We recently re-envisioned and re-designed our backyard space…well it was really more of one of my “Honey, I have an idea” moments to which my poor husband Dave groans and rolls his eyes wondering how much effort, financial investment and time this particular ‘idea’ is going to cost him. This project involved tearing down our old play fort and replacing it with a beautiful butterfly garden with a swing as well as a separate fire pit area. I also envisioned colorful rose bushes that would climb over a trellis with a swing hanging down in the middle of it. It’s become a big project!
As I was purchasing the roses the gardener queried if we currently had rose bushes and how they were fairing. I nodded and exclaimed that yes we had roses and they were huge and were doing really well (with really no thanks to us and our green thumbs). We have no clue what we are doing, have never pruned it, fed it, or fertilized it yet it’s growing very well and huge, providing a sanctuary for the birds who come visiting for their seeds as well as much needed privacy on our back porch. He went on to explain that there was a terrible disease called Rosette spreading all across our area destroying rose bushes. I sure was thankful we didn’t have that and cheerfully purchased all our new plants including some rose bushes.
As soon as I returned home with my new plant purchases I examined our huge rose bush and was absolutely shocked to see many of the dark red shoots that he had described jutting out all over our precious bush! We had the disease. Ug. Scouring the internet for more information and asking other experts, I learned that the disease had taken out ALL of the rose bushes at the Fort Worth Botanical Gardens as well as the entire crop of roses in Tyler, TX, the city known for its gorgeous blooms. How devastating! What was the cure? Sadly, there was none known. I was instructed to bag up the diseased plant and take it to the trash.
Not being one to give up easily I decided instead to PRAY over our beautiful bush, a treasured gift from our veterinarian after our dog Sandy passed away. Additionally, my approach is to go out each morning and pluck off all the offending growths and keep on doing so in order to hopefully maintain this adornment to our yard. I pluck them off just with my fingers, no clippers, as these small growths come off quite easily. If left to gather strength though they develop into nasty, gnarly, sci-fi worthy creations with huge thorny spikes and ugly, ugly dark red ‘blossoms’. Creepy. At that point they require careful dissection with metal shears to avoid the sharp thorns.
As I was removing all the tiny buds of destruction this morning the Lord reminded me that our minds are just like my precious rose bush. As the negative and untrue thoughts creep into our minds, we quickly brush over them, deciding they are not that big of a deal. However, the more we fester and stew on these thoughts the more they grow into those gnarly, ugly, destructive protrusions in our minds and in our hearts. It could be anything from repeated thoughts of bitterness to others, guilt over a past sin, hopelessness to think we can ever ‘really’ change, or the myriad other ways that we go down the path of pain and bondage. Removing it at that point takes a lot more work and does a whole lot more damage than if we ‘nipped it in the bud’. I get it, Lord.
Lately I have been plagued by condemnation as a homeschool mom and business owner. Lies such as: you’re no good at this – why keep trying, you’re not organized enough, they aren’t going to be able to make it in the ‘real world’, they would be better off in school, and then on the business front: no one wants what you have created, why did you even start this business, you’re wasting your time and energy for no real results, and on and on. I did not ‘nip it in the bud’ and sadly this has ended in what I call “shame storms” more than once in the last few weeks including a torrent of tears, discouragement, hopelessness, followed by apathy. It’s not a pretty sight.
Is this what Christ died for? Shame, regret, and hopelessness? Nope. I see in my Bible that the enemy comes to steal, kill and destroy but He came to bring LIFE and life more abundant. He says we are more than conquerors, beloved daughters of the King, his treasured princesses, the apples of His eye. So today I choose to bring the rose bush of my mind and heart to the only Gardener who can do the careful pruning and clipping that needs to be done to replace all the lies with His truth, to remind me who I am and Whose I am. I am loved….fiercely loved and so are YOU.
I am hoping and praying our rose bush fights off this terrible disease and blooms full on in the spring again. So, too, with us. Let’s bear the fruit of His love, mercy, and goodness in our lives and bloom, baby bloom!