Tag: gardening

If a Rose needs support – do I – Part 2

rosetrellisI’ve discovered putting a mature rose bush on a trellis can be a thorny and painful process.

Especially when the branches are heavy with blossoms and when the winding arms have already started down a path contrary to the direction I want them to go.

It’s the same with me. I’m the rose bush.

When I’ve been going my own way for a while, it takes more effort to change direction. To be willing to bend to the new way – even if I know it will benefit me in the long run.

 

 

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My trellis is the Bible. It’s the firm, never changing, God-inspired framework that guides and supports my life.

Often I know what I should do in a situation because the Bible is clear on its teaching. And I’m familiar with what it says. In these cases I don’t even have to think about my decisions.

Those instances seem natural to me. There’s comfort and support in the sturdiness of the framework that backs me. It helps bear my weight . And I lean on its structure as I grow.

Other times I come upon a verse that says something new to me and I feel a conviction to make a change in my attitude or behavior that causes some discomfort as I align myself to the structure of the trellis. That particular scripture becomes a sticking point for me that lifts me up, giving me guidance and new direction.

20180623_161520And then sometimes, there is a greater challenge. Without much thought, I allow myself to stray in a direction that feels freeing at first. It may be that other people are going that way and I think it would be fun.

But further down the path I see it leading me in a direction that takes me away from what I know is good. And I have to make a hard choice.

Sometimes it means making a U-turn and I have to bend over backwards to come back into alignment. That’s uncomfortable as I pull away from the people and activity I had joined. Uncomfortable because I want people to like me. And I want to be known as reliable and trustworthy, not fickle and inconsistent.

On rare occasions though, a U-turn isn’t possible. I simply have to cut off the branch entirely and discard the pieces that went in the wrong direction. This brings fear and embarrassment. Fear of what other people will think of me. They may question my choice, tease me, call me names, or talk badly about me behind my back. It hurts when I feel rejected.

Embarrassing because I made a bad choice and got myself into something I didn’t anticipate and couldn’t handle. These occasions are sticky, thorny situations. They are painful.

Painful because of the rejection I feel, but also a loss. I grieve the time and effort and resources wasted. And I grieve the loss of the relationships and doing something I enjoyed, at least for a while.

Fastening even one branch of a rogue rose bush to a trellis can be a painful chore. Its thorns scratch and grab at my sleeves, causing little snags or tears in the fabric. Sometimes they scratch and grab at me, leaving the skin on my arms full of small, bloody reminders of my efforts.

In my own life, redirection or pruning can cause just as much soreness and pain.

climbing-roses-1431123_640I haven’t finished the rose bush project yet. But as with my own life, we’re both works in progress. Thankfully my Gardener has a beautiful plan for me. With His endless patience and boundless grace He won’t give up on me no matter the scratches.

I love gardening.

And I love my Gardener!

 

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I LOVE gardening!

 

 

I LOVE gardening!

I love being able to work in an area and look back and see a difference in where I’ve been.

It makes me feel like I’ve accomplished something. Like I’ve made a difference.

I think it goes back to one of my earliest memories of my grandmother. This was back in the day before sprinkler systems. Heck – maybe even before sprinklers!

my Minnie and me 1953

When I was just able to walk, we would spend time every evening watering her flowerbeds. She would let me hold the hose and direct the water. I dragged the hose from one bed to another and watched the brown dirt around the flowers turn a deep dark black with the moisture, then make little rivulets from one plant to the next.

I even liked it when the water splashed on the concrete sidewalk, making a darkened trail where one could follow my movements from one place to another. Or when we walked through it and left visible footprints.

 

So many things I do on a daily basis are not like that at all. They don’t give me the satisfaction of literally seeing where I’ve been and how I’ve impacted my environment.

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For example, the laundry is never ending. Even if I wash every single item of clothing I own, at the end of the day, when I take off what I’m wearing, there’s laundry in the basket again.

 

I plan menus, shop for food, prepare and cook meals and present them to my family. Even if I’ve outdone myself with healthy, nutritious, great–tasting dinners, everyone’s hungry in a few hours and the pressure is on again.

money-256312_640Doing my taxes feels somewhat like an accomplishment. After sifting through bills, receipts, calendars and notes and placing the carefully calculated numbers in their appropriate spaces, I can sign the form and mail it in. But even while hopefully awaiting the refund check, I am organizing and sorting bills and receipts for the next year’s return.

Parenting has both worrisome and rewarding moments, but the job is truly never done. And you can’t even be the one to take credit when something goes right. There are so many influences on children, it’s hard to know all that might have had an impact on them.

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But when I have spent a day or even just an hour in the yard, I can wipe my brow and look back on a row that has been cleared of weeds and know that I had an impact.

Or stand tall, hands on my hips and see a newly planted bed of flowers and know that my effort has brought beauty to a previously barren place.

I LOVE gardening!

 

The Weeds are back!

Just when I think the lawn is greening up and looking alive, I realize the green I see is mostly weeds! They probably never left but just lay dormant until Spring’s rain and sun coaxed them out of hiding.

One way to deal with weeds is to poison them. But if the weeds are in or near areas of desired vegetation, the poison will kill the good plants too. So the solution is to pull the undesirable weeds out of the places where desirable plants are growing.

I’ve learned two good steps in getting rid of weeds like this: prepare the ground, prepare yourself.

1 – Prepare the ground. In order for the ground to be willing to give up the weeds, it must be prepared in advance. If you go out and mow or just start pulling, you’re liable to only get the weed tops. When the roots remain, all you’ve done is stimulate the plant to grow more vigorously! It will come back again and again, each time more hardy than the last.

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So a day or so before the uprooting, the ground needs to be thoroughly soaked and maybe tilled a little. Then loosen with a pitchfork of sorts to break the hold the cemented soil has on the roots. When this is done pulling up weeds and getting the roots is more successful.

photo by samanthas

2 – Prepare yourself. This step is intended to protect you during your weed-pulling excursion. Sunscreen or protective clothing may be desired to limit the sun’s burning ultraviolet rays. There may be strategically located places on your body that are exposed during the squatting and bending hours of pulling weeds that burn very quickly and can leave you hurting when the work is done. Also, a mat or pad to kneel on or lean down on can save your lower back from the discomfort of bending at the waist.

Use a hand tool to break up the earth when it seeks to hold the roots tighter than your own arm strength. The final protection: appropriately thick or leather gloves to give you the firm grip you need to get leverage on the weeds as well as protect your hands from thorns and stickers.

Prepared in this way, you can enjoy a wonderful experience of clearing an area of ground to allow grass or new plants to take root. And they can grow unencumbered by the choking demands of unsightly weeds.

And so it is with life.

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Weeds of bitterness, jealousy, shame, anger, and fear can ruin your enjoyment of life. They can get a stranglehold on your sense of peace and destroy your attitude of Christian love. They show up as ugly and undesirable feelings, as cross, unkind words, as unloving attitudes. But you can tackle them!

Following the same guidelines as for gardening, you can have a beautiful, healthy, enjoyable life, growing in peace and joy.

1 – Prepare the ground. Spend time in prayer asking God to go before you and to be at work in the situation causing you pain. He may choose to change the circumstances, but He may also choose to change something in you. Be willing to accept what God tells you is needed. Ask Him to work in the circumstances and in the lives of any people involved.

If you need to go to someone and talk to them, ask God to safeguard the time set aside for the meeting and prepare their hearts to help you remove the weed between you. Also ask God to send the Holy Spirit to be in control and guide both your words and their responses.

2 – Prepare yourself. Go forward in the full armor and protection of God. To be cleansed in His perfect forgiveness, confess any sin in your life. Be especially specific involving the “weed” situation you are working on. Ask for and accept His forgiveness, cleansing you from your sin, guilt and shame.

Then prayerfully ask for God to give you His perspective on the problem. He may want to teach you something through this difficulty. Ask for His will to be done in the situation. Ask God for wisdom to show you how to get a grip on and remove the root of the issue. And put on the armor of God found in Ephesians 6 to protect you from anything that might keep the “weed” alive in your life to defeat you.

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You may discover that the biggest, meanest looking weeds give way easily when God has prepared both you and the ground.

Don’t be afraid to tackle the weeds!

 

Keep pulling on them and working the ground till they give way and are gone! In this way, you can be a victorious Christian, enjoying the fruits of the Spirit taking root and growing unencumbered in your new, weed-free life!