Thursday, June 2, 2011

Lessons from My Plants

Spring is my favorite season of the year.  I love being outside enjoying the plants.   I love breathing the fresh, cool air in the morning and evenings.  I love feeling the cool breeze blow against my skin.  I feel the breath of God in the wind, whispering His love to me.  I call those breezes His kisses.  So I often spend time out of doors, meditating, praying, listening, and studying His word.  And I've found that God teaches me so much through His creation.  I want to share a few lessons I've learned.

In the area where I live Crepe Myrtles are everywhere.  Their flowers are in full bloom  during the spring, creating a beautiful painting of little blossoms in various colors--mostly pink and white in my area.  We have 4 crepe myrtles in our yard.  So as I sat in my yard last spring, I realized that all the crepe myrtles in my neighborhood, and pretty much everywhere I went, were blooming.  But mine weren't. That was so disappointing to me.  You know if you've read my posts before that I LOVE flowers.  So I wondered why my trees weren't blooming.  Well, a couple of weeks later my trees started to bloom profusely like everyone else's.  As I was pondering why our trees bloomed so late, I heard this whisper from God, "I bring forth blooms at my time."  We are never to compare ourselves with others.  Though my trees looked like they wouldn't have flowers, they bloomed right on schedule--God's schedule.  God's timing for you to bloom is probably very different from others.  But it's right on schedule.

I was also reminded by my plants that God often has to restore life in us before we can begin to grow.  Last memorial day, I bought several plants that were dying from a home improvement store.  I spent many weeks watering them, nursing them back to health.  (For those of you who know me, you know that's a miracle.  I love plants and want to grow them, I'm just not very good at it.)  Those plants did survive and in fact flourished.  God must often do this in our lives.  When we are willing to die to our own desires, God can breathe new life in us.

Last summer I tried to grow a vegetable garden.  I planted tomatoes, cucumbers, basil and water melon.  It was a pitiful little garden with barely any harvest.  I worked and worked, and had very little to show for it.  It was quite disappointing.  And yet, I had one little basil plant that grew like crazy.  That plant just flourished while everything else struggled.  I still have basil from that plant from a year ago.  That's just how much that one plant grew.  The lesson my garden taught me is that often we pour our energies into work, with very little results to show for it.  But God may bring forth an abundant harvest in an unexpected place.  Keep your eyes open to see where He is bringing forth an abundant harvest, and praise Him for it.

I'm growing a small vegetable garden again.  This year I spent a bit more time preparing the soil for the plants.  If the soil isn't ready to receive the plants, the plants won't grow.  If the soil doesn't have the right nutrients, there won't be much of a harvest.  I experienced that last year. So I added fertilizer to the soil, and added extra soil to the garden.  I'm already seeing a huge difference!  I'll let you know how well the garden produces in a couple of months.  In spiritual matters, the same principles apply.  Our hearts must be prepared to receive all that God wants us to have.  If it isn't ready, there will be no harvest.  I must be reminded of this as I seek to encourage and bless others.  I often think that if I speak words of life and truth to someone that they should receive it, and immediately begin to grow.  If frustrates me when I see a person going through the same struggles and yet refusing to make the needed changes.  But the truth is, if a  person isn't ready to receive God words, they won't change.  God knows how to add fertilizer to our lives, in order to get us ready.  By the way, it usually comes in the form of pain and suffering.

So I encourage you to go outside and enjoy your plants!  While you're enjoying them, see what lessons God teaches you through the works of His hands.

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