I am not a gardener. Plants look at me and die which is odd given my mom is a natural green thumb. When I lived in Hawaii I desperately wanted plants around my house and finally went to Lowe’s seeking help. I explained my brown thumb syndrome to an associate there and she handed me a plant. “If you can kill this one you should just quit,” she challenged jokingly. A week later it was dead. I haven’t had a plant since.
In May my mother-in-law took me shopping for spring flowers. She did all the planting and told me all I had to do is water and deadhead the flowers as they die. It’s now been three months and I have managed to keep five beautiful pots of petunias in rich shades of magenta & mulberry alive. Each day (sometimes twice!), as I am out there watering my plants, I cannot help but think of our Lord. He has taught me three valuable lessons though these silly flowers.
- Growth Takes Consistency
I have to water every day, sometimes twice a day. I skipped a watering recently and when I looked out my dining room window I could literally see the plants looking dry and withered. Fortunately a little extra water did the trick. Our growth also takes consistent time in the Word. We cannot fool ourselves into thinking growth can happen when we are not being watered.
- You Must Cut Out The Dead to Make Room for Life
Deadheading is the gardening term used for the removal of faded or dead flowers from plants. Deadheading is generally done both to maintain a plant’s appearance and to improve its overall performance. From far away my plants look bright and full of healthy flowers. When you get up close, however, you can see the thriving blooms are surrounded by those which have died and need to be removed to permit the growth of new blossoms. Our lives are also like this. We may appear to be thriving from the outside, but there are still things inside our hearts which the Lord needs to pluck out so we can truly grow into the plant (person!) he has designed us to be. Fortunately, our Lord is an excellent gardener. Whereas I go in a little too aggressively and sometimes remove a good flower with the dead, he is gentle and precise.
- There May Be Seasons When You Don’t Appear to be Blooming
As petunias grow, the stems stretch out away from their roots and the flowers at the end start to bloom much smaller. At that point, it may become necessary to cut back the plant entirely, removing almost all of the blooms. For a time, that plant may have no flowers at all but in time it will blossom again with bright, full flowers. You may feel as though you are in a season where you are not blooming or that you have been stretched out so far you are producing what is small and weak. Take this season to rest with the Lord. Let Him cut back the areas in your life that are not His best for you. It may be hard, but know that in time you will come back full, bright, and bold.