The ground of my heart needed work, and I couldn’t do it alone.
Step 2: Now is the time to seek the Lord
Invite the Lord in. Ask Him to show you what’s piled in your heart that has you stuck, then release it to Him. His word promises that He rights every wrong. That means you can stop building a case for your pain and holding on to the causes.
I’d been stuck in survival mode, justifying my heart’s condition for far too long. Pleading my case one last time, I wrote each wrong on the pages of my journal and released it, saying, “I forgive my husband for [insert each wrong] and I trust You, Lord, with my heart.”
When we do this, God promises to do the heavy lifting for us. He says, “I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart.” (Ezekiel 36:26, NLT, emphasis added)
A responsive heart. That’s exactly what I needed in order for my heart to receive anything—including the seeds that would produce love.
Previous pain doesn’t have to kill our marriages, but we must turn the roots over to the Lord. Left untouched, they’ll battle anything we try to plant. New growth simply won’t take root.
Step 3: Plant the good seeds of righteousness
Ordinary seeds won’t produce love, only the good seeds will. Where do they come from? Hosea tells us. God provides them.
He is our supply and portion for every need. When we do what we can do, God does what only He can do:
Plow your hearts (what we can do),
Seek the Lord (us, again),
so that He (God) may come and shower righteousness (the good seeds) on you.
When we do the plowing, God does the showering. Your work will prepare the way so that His “good seeds of righteousness” fall on fertile ground.
God is love. That means His seeds will produce the crop of love He promises. Unlike the romantic love of this world, God’s love fulfills, satisfies and endures.
Don’t let another harvest season pass you by. Start this work in your heart. Release your hurts to the Lord, and allow Him to produce a love harvest that will overflow to your husband. God’s love truly can cover a multitude of sin.
Let’s get plowing.
May I pray for you? Father, I lift my sister and her marriage up to you. You know the depths of pain she’s endured and the tears cried. Comfort her. Thank you for the promise of harvesting a crop of love. Help her to follow Your plan by plowing the hardened ground of her heart so that You can come and drench her in Your righteousness. Thank you that with Your help, she can break down the remains of previous hurts and release them to you. Give her the strength and courage to get plowing and to trust you with her husband. Thank you in advance for healing and restoring her marriage. In Jesus’ name. Amen.