There it was. Somewhat hidden, camouflaged to be sure - its subject matter delicate, masterful in design, uniquely colored. But before I tell you that~
You know, some things in life are necessary to do in order to get to a better place, a healthier place, a right place. The best things in life also seem to require some sort of maintenance - friendships, marriages and even gardens.1 Having been away from home a lot in the last two months, it was easy to spot things that had been neglected, among them, my gardens. The front yard had many a spent rose bush, deadheading screaming to be done, my Queen Anne's Lace displaying her last elegant blush. As Spring has finally turned to Summer in Southern California, it was time to tidy things up, trim and clear out debris. Now the back garden? Oh, dear - my formerly cheerful vines had taken over, even choking my red and yellow rosebushes.
Here's the thing: I hate cutting back those pretty little Black-eyed Susan
vines trailing up to hummingbird feeders, but it has to be done,
lest the rest of the garden be overrun.
Pssst...not a gardener? Hang in there... application is worthwhile. At first, I tediously unraveled some of the fine green tendrils, then I carefully cut and trimmed; eventually, I just had to tug and hack away the aggressive vines. Scripture speaks of this in Song of Solomon, of all places - 'The flowers have already appeared in the land; The time has arrived for pruning the vines..."2 (So pruning vines has been necessary for a long, long time)
While I worked, I kept thinking, 'There's a story here in working to clear these vines... a story that has meaning.' I cast my eyes heavenward toward a cloudy sky, 'Lord, what is it . . . can you show me?' Then it happened. Reaching to pull off a vine-y mass of vines that had grown over my Simplicity Red Rose, I saw it - an intricately woven nest with two teeny, tiny fuzzy baby birds. Oh my, oh my.
I ran to get my phone to take a
to touch even a twig too close to them.
Then I went back inside and watched
from my kitchen window to see if the
mama bird was nearby. Sure enough,
the little brown wren soon went back
to her young.
Then came the divine download. Clearing out vines is necessary for the betterment of the garden -- in order for the garden to thrive; friends, that is a lot like our lives. We've got to clear away that which entangles - some thing or another that may seem harmless, but over time, is not. A behavior, habit or person may become a nuisance or a hindrance or or something that keeps us from thriving. 'Got any vines wrapped about you? Hmmm.
Every once in a while, I have to pull out the Living Bible from my youth. Check this out, written by beloved Paul: "Since we have such a huge crowd of men of faith watching us from the grandstands, [the saints who have gone before us into Glory], let us strip off anything that slows us down or holds us back, and especially those sins that wrap themselves so tightly around our feet and trip us up; and let us run with patience the particular race that God has set before us.
Keep your eyes on Jesus, our leader and instructor..." Hebrews 12.1-2a
I am asking myself today~
Do I have any vines that should be cut back?
Any habits or people that need to be pulled off, so I can be free?
Any things that 'slow me down or hold me back from
being the person God purposes for me to be?
Dear Father, would you please reveal to me anything I have allowed to take hold that is not beneficial? It seems I can get entangled and not even be fully aware at times. Grant me the wisdom to be prudent with the gift of life you have given me, and to get rid of anything within my power that detracts. Thank you for the gift of Nature and all we can learn by paying close attention to her - like those baby birds. Thank you!
In Jesus' Name,
1 - Yes, Gardens are some of the 'best things' - they offer serenity, beauty and opportunities to cooperate with God.
2 - Song of Solomon or Song of Songs 2.12a