Have you ever been wowed! There are times when the only word that fits an incredible moment is WOW! That mini word carries a mighty message. Are you remembering times you were wowed? Think of watching stars twinkle in the sky, the sun rising over the ocean, a full moon smiling down on you, snow blanketing your yard, dragonflies darting through the air, children laughing and playing, a kiss from someone who loves you, being surprised, hearing His voice whisper to your heart, and feeling His Spirit give you goose bumps and tears of joy. These are a few of my favorite things that wow me over and over again.
A sunny Saturday, James and I worked diligently re-potting plants and making my backyard look lovely. We chopped away at root-bound ferns, separated bulbs to make new flowers, and pruned dead leaves and limbs that kept the plants from thriving. While digging deep inside the bag of potting soil, I thought of lessons from the Lord on the importance of pruning things in our lives that stunt growth and disconnect us from the Vine. My mother’s smiling face seemed to appear in fluffy clouds that dotted the blue sky. She was wowed by hearty houseplants and immaculate yards. Her faithful, loving care caused them to flourish. Mama talked to her flowers and declared the attention she gave and attitude she had generated greater growth. Her green thumb was envied, even though she was eager to share the simple secret of how her garden grew. Lessons I learned while watching mama working wonders with her plants seemed to rise up in me. I remembered her instructions to separate the roots and pack moist soil around plants. She taught parables while working that stuck to her little girl’s heart.
Today, I realize how closely mother’s lessons parallel with those Jesus taught. Many people are envied or misunderstood who live happily connected to the Vine. Living in love with a satisfied mind and peaceful heart is easy when God is first in one’s life. We complicate what Jesus meant to be simple. He longs for us to enjoy a personal relationship with a Father who created and cares about each and every one of His children. Salvation comes when we are born again as taught in John 3: 3-7, “For sure, I tell you, unless a man is born again, he cannot see the holy nation of God.”
Salvation is simple. We become a new person as explained in 2 Corinthians 5:17.”For if a man belongs to Christ, he is a new person. The old life is gone. New life has begun.” My old plants struggled to live. They were bound by a root system that kept them from thriving, much like sin works in our lives. They were wilted and pale in color, with dead leaves and limbs that stunted their growth. With our loving care and time given to release those roots, prune dead parts, fertilize and replant, they were given a new life, a chance to grow green and prosper in their pretty pots. It’s a real WOW when God plants people in our paths in need of tender loving care and nurturing. Let us learn from the Gardener and take time to tend to our gardens and His children.
Wow! How amazing that our Lord loves so deeply and devotedly. He cares for us and takes time to nurture and keep us flourishing and prospering when we stay connected. “I am the true Vine, and my Father is the Gardener. He lops off every branch that doesn’t produce. And He prunes those branches that bear fruit for even larger crops. He has already tended you by pruning you back for greater strength and usefulness by means of the commands I gave you. For a branch can’t produce fruit when severed from the vine. Nor can you be fruitful apart from me. Yes, I am the Vine, you are the branches. Whoever lives in me and I in him shall produce a large crop of fruit. For apart from me you can’t do a thing.” (Matthew 15: 1-5, Living Bible)
Have you been born again? Are you root bound like my plants that had not been tended to for years? When we procrastinate doing things that keep us pruned and prepared to serve our Lord, we become wilted and worthless for the Kingdom. Saying ‘yes’ to Jesus and inviting him into your heart will make your garden grow with the fruit of the spirit all in a row. Staying connected to Christ keeps us growing in faith and flourishing. The fruit we bear shows what we are. When we honor our Lord with a fresh faith and servant heart, He is WOWED!
The direct overhead sunlight warned me to stop my morning work and get dressed for Mrs. Wanda Coleman’s Dance Recital. Yet, I was having the time of my life watching each plant come alive and take new shape. Our fourth bag of potting soil was empty, I was filthy, the pots were in line waiting to be watered, but many flowers still needed to be revived and re-potted. I was reminded of how Jesus must feel. He is our Gardener. He sees many people wilted and worn out, root bound and recklessly living, depressed and departed from the vine, apathetic and angry, unbelieving and uninterested, callous and carelessly caring for the vessels He created. Surely, God wonders why. Why can’t My children take time for Me? I give them life, a beautiful place to live, blessings and gifts that make their journeys easy and enjoyable. My children mean well; they love Me, but take so much for granted. They try to fit Me into their busy schedules. Why can’t they see how life would be easier and more fruitful if they would fit their schedules around Me?
I was wowed by His Holy Spirit speaking to my heart. Sitting cross legged in the middle of a mess in my backyard, I thanked my Lord and renewed my love for Him. I left James working on a pot of asparagus ferns and headed inside to quickly dress for the recital. Next week I will share the rest of the wow story.