Green Thumbs, Dead-Heading and Following God

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I do not have a green thumb. Whatever color is directly opposite of green on the color wheel is the hue of thumb I possess. I can murder a house plant faster than you can say “terra cotta pot.”

My mother-in-love is famous for her ability to grow the most beautiful things— tender and fragrant herbs that flavor her roasted potatoes or her lavender shortbread cookies; bright blooming annuals that display their splendor from May to September; flowering perennials that return year after year poking their heads through the blackened earth revealing vibrant blossoms. She even staggers her plantings according to when they bloom in our Michigan climate to ensure that there will always be an array of color from the first hint of spring until fall.

I, too, although admittedly not possessing her knack for nature, like to grow flowers and have tried my hand at an outdoor herb garden. However, it doesn’t come natural to me. I’ve had to read and study.

And I have to schedule the required steps in my life just like an appointment: “Water herbs and flowers Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays. Feed plants with Miracle Grow on the first and fifteenth.”

But the most important task of growing these plants was the first lesson she taught me. It’s called dead-heading. Here is how it is done:

As soon as any of those beautiful blooms begin to wither, fade, and turn brown, they need to be ruthlessly removed. I search out every one and carefully pluck it off of its stem. It is a tedious, never-ending task. Just when I think I have removed every dried up blossom, the next day a dozen more appear. It is important, however, to keep consistent.

When dead blooms are left clinging to the flowering plants, they sap the nutrition and strength from the core of the plant. They literally rob the flower of the energy they could be using to grow new and colorful blooms. The faded petals are, in a sense, dead weight that keeps the plant from being its best. If properly plucked, however, the plant will bloom forth gorgeous petals throughout the entire life of the plant.

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While plucking dead flower heads this morning on my own patio, I couldn’t help but relate this chore to my life with God. I know full well that there are places of my heart, thoughts of my mind, and actions of my will that are nothing but dead weight to my spiritual life. And they do not at all help to make me a better mom. In fact, they threaten to damage my relationships.

In the Bible, James 1:21 beckons us to this:

"So get rid of all the filth and evil in your lives, and humbly accept the word God has planted in your hearts, for it has the power to save your souls."

What does this mean?

Root out the ugly that threatens to choke and drain and instead, plant God’s word deep in our hearts. It can save us from wrong choices, unhealthy relationships and self-inflicted heartbreak. It can help us better love our loved ones; the ones who share our address but whom we often unload on in an awful manner.

How about you? Could your heart use a good dead-heading session? Are there faded blooms you have been carrying around that are sapping your spiritual energy and strength, causing heartache and tears?

Get rid of the bad.

Plant God’s good Word in that spot instead.

Then stand back – patiently now – and watch beautiful blooms begin to appear.

Happy dead-heading!

Blessings,

Karen Ehman, KarenEhman.com