I was looking for something else this morning and found this that I had written about 3 years ago. So this may look familiar to some of my friends out in facebook land. But I felt it fit the moment, as I was rereading it. So I wanted to share it on my blog. It references a picture, but I’m not sure where that picture got off to. So there is a a picture of canna lillies that I found on the internet at the end of the article, just to give you an idea of what they look like, for those of you who don’t know.
So here is what I wrote a few years ago & I hope it blesses you:
I have learned some things recently that I feel led to share. So here goes.
A week or so ago, I posted a picture of some Canna Lilies that came up in my back yard. They are still there and still continuing to grow. They are so pretty and I love them. Anyways, I have learned a lot from having these flowers. At first, I felt like God just wanted me to have some flowers, so here they are. I felt blessed that he would show me love in this way. However, I was soon to find out it went way deeper than that.
First of all, just to let you know, I can’t really say that I have a green thumb. But then again, I never really tried. I haven’t ever really had an interest in gardening or anything. I love flowers and think they are very beautiful, but had no interest in getting out there and working in the dirt. Though I do have fond memories as a child and going out on the tractor with my Poppy and out in the garden with my Nanna when I was little. But I don’t remember ever keeping the interest going as I got older.
Back on task. We moved into our new house in Burns Flat around Spring Break 2014. Out in the back yard was a pile of leaves and things that I knew I needed to rake up, but I kept saying I will do it later. Well June came around and flowers started to come up and bloom. Well now all those leaves and things are in between the flowers and weeds are growing around them. Well, if I want to keep the flowers, I need to get busy and take care of business. So, I got out the big rake and got all the stuff that I could with that around the outside of the flowers. Then I noticed that there is still stuff between the flowers that a big rake is just going to tear up the leaves of the flowers. So I went and bought one that is tiny rake, whatever you call them and started working at getting the rest of it out of there. I also bought one of those little shovels to maybe dig out the one weed next to the flowers, because I didn’t want to spray it and kill the flowers in the process. I also looked up how to take care of Canna Lilies online, so that I could know what I was doing somewhat. I am still working on making them better and the bigger weed is still there, because the weed does not want to come up. But I haven’t’ given up yet. I don’t go out every day, but I try to get out there and spend a little time when I can.
Now to the things I have learned through this process. Through reading the story, some of you may be able to see some of the lessons, but I’m going to list them anyway.
-I have learned that you have to prepare to receive. Now, I didn’t know there were flowers under that pile, but I needed to keep up with what the yard looked like as a responsible person. I might have even noticed that there were old leaves from the previous year’s growth. Now I don’t know if I would have known what I was looking at, since I do not really have a lot of know how when it comes to plants, but a different opportunity could have presented itself. I do look out the window every morning to see if new flowers have bloomed, since there are several of them. You also never know when God is going to bless you, so expecting the blessing and keeping attuned to God by keeping the clutter out of our lives is important. Not to mention that if we don’t take care of our weeds/clutter/unhelpful things in our lives, then we will end up with a bigger mess.
-This one is kind of a part of lesson 1. I learned in a more concrete way something I have known all along. I have to look in God’s Word to know how to live my life. Like I looked up how to care for those flowers. I did not look up random things on the internet trying to find stuff about my flowers, like I sometimes do in the Bible. I went to google and typed in “how to take care of Canna Lilies”. Sometimes, I just read stuff instead of just really searching for what the Bible says about the situation I am dealing with. If I do that with everything I would really know nothing. If when writing a paper in school, I just looked up random articles instead of information that pertained to the topic I was working on, then I would not have done very well in school. Instead, I need to look for the parts of the Bible that speak to my situation. Now that is not to say that reading the Bible just because is bad, because it’s not. It’s actually good to read the Bible and know the Bible more thoroughly in order to know God better. But when a specific problem comes up, it is important to find those scriptures that are relevant to that problem, instead of one that addresses another problem all together.
-I have learned that I have to take care of God’s blessings. These flowers may have continued to grow and bloom some, but if I don’t get out there and get rid of the weeds, the weeds will choke out the flowers, which I do not want to happen. This is the same in our spiritual lives, if we don’t get the weeds or things that are not helping us out of our lives, then all the good things that God is trying to do in our lives will be choked out (Matthew 13:1-30), even though they might grow for a short time, they will not stay around and become part of our character like God wants it to. Sometimes it needs to be done ahead of time or the job is harder, like my flowers. If I had gotten rid of the leaf pile early on, this problem wouldn’t be here or at least not as severe, since weeds do try to creep back in.
-Also, if you have all the weeds and such after the flowers have bloomed, then you can’t just rip up what’s in between flowers with some huge rake. Gentleness is required with a smaller tool in order to preserve the flowers/plants. There is a time for ripping up the bigger stuff and a time for gently weeding out smaller stuff. I have had times in my life where I have had to just rip things out or get rid of things “cold turkey”. For example, when I was younger I used to love vampires and all things vampire. But in my late 20’s, God told me to get rid of everything vampire in my life. This included a lot of things and I ripped it all out of my life and all I have left of it is a tattoo reminder of it. There have also been times when I had to slowly get rid of things, in order to preserve something that God wanted me to keep. For example, getting rid of media that is unnecessary, such as being on the computer as much as I have been, yet I need the computer for work and I do want to stay in contact with friends and relatives that are out of state. But I spend way too much time on facebook/pinterest, etc. So God is showing me how to get rid of what I need to, without getting rid of what is needed/wanted in my life. And actually I would rather be reading most of the time anyway, but I seem to just keep scrolling, because I feel like I need to get to the end of the page, which is really nonexistent.
-Next, even though I did not plant the flowers, I am still capable and willing to help them grow. As a counselor, I have quite a few clients. Now I may not have given birth to them or raised them, but I am capable and willing to help them grow and make it through the rough times in their lives. This is also true for my fellow human beings. Everyone has potential inside of them that God planted there and I can be a person of encouragement and help them to grow. With God’s help I can do anything. I may not have known much about plants, but I am capable of figuring out how to do things by prayer and research and then following through with what I have learned. I need God’s strength to do it all the time. It is hard to do things God’s way, when the world wants to do it the total opposite way. “I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:13.
I have learned that I hear from God when I am out there working on the flowers.
Through each step I have taken to take care of them, God has shown me all the above things. When I was in college it was the same way. When I was sitting in class, I could hear God showing me things, especially when talking about certain theories and ways of helping people. For example, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is a good example and I use a lot of it with my clients. In this theory, we teach people to change their thinking in order to change their behaviors. It is a little more detailed than that, but that is essentially what it is about. Well guess what, Romans 12:2 says, “Do not conform 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.” This is done by reading God’s Word so that we can see things clearly and think more like Jesus.
Now I don’t know whether I will take up gardening permanently. But I am enjoying taking care of the flowers God gave me. I mean that with the real flowers in the back yard and the children/adults that I work with as a counselor, because they are also beautiful flowers that God has given to me to work with for a time. Jesus loves the little children and I want to do my best with what He has entrusted me with. I am sure there is more to learn, but I am still working with the flowers, so we’ll see what God has to teach me next.