How does your rose grow?

A while ago as a friend was praying for me, God had given her a picture of a rosebud tightly closed that had begun to open and she explained how she felt that God was showing her that I was the rose.

I remember at the time thinking, AWWHH!!!  How sweet? That analogy was of the bud beginning to blossom and roses are so pretty and delicate and well, I’m not at all delicate so it kinda felt really special for God to liken me to a rose.

As the day went on the rose played on my mind. Have you ever felt like the Holy Spirit just follows you around and keeps poking you to get your attention? Like on that most flabby bit of your arm that seems to hurt that wee bit more than what a poke would feel like on a nice toned bicep. Eventually, you snap. What? What you bugging me for… you ever experience that? No! just me, ok! (eye rolls)

So after an afternoon of flabby arm pokes from the HS, I eventually shut down FB and Insta and pulled out my favourite Readers Digest gardeners manual. Jokes, of course, I googled it! HOW TO GROW A GOOD ROSE,  like come on how hard can it be, all you need to do is bung it in the ground with a bit of miracle grow and bravo you have a lovely flower come summer (or spring according to our Bette).

I feel the wrath of every rose grower in the world condemn me to a life thrown in a pile of thorns ( lifetime ban from the local garden centre)

So with my sore arm and my trusty iPhone, I set about my fact-finding mission.  It soon became very clear why God wanted me to spend some time looking. I’m pretty sure if I had looked up in that second and saw Jesus, he would have to be leant against the living room doorpost arms folded, legs crossed, eyebrows raised and a great big smirk all knowing proud, see I knew you would love this one expression on his face. ( how well he knows me)

Just this week this memory has come up in conversation at least twice, so, before my arm flab falls victim to painful prodding, I’ve decided to share it with you. What I feel God revealed to me about the careful care that goes into growing a beautiful rose.. i.e a beautiful ( healthy) me. But bear in mind God is the author of this one so he may speak differently to you as you read. I love how he does that. He breathes his power into ordinary words

Fun thought: I love how the whole Bible is made up of just 26 letters, that’s it! And through the power of the Holy Spirit, God speaks into our lives and brings so much meaning form those 26 letters eh! I LOVE IT!!!

Anyways green fingers at the ready…. here is our grow manual

                                    THE ROSE

THE SITE the rose plant needs to be positioned in the sun. Ok, I feel like he was easing me in gently to this analogy..  for a healthy rose we need THE SON we need Jesus Simples…    Jesus came for us, we need him. Amen. Good start?!

“Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.”

John 14:6 NLT

THE SOIL what are we planted in? We need to be planted in rich soil. Now hear me right. I’m not talking about expensive soil. We don’t need to live in a fancy house or the posh end of town, we need to be planted in good rich kingdom soil, life giving community of like minded people living out the gospel.

“And the seed that fell on good soil represents those who hear and accept God’s word and produce a harvest of thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times as much as had been planted!””

Mark 4:20 NLT

MULCH (I had to google this one) so basically this is a layer of protection, probably bark. I believe that we get this protection from our prayer life and our relationship with the father. And through reading the truth in the word every day

“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.”
‭‭Philippians‬ ‭4:6‬ ‭NLT‬‬

WATER we can not sustain a life of joy and peace on our own because of the sinful nature of the world. We need God and a constant source of Gods grace and mercy as the living water to sustain us and keep us flourishing when faced with all the pain and suffering the world throws at us.

“They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do.”

Psalms 1:3 NLT

INSPECTION  we need to keep a check on our heart and make sure our motives are pure and right and align with God’s word. We will be more tempted to stray in isolation. Stay connected and be honest and open to a trusted friend or pastor. Allow them to speak into your life. Regularly pray for God to search your heart and for him to convict you. He will gently correct your wrongs.

“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.”

Psalms 139:23-24 NLT

PRUNE allow God to prune the things form your life that are preventing growth. As we grow in our relationship with God our heart will change. Priorities that were once so important to us change and things we once loved can become detrimental as we walk forward with God toward his purpose for our life. Let God eliminate these things from your life. Pruning may look very different for everyone and it can seem painful and it can leave you feeling raw and vulnerable. But God only ever takes something away to replace it with something better.

He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more.”

John 15:2 NLT

Beware for when a plant has been pruned and the cut is fresh the plant is most open to being infected by a disease.  As are we when we have a fresh wound, when we feel hurt and vulnerable and weak. we are most susceptible to attack from the enemy. So be on your guard 

“Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong.”

1 Corinthians 16:13 NLT

person holding red rose
Photo by Lisa Fotios on Pexels.com

There you have it. Your guidelines to grow beautiful roses. What are you waiting for??

I will leave you with the words of the great theologian Bette Middler.

And just remember in the winter far beneath the bitter snows,

lies the seed… ( I’m thinking its more a bulb or a root

but hang with it) 

that with the sun’s love ( son’s love)

IN THE SPRING BECOMES…… THE ROSE.

Thank you, Jesus,

Amen

Grow good!

love T x

Say it!

men brown and black tops
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This week has been fairly eventful. Disaster struck on Tuesday night when I was out walking our puppy Lamar and another dog chased him onto the road and into the path of oncoming traffic. In a split second, a peaceful evening walk turned into a horror scene for poor Lamar being struck by a car on the carriageway, the very shocked driver and for me taking in the scene, helpless. Instantly I knew Lamar’s injuries were bad. I ran into the road to pick him up and there was blood coming from below his body, and very obvious damage to his back end. In a panic, I started crying, thinking he was dying.  I was hyperventilating, I couldn’t think straight, all I could manage was to beg my dog not to die on me at the side of the road.

Thankfully other drivers stopped, as well as the driver who had hit him and pulled in to help me. They all quickly jumped into action to help make the dog comfortable, they talked to me to calm me down, made phone calls and googled vets to get me the right contacts to get Lamar seen to and get us to the vets. Not sure how I would have managed without these three strangers who quickly worked together to help me at the side of the road.

I was still in a bit of a state by the time I arrived back at the house and didn’t want to alarm my youngest son Joshua.  I called Carter downstairs and discreetly said I needed him to get dressed and go out for me as I needed him to go ahead of me with Lamar to the on-call vet as I had to go collect my other son Ethan from the cinema. Very quickly Carter assessed the situation and very calmly went about getting sorted to leave for the emergency vet with Lamar.

After he left I had to break the news to Joshua and we cried together and prayed that God would help Lamar and us to stay calm. We collected Ethan from the cinema and followed on to the vets to meet up with Carter.

On the way home from the vets both younger boys were very upset and in tears.  I was driving and unable to comfort them. Carter again quickly snapped into action to comfort his brothers. 

Later that night as I lay in bed playing over the evening’s events in my head, I was thinking about how well Carter copes in the situation of extreme stress and how calm and level headed he can remain under pressure, compared to the hyperventilating, panicking mess I was on the side of the road. 

Lamar, on cage arrest, as he awaits his femur surgery.

those eyes!

85e2f470-6d3c-4b75-b84a-11054ebabe25This isn’t the first time Carter has snapped into action when faced with sudden stress. He was the same the night that his brother slipped and badly broke his arm. And the time the clutch went in my car in the middle lane of traffic on a busy junction, and the time we got lost in Portugal in the middle of the day as our skin roasted with no shade or suncream. All situations where I panicked he stayed level headed and calm.

My son has this really desirable characteristic and I wondered if he was even aware that he has this special quality.

The next day as we discussed our pup’s broken femur with the boys, I brought up Carter’s ability to remain calm while Joshua and Mum quickly turned to basket cases. Carter always stayed calm. Carter quickly shrugged it off like it was no big deal. So I repeated what I had said with a little more emphasis on the comparison between my reaction and his. I told him that I believed God made him with that unique ability and had given him it with a purpose and plan for his life.

I was surprised to see how quickly he dismissed this. In a way, because it wasn’t a talent like singing or dancing or football skill it didn’t matter; to me, this particular life skill would be much more beneficial than having ball skills but that’s not how he saw it.

I thought about how often I miss opportunities to praise people or point out their distinctive abilities, but I can compliment talent or praise a mastered skill.

I believe there is a big gap in the market for compliments and I want to fill it.

My favourite Psalm is 139. I don’t think I could ever get bored reading it.

“You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvellous—how well I know it. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.”

Psalms 139:13-16 NLT

God knit us together in our mother’s womb.. he made all our delicate inner parts. God has crafted us all individually. We are not carbon copies of our parents. God had hand designed us and crafted us each individually with plans and purpose

I believe God also crafted our abilities and skills and talents within us each personally to suit all our individual needs and purpose in life. 

Throughout our life, we get opportunities to develop and grow these gifts and abilities but they are there since we were formed in utter seclusion of our mother’s womb.

God knew about Carter before I did. He had a plan for his life and knew then what Carter was going to need to fulfil these plans,  just as he did for you and me and everyone else on the planet.

What a shame it would be for any of those custom-made traits go undiscovered because they are hidden under a veil of doubt or lack of self-belief.

What does it cost us to speak out and tell someone that does something well?

Who has ever dropped dead from a word of encouragement?

Somehow it’s more natural to praise and give feedback when someone sings, or plays an instrument, or performs on stage or wins an award. And we can stay stuff like oh you are amazing, you are so talented or gifted or you are special. We want them to believe in themselves.

What about when someone’s gifting is hospitality, when someone serves others with a lot of thought and consideration and planning, they have the heart to make others always feel welcome and loved. Would you be as quick to acknowledge their special gift for hospitality as you would to praise the guy who played the amazing guitar solo during the offering?

What about Carter? The person who can remain calm in the midst of trauma and disaster, who, in his shyness, didn’t think that was an ability worth acknowledging. How would people know that what they have is remarkable unless we remark on it?  No one ever wants to have to deal trauma but isn’t this the type of person we want to help us? Yet how would he ever know this is helpful to people if he wasn’t told.

Do you see someone with a compassion heart? Tell them, encourage that.

Do you see someone who is a quick thinking problem solver? Point it out.

Do you see someone who is able to consider possible problems before jumping in? Encourage that,

Do you see someone with good healthy boundaries?

Someone who only ever speaks kindly of others?

Someone who’s first reaction is the see the positive?

Someone who after a set back can dust off and retry?

Speak up, point out good qualities, encourage abilities and positive personalities, people’s strengths. I know it’s awkward as! You feel wick. What’s all this brown nosing about. Will they think I’m like hero-worshipping them? I don’t want to give them a big head? What if they think I fancy them, they will think I’m a crazy stalker! Ok ok, be wise. Do it in company if need be to have someone with you when you talk to them. DO NOT  call to someone’s house you barely know at 11 o’clock at night to tell them you saw them stop to help an elderly man cross the road, You think that this a really great quality, yes, but that would be weird, but next time you bump into them you could TELL THEM..

I promise you won’t spontaneously combust, but it could make the difference between someone believing in herself or not, the difference between someone walking into their purpose or not. 

“Discover creative ways to encourage others and to motivate them toward acts of compassion, doing beautiful works as expressions of love. This is not the time to pull away and neglect meeting together, as some have formed the habit of doing. In fact, we should come together even more frequently, eager to encourage and urge each other onward as we anticipate that day dawning.”

Hebrews 10:24-25 TPT

have a better week

love T x