God’s Garden of Gladiolas

I spent the afternoon in a garden of gladiolas. A floral array that created a botanical masterpiece. Gladiolas are perennial plants known for their tall floral spikes and large, colorful blooms. Each blossom is composed of multiple flowerettes creating one flower that bursts forth from a sturdy green stalk. I was enthralled by the beauty surrounding me. I felt like I was surrounded by God’s presence portrayed through posies. In my spirit, I sensed multiple multicolored messages.

Botanically, gladiolus originates from a Latin term meaning sword. This flower is sometimes called the sword lily. It is described as a plant with unbranched stems having several narrow, sword-shaped longitudinal grooved leaves enclosed in a sheath. From within these green leaves, funnel-shaped irregular flowers emerge on slender stalks. I thought about the sword of the Spirit that is part of God’s armor. Ephesians 6:17 says, “Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”

The botanical spires inspired me. The gladioli, commonly known as glads, seemed to echo Psalm 122:1, “I was glad when they said to me, ‘Let us go to the house of the LORD.’”

Each flower reminded me of the steeple of an old church. Each blossom pointed to God in heaven. I felt like I was in a cathedral of living stained glass windows. So many flowers! So many colors! Ruby red – coral – pink – yellow – white – lavender – deep purple.

The stalks talked to me of God’s goodness. Psalm 25:8 declares, “Good and upright is the LORD; therefore He instructs sinners in His ways.” Psalm 23:6 says, “Surely Your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.” God is good!

Some gladioli were standing up straight declaring the glory of God. I Chronicles 16:24 says, “Declare His glory among the nations, His marvelous deeds among all peoples.” Other floral stems appeared to bend lowly in humility. Psalm 95:6 invites, “Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the LORD our Maker.

Through the magnificent beauty of the flowers, I experienced the fulfillment of Isaiah 33:17. Your eyes will see the king in His beauty and view a land that stretches afar. Psalm 90:17 NKJV says, “Let the beauty of the LORD our God be upon us.” I also was aware of a sweet perfume in the air. It was the fragrance of the flowers! In Ephesians 5:1-2 we are encouraged to, “Be imitators of God, therefore, as beloved children, and walk in love, just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us as a fragrant sacrificial offering to God.” II Corinthians 2:15 NIV says, “For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing.” The New King James version translates it, “For we are to God the fragrance of Christ.”

Each cluster of blossoms appeared to symbolize a choir of trumpets. I sensed that the gladioli, or trumpets, were declaring a chorus of triumph. Psalm 98:6 NLT says, “With trumpets and the sound of the ram’s horn, make a joyful symphony before the LORD, the King!” A cacophony of praise was being declared by the colorful trumpets. God’s greatness and grandeur was being portrayed and proclaimed. Psalm 47:1 NKJV says, “Oh, clap your hands, all you peoples! Shout to God with the voice of triumph!”

Throughout the afternoon, I was encircled by a floral hedge. Psalm 135:9 NKJV says, “You have hedged me behind and before, And laid Your hand upon me.” I was captivated by more than splashes of color. My spirit was communing with the God of all creation. Revelation 4:11 declares, “You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for You created all things, and by Your will they were created and have their being.”

The Season of Springtime

 

rainspring-flowersApril showers bring May flowers.

This is a saying I remember from my childhood. Today these words help me to endure the spring rain showers (mostly snow showers this year) that prevent the weather from being as warm as I would like. It is near the end of April, so I cling to the promises of May. The flowers will soon bloom along with the blossoming of more consistent bright and sunny days. Since I cannot yet be out in my flower garden, I think I will plant some seeds in the garden of my heart and mind. I found the following quote at THEDAILYQUOTES.com.

Your mind is a garden.
Your thoughts are the seeds.
You can grow flowers.
Or you can grow weeds.

Just as there are many packets of seeds available in a garden store, so are there many thoughts accessible to be planted within my mind. Each day I choose which packet of seeds, or thoughts, I will allow to take root within my mind. My thoughts may be positive or negative. Either choice will produce fruit. Positive thoughts grow into flowers that bring a smile to my face and to those around me. Negative thoughts are like weeds that I must pull out of my mind. Weeds of words have a tendency to grow faster than positive posies! I need to follow the advice of Paul in Philippians 4:8, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.”  Since I have trouble remembering all of Paul’s words, I like to simplify his instructions by remembering the acronym that Steve Nicholes uses for THINK. T is true – H is honorable – I is innocent – N is necessary – K is kind. I like these seeds! Proverbs 23:7 NKJV states, “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.” This verse describes my heart as the fertile soil where the seeds of my thoughts grow producing either flowers or weeds.

If God wasn’t growing sons and daughters,
things would not take nearly as long.
But since He is more interested in our growth
than He is in our getting,
waiting becomes
a very essential and useful means toward the end.

At the beginning of this blog, I admitted that I needed patience while waiting for warmer weather. Pondering the place of patience within the garden of my life, I like the above quote by Jack Hayford from Moments with Majesty. Applying Hayford’s quote to gardening and to my life, I realize that spring is the growing season. Plants and seeds are growing whether or not I yet see visual proof. Just like seeds, thoughts are growing in the garden of my heart and eventually they will produce actions and reactions. I must remember that growing is more important than getting! Sometimes the seeds I plant are the prayers I pray. God hears my prayers the moment I pray them, but His answers may not be evident as quickly as I would like. God is at work in the garden of my heart before I am aware of the answer. Psalm 40:1-2 says, I waited patiently for the Lord; He turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire;” The soil of my heart may be muddy and need to be dried up a little bit before His best answer can grow within me and produce the best fruit or flower. The best soil for planting needs to be moist but not saturated with water. The mud of April showers needs to dry out to some extent before May flowers can be planted.

Is the spring coming?” he said. “What is it like?”…
“It is the sun shining on the rain and the rain falling on the sunshine…”

I found this quote online at goodreads.com. It is taken from The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. During the month of April, there are days when I too ask if spring is coming. I like how the answer combines sunshine and rain. Both elements of weather are needed for flower gardens and gardens of the heart and mind. Spring, showers and sunshine all go together. Zechariah 10:1 says, “Ask the LORD for rain in the springtime; it is the LORD who sends the thunderstorms. He gives showers of rain to all people, and plants of the field to everyone.” Most likely, I would complain if there was no rain just as I grumble if I think there is too much rain. I must think about the words of Solomon in Ecclesiastes 3:1 NKJV To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.” I will embrace the showers and the sunshine. I will acknowledge the possibility of flowers and weeds. I will allow growth to take place. It is springtime in my life and in the atmosphere!

My Reader, enjoy the special seasons of your life. Today is April, but it will soon be May.

Joyfully,
Cheryl
gold apple new