Activated Abilities

After relocating my struggling climbing rose known as ‘Florentina’, I discovered she simply needed to experience a new environment in order to grow into her full potential. Previously, Florentina was residing in a pot on my north facing balcony at the beach. However, after months of failing to produce even one bloom, I finally decided to transplant her to a sunny east facing garden bed within the condominium community I reside in (with permission of course). Although it has only been a few weeks since I relocated her, the conditions seem to be beckoning her to bloom. She has already produced numerous new leaflets and I assume in appropriate time, she will eventually put forth luscious layers of crimson colored petals.

activatedabilities

Upon meditating on such a enlightening transformation, I realized our God-given abilities react to whatever environment we find ourselves planted in. Put another way, depending on the environmental conditions, we may or may not manifest the spiritual DNA embedded deep within us. I’ll never forget the bizarre spiritual giftings that manifested in me when I started attending a small, but flourishing Spirit-embracing body of believers in 2008. Having been a believer in the saving grace of Jesus Christ since I was just a little girl, this was the first time I experienced such foreign abilities. In fact, I was always advised such “abilities” were not relevant in today’s modern, new and improved type of faith. Initially, upon experiencing such unexpected, unwanted, and frankly, at times, inconvenient abilities,  I was alarmed and unsure of what was unfolding within and from His Spirit buried in me. Nevertheless, I quickly discovered such manifestations were for the benefit of those around me as well as helped nurture my seed like faith.  Much like a rose blossoming for the first time, she may find herself reluctant to share such a sacred and beautiful gift, but in time, she will understand and therefore, willingly produce something beautiful to better bless those around her. As I saw others reaping the benefit of my flowers, the fragrance of Christ, and eventual fruit, I learned to not fear, nor to reject the spiritual DNA manifesting as crazy or ridiculous. Instead, I eventually chose to embrace my environment and the love emulating through such Spirit-scaped blooms or abilities.

Through the ongoing seasons, having been transplanted in different gardens of believers, even in the soil of different states, some familiar flowers have bloomed while different ones provided fresh opportunities of growth. Had I not been open to relocation or refused to allow new leaflets to bud out due to uncomfortable fear, I would have missed out on unique opportunities to love others all the while learning more about God’s loving nature!

If you hear the Master Gardener discussing plans of relocation, whether to a nearby sunny spot or distances far and wide, fear not! He may be creating an environment ideal for cultivating the beautiful rose He intended you to be… A rose ever-blooming in this abundant garden of life!

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A Season of His Choosing

daybreakerLast fall, I began scribing my third and final rose-related book titled Ever-Blooming and Ever-Rejoicing: Through the Seasons of Change. Designed to teach people, particularly those new to growing roses, how to care for their roses through all four seasons, I found myself on stand-by after writing about just one season. I had strived to move onto writing about how to care for roses in the winter with it’s spiritual parallel just as the winter months launched, but alas, my inspiration was stalled. For months I have not contributed anything productive to my third book for I refuse to write just to write. I have learned and am still learning to let my spoken words be few or at the very least meaningful. Similarly, if not more so, as a writer, I only contribute to my books when I feel led by God’s Spirit to do so. Otherwise, that too is meaningless.

Yesterday, upon the revelation of an important spiritual truth, I understood why my writing was paused particularly at winter. God had to manifest truth in a season of His choosing not just to benefit me, but to benefit my readers for even in winter, we are ever-blooming.

A Season of Heat

While enduring the weather’s daily heat advisories or even “excessive heat” warnings recently, I noticed some of the leaves on my roses were edged in shades of burnt yellow. Although above ground is sweltering or even frying the foliage, below ground much activity is taking place for the overall benefit of the rose bush or any other plant life for that matter. The purpose of these hot days is to force the roots of any given plant to plunge deep within the soil in search of nourishing water.

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“Dream Come True” captured at Portland, Oregon’s International Rose Test Garden.

Typically, the leaves of your rose bush will tell you what it needs particularly in the hot season of summer. If you see burnt edges on the leaves or the leaves appear to be wilted or even borderline crunchy, your plant needs a deep watering. Make sure you put the hose at the base of the bush and let it saturate the ground about a foot deep or for several minutes at a time. Otherwise, a quick watering will promote shallow root growth, which is not healthy. If your rose bush has a plethora of yellow leaves, it may have received too much water or may be suffering  from heat stress. Should you have a dark colored mulch, such as my favorite cocoa hull mulch, it could cause the lower leaves to experience too much heat and turn yellow.

Overall, the leaves will dictate when to water and when to skip it. You don’t want to water unnecessarily or too often as it could actually damage the roots. Rather, when you start noticing the leaves drooping a bit or feeling slightly harder than normal, it’s time to water. Mark on your calendar when you’ve watered as well as several days later when you noticed the leaves looking and feeling rather rough. You then will have a good indication of how many days your rose bush can go between watering – just subtract a day or two before they get droopy or rough. Bottom line, throughout this season of heat, a fine balance of sunlight, heat, and watering is a must. Don’t be afraid of the ongoing heat and how it may damage your plant. Let the rose bush learn to extend it’s roots deep within the soil and let the leaves tell you what the plant needs and when.

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“Strike It Rich” captured at Portland, Oregon’s International Rose Test Garden.

Similarly, in our daily lives, we go through seasons of intense heat. And while our leaves, or outward displays, may moan and groan in our discomfort, take courage in knowing this is a season of perseverance. A season of heat to force our roots to plunge deep into the living soil of an immeasurable God. During such seasons of perseverance, our roots are invited to run deep into the river of life flowing from the one and only Jesus Christ. Many will succumb to the misery or the heat…many will give up and die off…while others will take the opportunity to go stronger within the deep wells of their soul soil. They will be able to endure brutal winters and blustering winds because their roots are firmly planted. Consequently, those that endure the season of heat, will be able to endure all seasons for they are “ever-blooming” roses.

Summer Storms

Storms, both literal and figurative, are common. May this recording I did for my radio show called “In The Garden with Carrie Renee Turner” heard on York, PA’s Community 106.1 FM encourage you!

Putting Down Roots

While eating lunch in a small diner today, I couldn’t help but over hear our gregarioustree roots waitress invite another patron to try the peach pie, which eventually led her to share how frustrated she was that her own peach and apple trees perished over the winter upon encountering the first hard freeze. As I continued to inhale my much deserved lunch, trying to mind my business, my ears inevitably perked up. Meanwhile, my mind listed the probable reasons her fruit trees failed her. One such reason being, fruit trees, like roses, need their root systems well established prior to when the first freeze strikes or they will likely die. It is probable the waitress planted her trees too late in the season while not also preparing them for the whims of winter. Upon the end of her gardening chatter, she confessed to giving up on fostering fruit trees and planted Crape Myrtle shrubs instead. Oh, and by the way, the customer never did get the peach pie. Ha!

tree-with-foliage-with-the-shape-of-a-heart-and-roots-as-text-love-on-white-background_gg67012197Much later in the evening, I contemplated the spiritual importance of being rooted. It doesn’t really matter what city or what church we lay our roots in, because if we have God’s Holy Spirit, we can go anywhere and thrive. What matters is being rooted in His love. Too often, we are rooted in false identities, wanting the approval and acceptance of other’s love. Then, when others assault us with their first hard freeze or whipping words of winter, we shrivel up and die. We fail to know our own worth because unknowingly our roots sought strength and nourishment in another’s acceptance instead of God’s. Conversely, when we know our true identities rooted in Christ’s love and approval, we will be firmly planted able to flow with a heart of thankfulness while operating in true love despite the changing seasons and hardened hearts we may encounter  (see Romans 10:10; Ephesians 3:16-19; Colossians 2:6-7).

“By believing you receive God’s approval, and by declaring your faith you are saved.” Romans 10:10 (God’s Word Translation)

Garden Border Control

Creeping Charlie (Small)

Creeping Charlie {photo credit: unknown}

Today, I found myself performing the never ending task of weeding. In particular, an intruding vine, known as “Ground Ivy” or “Creeping Charlie”, knows no bounds as it constantly invades my rose beds.  Although it looks deceptively charming at first, Creeping Charlie will choke the life out of my roses and other plants if allowed. Hence, why I pulled out my knee pad and spent about 2 hours ripping this vine out as best as I could not to mention the persistent flock of dandelions and other unknown weeds in my urban garden. I’m not sure who sowed Creeping Charlie into my yard probably decades ago, but my goodness, what a headache! To help eliminate the encroaching yard from reaching my flower beds, the husband and I will soon be implementing a border control of sorts with old brick or stone (it’s still up for discussion as to which we can agree on).

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{photo credit: unknown}

So while the dirt compiled under my nails this morning, I thought about how necessary boundaries are in our lives as they define our roles, our responsibilities, and our way of life. Without boundaries or borders defining and describing such areas, both our garden and our world would be chaos. Boundaries not only define who we are, but they protect what we value most. A brick or stone border, a fence, a wall, laws, rules, and terms of an agreement, are all examples of boundaries. God’s word found in the Holy Bible provides boundaries to live by as well. Such boundaries, or written terms, are designed to define our roles and responsibilities as believers, who we are in Christ Jesus, and the way to life. By rejecting these Judeo-Christian boundaries, there are chaotic consequences – just look at the world around us or even your own life. I certainly suffered chaotic and unnecessary consequences when I didn’t abide by God’s boundaries. I’m sure you can think of a time or two you did as well. Clearly, without them, ungodly vines like Creeping Charlies can invade our hearts and homes choking out the life God intended for us. How important it is we learn to abide within Christ’s border control while eliminating the ungodly vines and weeds the world sows.