This past winter was harsh on my landscape. Although I was grateful for less snow to shovel (yes selfish of me – I know), the lack of moisture took its toll and several bushes and shrubs bit the dust. It was a reminder for me of how important the root system is. You may look above ground and see the greenery or the bloom and think all is well, but the proof lies beneath the soil.
My mind drifts back to when Beautiful Savior called 90th & Q Street home. I was a part of a gardening team, which maintained the front flower beds at church. I loved spring through fall when I had the opportunity to prepare the earth, sow the seeds, nestle in the new bedding plants and weed. Yes even weeding was enjoyable. After 8 hours at a desk, kneeling in the dirt and pulling out weeds was a great way to get exercise and relax at the same time. It was an education too.
You see I grew up on a farm and was well aware of crops; corn, wheat, alfalfa, but flowers were a different class, especially mum plants. Waiting until the ground was warm enough was my first lesson learned. [It’s not how warm the air temperature is, you need to understand that the dirt is still cold. “Wait until after Mother’s Day” was our motto.] After placing the small plants in newly turned soil, I couldn’t wait to see the buds set on. That’s when the second lesson came; trimming. My friend Janine would instruct, “Pinch off the buds, Doneta.” What? Isn’t that the idea? Isn’t our objective the bloom? “Yes, but not now. Pinch them off until the 4th of July.” Carefully I snipped off the buds, but Janine’s theory was “be ruthless”, even pluck a little of the lower stems. It looks shredded Janine. She nodded and explained, “We could let the buds develop, but the flowers will be weak with poor color and won’t last. Pinch it back now and growth goes to the roots. Stronger roots will result in beautiful plant in the fall. And we need to water deeply. Surface watering only causes the roots to rise to the surface. Deeper watering makes for deeper roots and stronger stems as well.”
“A sower went out to sow his seed…” Mark 4:3. So here I was the sower, the planter, the farm girl if you will with a lesson to be learned; a lesson which parallels my life. God has planned a life and a relationship with me. The flowers, blooms and fruit of my life should reflect my Father. I love the words of Ezekiel 31:7 (NIRV) “Its spreading branches made it majestic and beautiful. Its roots went down deep to where there was plenty of water.” Daily diving into His word, talking with Him each morning, thanking Him for His daily care and nourishment and sharing my joys as well as my sorrows – that’s what makes my roots strong.
When I focus too much on how I look to the world (the outside surface) instead of the depth of my heart – that’s when I run into trouble. Not waiting until I follow His leading; accepting the pruning, those difficult painful losses of my life; drinking in enough water from devotions and prayer; simply being patient and relying on His promise of never leaving or forsaking me that is when I can with His grace produce the fruit He has already planned for me. I pray that each time I am reminded in Ephesians 2:10, “For we are God’s handiwork created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
We at Beautiful Savior have that opportunity as we participate in The Story; an upcoming bible study, sermon series and devotional time, which can prepare the soil and deepen our roots for a stronger faith. Join a life group; invite someone along and hear God’s love anew!
Blessings as you blossom with the Father’s love. Doneta