Growing In the Hard Places

Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. (Colossians 2:7 KJV)

Butterfly couple

I have lantana growing next to the deck surrounding my pool. Last month, I noticed a branch straining against the lattice.


Later, that same branch pushed its way through the opening in the lattice to enter the darkened world beneath the deck.

lantana 2

It remained hidden until last week when it popped its head up between the decking and the new multi-colored blooms burst forth in the sunlight.

Although it is now in the scorching heat of the last days of summer, I’m not worried about it. The roots run deep beneath a patch of shaded wet earth that shields it from drought. As you can see, it’s flourishing. I should cut it so I can paint/stain the deck, but I won’t because I know how hard it worked to reach the sunlight.

Sometimes we have to change positions to get where we’re going. We may have to stretch or even shrink to fulfill God’s purpose for our lives.

Either way, growth isn’t easy. To grow, we must choose. Do I stay in my comfort zone where I am secure, or do I brave the unknown and seek the treasure God has in store for me?

Perhaps you’re squashed against a boundary with nowhere to turn.  Maybe you’re facing dark nights of uncertainty with the hounds of hopelessness nipping at your heels. Perchance you’re reaching as far as you can reach in prayer, but still, you can’t feel the touch of the Master’s hand. Take courage, dear one.

You are stronger than you think for your strength comes from our Lord Jesus Christ. His power gives us the ability to endure everything.

Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.  I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. (Philippians 4:11-13 KJV)

I do not believe that we can learn contentment without experiencing growing pains. Therefore, I have to believe that we can grow in the hard places if our roots are clinging to the Rock of Ages. He is our Bread and Water supply.

So I encourage you, dear reader, keep reaching heavenward. Soon, the darkened valley will give way to an expanse suffused with sunlight. Then, the Lord will unveil your beautiful colors for His glory alone.

Click to Tweet: Sometimes we have to change positions to get where we’re going. We may have to stretch, or even shrink, to fulfill God’s purpose for our lives.

Thank you for visiting and reading. You are appreciated more than you know. 🙂



Change Me

Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. Proverbs 4:23

dying squash-1The leaves were slowly losing color. Green was fading to a sickly yellow. No matter how much I watered or didn’t water, how much I fertilized or didn’t fertilize, nothing seemed to work. If something didn’t change, I was going to lose every squash and zucchini plant in the garden.

After a Google search, I found a gardening site with the information I needed. The owner told me to check the bottom of the plants. If I saw a substance, that looked like sawdust I had vine borers. But, what the article said to do next was unheard of, or at least to my ears. But I had no choice.

And you know everything you read on the internet is true. 🙂

I strode back to the garden where hubby was weeding and told him what I had found. We went in search of the plant murderer. Sure enough, we found the evidence explained on the site. I asked hubby to give me his pocket knife. I located the spot I thought the vine borer was lodged and slit the vine in the direction of the capillaries. Chewing away the life of my plant was a fat white grubby worm.

Warning: If you are sympathetic to pests then you may want to stop reading. The gardening expert suggested I take a toothpick and impale them. I didn’t worry with the toothpick, I used the knife to cut them apart. Yes, I am a mean woman when it comes to a pest eating my hard work.

dying squash2-1Then, I pieced the vine back together the best I could. Unfortunately, a couple of plants died. But the rest lived and produced delicious squash. You can see the new growth in the picture.

I couldn’t help but compare that to a heart in need of spiritual surgery. A heart filled with unhealthy, life-draining pests is sick. It doesn’t matter how much we read the Word or how much we pray, until we allow the Holy Spirit to remove the  problem we are fighting a losing battle.

Too many times, we avoid spiritual surgery because we don’t want to let go of the hurts or go through the pain. Yet, without the operation, we are doomed. We can’t allow unhealthy things to stay inside us. Anything that isn’t of God needs to go, or it will eventually kill us.

…for out of it are the issues of life.

Bitterness in the heart will leak into every area of life. It rears its ugly head in our tones and actions. The sad part is that we can’t see that we are the infected one while the other person isn’t affected at all. The vine borer didn’t disturb the tomatoes, cucumbers, or peas. Only the squash—the infected plant itself.

Create in me a clean heart David prayed. That is my prayer too.