Tag: flowers

Casting Down their Golden Crowns

At the end of summer, the bounty of the season becomes plainly visible. Fruit trees are heavy with ripening fruits of all kinds. Vegetables are on their second or third crop. Vines of gourds and squash are laden with maturing produce.

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One of the most dramatic looking plants is the Giant Sunflower. These can grow to be 10-12 feet tall, with thick, bulky stalks and large, broad, flat leaves. Most spectacular, however, is the head of the sunflower. The bright yellow-orange petals stand at attention around a wide dark platform of seeds up to 2 feet across!

The larger these giant heads, the more they weigh. Often, these giant sunflowers will be seen with their heads braced by support poles or with ropes making a sling of sorts to help with the weight. Still, the heavier and more abundant the seeded head, the more it droops. Eventually, it may bend down all the way to the ground, if it doesn’t snap the stalk first.

sunflower-1705178_640Several of these extraordinary flowers grow around a lake nearby. Early on, they overshot many of the other flowers in the bed. By mid-summer, they were towering over everything else, standing alone as giants among the rest. Watching them grow all summer was exciting. But soon it became obvious that the strain of the large showy heads was too much for them.

The sheer weight of the head of the flower began to bend the stalk. The spectacular golden-crowned heads, bowing down reminded me of the lyric in a hymn about the future:

“All Thy works shall praise Thy name in earth and sky and sea…

Casting down their golden crowns around the glassy sea”

from Holy, Holy, Holy by Reginald Heber © 1826

What a posture of homage these majestic flowers assume depicting our purpose and privilege on earth is to attain crowns so that we may offer them to Jesus. What a beautiful image, illustrating how one day we will all bow down and lay our crowns at the feet of Jesus: a token of our gratitude for what He has allowed us to experience and produce in our lives.

Rev. 4:10 gives us this: “…the 24 elders fall down before Him who is seated on the throne… and cast down their crowns before the throne,” to honor and glorify God.

It is not our purpose to be grandiose and showy, but to honor God with what we are, to worship Him with what He has allowed us to produce. These beautiful colorful flowers will always remind me that what we are given is for God’s glory.

And our posture should mimic nature’s own.

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The Master Gardener

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I was looking at some packets of seeds today, preparing to start them growing inside to transplant into my garden when the danger of frost has passed. The instructions said some do best in full sun, some in partial and some only thrive in shade.

Also, some germinate in 6-10 days while some take 20-30 days before peeking their tiny green shoots above ground. Some can be planted a half inch apart, and some need more room to grow.

It started me thinking how caring for children is like taking care of plants. They are not all alike. In order for them to grow, we have to take care to recognize what the best conditions are for each of them to thrive.

Instructionsplant            1 – they grow at different rates. So what a 3 year-old is doing in one family may be totally different from what another 3 year-old is capable of. And they are both normal.

2 – they need room to grow. Some are very social and can play closely with other children. Others do best with parallel play, rather than so much interacting. They seem to need their space.

3 – amount of sunlight. Some wake up raring to go and can’t wait to get outside and run all day. Others need a more sheltered, protected, slower pace to their day.

The challenge is children don’t come in convenient packets, with labels that help you get all the conditions just right. It’s a matter of getting to know your child, and noting what circumstances and people seem to help them grow, and those that don’t. You can’t make a sunflower grow tall in the dark – or a begonia do well in bright sunlight. So parenting skills need to be developed and refined for each child.

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And what about that picture on the front of the packet that shows what the fully-grown flowers are supposed to look like? Wouldn’t that be nice to have for each of our children? If we knew what they would grow up to be like, we would have an easier time of preparing them along the way.

Our saving grace is that God knows. He has a special plan for each child, a plan to prosper them and not to harm them (Jeremiah 29:11). He loves them even more than we love them. And to provide them with a hope and a future, God has given them the very parents He wants them to have. When we don’t have the wisdom to parent them, He is willing to share His wisdom with us.

So be encouraged that if your child doesn’t look like another child, that’s okay. If they don’t grow at the same rate as another child, or have the same skills or interests, that’s okay too. Just like flowers are different, children are different. They’re supposed to be. Imagine if all the gardens only had one kind of blossom!

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So we water and weed, fertilize and feed, provide shade and sunlight as best we can. But not being sure of what we’ve planted can be hard. Yet, there is hope. Know that even when you’re at your wit’s end, God will help you and give you what you need to parent your child.

Ask Him now. He is the Master Gardener.

 

Spring

Today is my first day of yard work. What a mess! Spring brings new life, and life is messy!

It must be Spring. The calendar says it. The occasional warm day bears it out.

Winter lays down a coat of snow and keeps things covered up until Spring’s warmth melts the frostiness into a nourishing drink of water that encourages and promotes new growth.

crocus-2072985_640When new shoots and tiny blossoms poke their heads up, we begin to see crocus, grape hyacinth and the green leaves of iris, tulips and daffodils. A gentle raking removes the dead tree leaves that have blown into the yard throughout the winter and reveals even more new growth underneath. But for the new growth to continue, the old, dead brown parts from each plant must be removed. During winter, they cover the plants to protect from extremes in temperature and frozen snow.

But if left now, they would block the needed moisture and sunlight. So, one at a time, they must be selected and gently but firmly pulled from the emerging plants to make room for healthy new growth. Once sunlight and water have access, we need to provide fertilizer to feed the newly reborn plants, since over time, the ground’s nutrients are depleted and need to be restored.

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Some of the newly exposed growth is weeds. They have sprung up in the dark and taken root, looking just as green and eager to grow as the flowers. But they too, must be removed, as they compete for moisture, sunlight and space and would crowd out the desired plants.

 

Spring brings work with its new life. And it’s time we roll up our sleeves and get to work in our spiritual lives as well!

In the winter, we often pull back, almost hibernate. With the cold weather, and fewer hours of sunlight, we take our activities indoors. Much of what we do is hidden. We layer activities like we layer our clothes, so people don’t see what’s underneath our busyness. Even though we are growing in our faith, in our relationship with God, it may not be evident. Are we growing? Are we making and taking time to study God’s Word, listen to His voice of direction?                          crocus-590738_640

In Spring we need to uncover and let in the sun, water and nutrients that help us grow again. Has a weed sprung up in a mistaken belief that we don’t need to study God’s Word? Has the lie entangled our roots that we don’t need a small group of Christians to fellowship with – made us think that we can sustain obedience to God and spiritual growth on our own? Has a past hurt or unmet need become a dead leaf that needs to be gently but firmly pulled loose? Have we wrapped ourselves in layers of busyness and old excuses for not serving with our time as well as our pocketbook? These ‘dead leaves’ and ‘weeds’ will kill our growth. They block the sunlight and absorb the moisture we need to have life. They insulate us from the revitalizing ‘fertilizer’ we need to live, and our faith can slowly die, rotting away in our dark, suffocating, isolated, spot.

Life takes work. When we strip away the dead leaves, what will be left? Our faith. Our trust in God. Our saving knowledge that He loves us, has a plan for us and desires to know us better. We need to feed that faith. For it to grow, we need to ‘renew our minds’ and so be transformed into a blossoming, thriving Christian. We renew our minds by reading God’s Word, speaking and listening to Him in prayer, fellowshipping with other believers, thinking on things that are godly. We grow by stretching our faith by giving our money, our talents, and our time in service to our church body and to those outside the body who are physically and spiritually in need.

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God shows us so much through His creation. Let’s be sure we are gleaning all He has to say in every season of life.

To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven. Ecclesiastes 3:1 KJV