Monday, October 3, 2011

Learning from the Roses

{Written by Bethany Ann}

Marissa dug deep into the moist earth with her shovel in hand. She bent down among the grass to cradle her little rose bush which she was planning with hopes of getting a nice array of beautiful roses in every vibrant shape and color which would come from her hard work. This day was especially hot and muggy and she longed for a drink of cool water as she covered her little plant with the cool dirt, eager to think of what beauties may grow from the small little plant. Marissa Jo-Lynn was an average 12 year old girl living in southern California with her family of 9. Marissa was home schooled, and enjoyed her simple, yet full life living on a farm. Her favorite thing to do on her family farm was to do things with flowers. Whether planning them on a warm summer’s day or photographing them once their beauty was at the fullest- her favorite among them she did not know, but she did know that she deeply enjoyed being around flowers. She loved their pure crisp beauty and the lovely colors that they brought. She often thought of roses in particular as similar to Christianity, as when you are a new Christian, you are small and do not have much to offer-at least not yet. But once the plant is nurtured, loved, weeded out of sin, and then watered then the beauty of the rose shows itself forth.

She had learned many valuable and applicable lessons from the flowers during the countless hours she spent out in her peaceful garden, for those hours where her favorite among the day were she was able to get away from the noise and busyness of life and spend time with her Creator as she planned and nurtured her precious flowers.

Not to say that dear little Marissa was a perfect girl, for she wasn’t, she had her faults just like everyone other daughter of the King who was trying to do His will, and maybe even more than she knew. One of Marissa’s weaknesses was truly loving others, she found that she often had a prideful spirit and whenever she would think to do something nice for someone all that the following thought was always of what she could reap in reward for her good duty. Sometimes her thoughts of doing something nice for someone were out-due with the selfish thought of only gaining something in return. She did not like this which she so often found in herself because she wanted to be like her Creator, and her Savior never thought like she had been thinking lately!

As she tenderly watered her newly planted rose bush she thought of this certain weakness that she had had trouble overcoming lately. “Why is this so very hard?” she prayed to her Heavenly Father as she stopped her watering and looked up to the bright blue sky. “Why must I always think of only gaining something for my good works, for if I only have the thought to gain something then that is never a good deed at all!” she cried to herself. “Please show me a way to overcome this, Lord!” she said aloud as she raised herself from the cool earth and wiped her sweaty brow. As Marissa walked back to the house she thought of how she could possibly learn something from the roses that would help her with her problem. “Well” she thought to herself “Most of the time when I have a problem the best way to break that problem is to start at the root!” she exclaimed. “Humm,” she thought as she began to think. “The beginning of my pride would be when I think ‘I can mop the floor for Mother, won’t she be pleased! She has been needing to do this lately and now I can help her!’ but then the next thought is saying ‘oh… if I do a super job then maybe Mother will allow me to have that reading time back which I lost this morning because of my deceitful attitude! This is a great idea!’ ” She continued to think about it as she stepped inside the house for dinner.

The next day was overcast and lovely weather to check on her roses as it would not be very hot. As Marissa grabbed her shoes and Bible she started out the door for her little rose garden. Last night all through dinner she thought of how she could overcome her bad habit of only wanting things in return for doing good things, rather than just doing something for the glory of God and to help her mother. As she got to her roses she watered them and looked to see how they were doing. “You will be so lovely in a few months!” she told her flowers. After she had watered her flowers she went and sat at her favorite bench right beside her roses. This was her favorite place to meditate on God’s Word and to pray, and today she was eager to dive deep into the Holy Word of God to see what He had to say about loving others. As she made herself comfortable she opened her Bible at random, she started to read John 13:34 which said “A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.” She paused and thought about what the verse had said. ‘If this verse says to love others as Jesus has loved us then I think this means that I should love others just as Jesus did!” she thought excitedly. “But how can I love others as Jesus did? I know” she thought “if I need to love others as Jesus loves me then I need to look at Jesus life, and to study what He did, that way I’ll know what to follow!” she told herself. She flipped over to the beginning of the book of Luke and began to read of Jesus’ miracles, she studied how He treated others, even the lowliest of people; she studied how He loves everyone unconditionally- no matter what they had done earlier in their life. She started to realize that Jesus loved everyone and that He never, not even once loved anyone to get anything in return, in fact He even loved and felt pity for those who crucified Him! As the minutes passed, Marissa gained much knowledge and finally she prayed to God to help her and to give her opportunities to show unconditional love to others each and every day.

This was a new discovery that Marissa made that day by her lovely roses. But the time quickly passed, and before Marissa knew it her sister called to her from the house that Mother has requested that she come and help prepare the lunch for her family. Marissa quickly got her Bible and went inside, eager to take this opportunity to show love to her mother without wanting anything in return.

This was the start of a new phase of life for Marissa. That day she continued to show love to her mother by mopping, dusting and even bathing the dogs-all out of her love for her mother. Every day Marissa went out to her little garden and sat on the little bench and read and studied her Bible. Marissa grew very wise and her faith increased greatly from these precious hours which she spent with her Lord.

A few months later Marissa went outside by her garden as she usually did. But when she got there she was amazed! What were once her tiny little plants were not fully grown and so very beautiful, now were more beautiful than any other flower Marissa had ever grown. You see, with each hour she spent with her Lord, her flowers grew, but not only the flowers in her garden, but also the flower of her heart! As she sat on her bench in amazement of her beautiful flowers she thought of how her last few months of spending time with Jesus were similar to those flowers. She also began to realize how much she had grown in her faith during those precious hours spent with her Lord! At the beginning of her communion with the Lord her faith was like the tiny flowers-delicate, small and very fertile and ready to grow. Now that she had “watered” the garden of her heart by spending time meditating on the Lord it was fully grown and in it’s full beauty! Now that she had “weeded” out the bad things in her life by the conviction of the Holy Spirit she was clean and pure, just like the sweet roses. As Marissa sat there she pondered over how much her attitude had changed, once she started spending more and more time with the Lord she had little by little learned to let go of her selfish desires. Now she could (and often found herself wanting to) offer to help her community, Church friends and family and no longer felt like she wanted anything in return. As she sat there, she though of how happy she was that she had spent her time in such a wise way! “Thank you Lord for answering my hearts cry! Please teach me more! Thank you for your love and please help me follow in your footsteps!” she prayed as she walked back inside.

Dear Sisters in the Lord,

The reason why I wrote this story is to give you a picture of a great way to learn to unselfishly help and love others. Did you notice that the reason why Marissa was able to increase her faith and how her flowers grew, both came from study with the Lord, or in other words nurturing her heart’s (and garden’s) flowers! If you would like to learn more about how to truly love others unconditionally then I highly suggest that you study the life of Jesus Christ. All the Gospels are great and I encourage you to read each of them! Even though they might seem like they have the same records they really do not! Plus when you read all the Gospels instead of just one you get a much wider detail about the events and can remember them better because you’ve read them before from the previous book.

Happy Studying!

Bethany Ann

2 Words of Grace:

Haley said...

Thank you so much for this encouraging post! :)

Emily said...

What a wonderful post! I only recently started following your blog, but I'm all ready loving it. :)