Ever-Blooming Roses Despite Life’s Prickles: Weeding the Weeds

Weeds surround the climbing rose, ‘Fourth of July’.

Weeding the Weeds

Where a glorious rose bloom, a gregarious weed burgeons! A rose garden would not be complete without its share of weeds anxious to suck the life out of sprawling, flourishing canes. All rosarians accept the tedious reality that weeds will inevitably compete with their darling rose bushes. With a variety of means to thwart such attacks, the gardener must carefully select the most advantageous yet scrupulous methods for in doing so may cause greater harm than good. Commercialized weed killer sold in franchised home improvement stores worldwide could seriously hamper, if not utterly, destroy a rose bush. Instead, many gardeners choose to place rolls of landscape paper down or newspaper with layers of mulch or wood chips on top to prevent weeds. Some choose gravel while others prefer getting on their knees and either individually hand plucking the weeds or using a hoe to do their dirty work. Regardless of the gardener’s preferred method of defense, every rosarian knows there will be annoying weeds, which must be prepared for and appropriately addressed.

​Upon entering my mid-thirties, I decided to use my experiences to help other hurting women by founding a non-profit faith-based domestic violence ministry. Although most welcomed a rare jewel of a ministry, I found myself ill prepared for the weeds that would pop up attempting to choke out my flourishing ministry. Naturally, or perhaps supernaturally, I expected some obstacles and negativity, but was rather surprised by spoken word curses spewed from select family, friends, and even those of faith. Much of the negative responses spawned primarily from ignorance and fear. After all, domestic violence is sadly a taboo subject within the faith community. Although, thankfully, many are diligently working to break such traumatic and oppressive barriers to cultivate healthy, thriving households. ​

Meanwhile, I suspect other negative responses were stirred from jealously and competition. Isn’t it sad when ministries, people of faith, or families strive to compete with one another or oppress one another instead of embrace and support each another? How we respond to one another’s strengths and weaknesses as well as all life presents reveals the burgeoning weeds taking root or lack thereof in our hearts and homes.

“Indeed, you intended evil against me, [but] God designed it for good, in order to bring about what is at present to keep a great populace alive.” Genesis 50:20

Consider the Biblical character, Joseph, and how his family could not appreciate his gift of having prophetic dreams and being able to interpret such peculiar dreams. Instead, the weeds of jealousy developed in the hearts and minds of Joseph’s siblings attempting to choke out his gifts from God. For many years, it appeared their negativity indeed hampered Joseph’s God-appointed gifts, but God merely allowed all of the adversity and affliction Joseph encountered to cultivate a greater good for not just Joseph, but his family, Israel, and all of the surrounding nations including Egypt all the while indeed manifesting Joseph’s earlier prophetic dreams. Even more revealing was the gracious response Joseph had for the brothers who betrayed him.

As you embark on something special whether it may be a career move, adding a new member to the family through marriage or adoption, going back to school, writing a book, or going into ministry or simply walking along your custom God path, be prepared for various weeds to sprawl up and out intended to trip you or hamper your growth as you evolve into the person God intended. Like any gardener, you may need to be creative in how you protect yourself from invasive weeds that manifest in others or even how to best uproot weeds manifesting within you as God cultivates new blooms in your garden. ​Create appropriate barriers to remove them from your garden of life and recall what others perhaps meant for harm, God uses for greater growth!

‘Joseph’s Coat’, climbing rose, burgeons!

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).

brickborder

{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.

A Sucker or a Rose?

If you are a person familiar with the Bible, you probably are familiar with the concept of God being like a shepherd. Ezekiel 34 speaks to God judging between sheep, rams, and goats to see who is truly of His flock and who isn’t.

sucker

{photo credit: Hanford Rose}

Similarly, us gardeners need to discern between actual rose canes and something called “suckers”. Many rose bushes you buy at local home improvement stores and nurseries are grafted onto a hardy, vigorous root stock. If you see a knot at the base of a rose, this is called a “bud union” where the two plants are united. Once planted, below the ground is the hardy root stock. Above the ground is the bush you selected for it’s color, fragrance, disease resistance, etc. Sometimes, what’s known as a “sucker” grows up out of the ground alongside the rose bush you purchased. The sucker is a separate cane that has manifested from the root stock. The sucker often looks similar at first to the rose bush you bought – after all, it is still a rose cane. Eventually, as both the sucker and the intended rose bush develop, the gardener will realize the sucker is indeed a very different bloom than the one they bought. If one is new to rose gardening though, it would be easy to assume the sucker is in fact a normal part of the rose bush until both mature. It is then, one will clearly be able to differentiate the two just like the reapers could in the parable of the wheat and tares. Once the gardener determines the difference, the sucker must be removed.

How about you? Are you a glorious rose in God’s garden or are you a look-alike sucker that will eventually be removed?

Ground-Covering or Ground-Breaking: Which Are You?

Peach.drift.web

Peach Drift is about 1.5 feet high by 2 to 3 feet wide. Although, some of my drift roses’ canes reach nearly three feet high.

As the warm Spring air awakened my senses, I decided to spend sometime addressing the garden beds my ground-covering drift roses call home. Kneeling on my padded garden mat, I ever so delicately cleared away the dead leaves that found themselves entangled within the canes of these low to the ground roses. While slowly and carefully clearing away the fallen leaves, random trash, and overgrown weeds from tight places so close in between the rose canes and the dirt, the Holy Spirit gently pointed out to me how these little wandering roses were being smothered and held down partly by the dead leaves embedded in their canes, partly by the proximity of the rose being too low to the ground, and partly by the weeds that encamped these drift roses. Similarly, how easy it is to become small roses “drifting” through life by hanging onto burdensome leaves like offense or by allowing enormous life sucking weeds like negative people, places, or things to stunt our growth. Thankfully, when Jesus, as our Master Gardner, kneels down besides us, reaches in our mess, and starts to slowly clear the debris, we can start to see the truth of our ugly realities, who He is, and who we are in His beautiful garden more clearly. When we start to accept the truth of our own captivity and how we got there, while letting God’s Spirit get in our dirt, we will no longer be ground-covering roses painfully drifting through this garden called life. Instead, we will be ever-blooming and ever-growing roses breaking new ground!