Friday, May 27, 2022

The plant nursery...


About three years ago I bought an old church bench for $5 at a garage sale. The back had been removed and it was a bit wobbly so my husband wasn't all that enthusiastic about my purchase. But I had a plan to hammer in a few nails, thus making it a little more stable, and placing it inside the front door entrance, where it would be a home for some indoor plants.

We have around fifty indoor plants now, scattered throughout every room, but this simple bench became something more than a way to display some became a plant recovery nursery.

You see, it's hot in the tropics most of the year, and plants can be finicky at times due to the heat, the air conditioning, or even because I've chosen to display them in an area which is too shadowed, too bright , too warm or too cool. For whatever reason, at one time or another, most of my plants have needed to visit The Plant Nursery, aka the bench in the front door entranceway. 

Some stay for a few weeks, some stay for months...but they always recover. Even plants on the opposite wall, beside the front door, thrive in this almost enclosed area.

What's the secret?
The front door entrance receives no direct sunlight, no air conditioning, and is not in shadow - it's a fairly constant balance of all a plant needs with regards to position, temperature and light.
Quite simply, they thrive here, and those which are close to dying off completely, are restored over weeks and months to become healthy, happy and lovely plants. 

Whilst moving a few plants back into the main areas of our home, and bringing some of the not so thriving ones into the plant nursery for convalescing, I realised that this is something I've been going through lately myself.

Stepping away and being alone - but rather than sunshine, light and temperature, my refreshment is coming from the Lord.

Jesus often went off alone to a deserted place to pray, to spend time with the Father, to be refreshed and strengthened. And I thought to myself, Jesus IS God, and if He needed to do that (being both human and Divine) how much more do I?
How much more do you?

The Bible speaks a lot about setting ourselves apart from the world, not bowing before idols (in this day and age idols are many things, especially our children, homes, social media, devices, movies, clothes, hobbies, to name just a few), not being unequally yoked with unbelievers nor conforming to the ways of the world, and so much being a true Christian today is no different to being a true Christian in the first century AD. And thousands upon thousands died for living that way, for refusing to deny Christ as Lord and Saviour.

This is not an easy way to live today, as we have distractions drawing us away from the Gospel coming from almost every angle, and it's easy to fall in with those who do not share our faith, and believe within our own heart that they won't be a snare to our Christian walk (remember, the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick - Jeremiah 17:9)...but what if they are? What if it's already happened? What if the Holy Spirit is calling you out of those relationships? How can you, or me, find the strength and confidence to listen to Him and obey?

Pray and remove yourself for a time, be alone in Heaven's Nursery, where the mighty hand of God can minister Light, Truth, healing and refreshment to the grief and loneliness you may be feeling. For our God hears every prayer and answers every prayer. 
Yesterday I was reading from My Utmost for His Highest, and realised something I have never thought about before. The statement of truth is highlighted below...

"Jesus NEVER mentioned unanswered prayer. He had the unlimited certainty of knowing that prayer is always answered." Oswald Chambers

I don't know about you but this was a big epiphany for me, and also for Blossom when I read it to her, because there have been some prayers that I have not seen an answer to, prayers which for months I may stop praying due to losing hope...but now I see, I am reminded, that God's answer isn't very often the one I want, but it IS the answer which is needed most to fulfil HIS purpose, not necessarily mine. Now I must not lose hope, nor stop praying, but be mindful that HIS will shall be done.

So, back to the plant nursery and where I am at the moment, in Heaven's Nursery, choosing to be apart from the world, hungering to see Jesus, praying for the courage to lay down those things which can be, or are already, a snare for me - things which draw me into the world and not away from it. 

We're told in 1 Corinthians 10:13..."No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and He will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation He will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it."

That escape is to walk away from any action, relationship or behaviour which has become, or will become, a snare to draw us away from abiding in the complete truth of God's Word.

"Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee; draw near to God and He will draw near to you." James 4:7

Not sure how long I need to be in Heaven's Nursery while the Father tends to a recent grief and teaches me how to truly, completely, every day, be in the world but not of the world (John 17:11-17) but however long it takes I have no doubt that He is answering my prayer to become set apart for His service, walking the path HE alone has set before me.

During this quieter time I've been studying Exodus, reading a biography of Oswald Chambers, continuing to crochet the rug I began last year, walking through the garden and tending the plants, singing hymns, and of course, praying.

I'm also reading through a reprint from a 1959 copy of the QCWA (Queensland Country Women's Association) cookbook which I bought at a local market stall.

There's some wonderful recipes in it for using just what you have on hand, but I really loved this prayer which was printed inside the front cover...

May God bless each and everyone of you today and in the days ahead. Economically things are getting tough everywhere, but God is our true Provider, so lift your hearts, hands and prayers to Him. Pray for ideas on how to balance your budget and tighten your belts (I do this every day now), ideas on economical ways to feed the family, use less power, and most of all - help in being content with what you already have and curbing envious eyes for wanting what the Jones's have. I used to enjoy Pinterest but rarely think to go there now as a deep dis-content took root in my heart during 2020 when I saw the homes of others and began to complain about my home. I noticed how bad it had become a few months back and knew I had to repent of those longings and choose to be content in my own lovely home.

Today I give thanks to God for my home, for this precious gift of sanctuary He provided for us to purchase in our autumn years, and can honestly say I am happily content and deeply satisfied. Amen! 

It was Blossom's birthday yesterday, she turned 28. Some of you have been reading my blog since the start, when she was just 14, and have watched her grow up before your eyes. I am so very proud to be her mum, and spending her birthday together with the grandchildren was pure delight. We've both had some losses recently, but the joy of having each other, not just as mother and daughter, but sisters in Christ together, eases our burden as we both hand things over to Jesus and give Him praise. 

Here's a recent photo of my girl and her precious little ones. LOVE.

Until next time,



Robin in New Jersey said...

Such a lovely post. I'm sorry to read you are going through a time of grief. Sending you love and prayers. 💞🙏

Happy Birthday to Blossom!

Allie said...

Well. Where to start - I too have been feeling the need to pull away from the world - seeking that heavenly city - turning off the news, and opening my bible instead. I believe as days get darker, it's more important than ever to seek His light.
And that poem - oh gosh, I must hang that in my kitchen! I actually cried reading it, recognizing everything I've been feeling lately.

(Psalms 30:5) "in his favour is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning." Praying for much comfort for you, my precious sister.

LOVE the picture of Blossom and the children, what a lovely mum she is, how blessed you are!!!! Happy Birthday dear Blossom!!!!!

Miriam said...

Wonderful post, thank you. Happy birthday to Blossom.

Lin said...

Lovely post Jennifer, thank you. xx

Julie said...

Another lovely post dear Jen. Look at Blossom & her beautiful family - how precious. I have a "plant nursery" down the end of my lounge room where there are French doors that we don't use. Its the perfect place to send my plants that need rescuing as its lovely gentle late afternoon sun & light & no breezes or draughts. Much like yours I think. I often feel like lying down there myself & removing myself from the world for awhile. Wishing you a peace filled weekend my friend. xx

Joanne said...

Hi Jennifer,
Upcycling can be such fun :)
Right plant right place inside or outside. Goes for weeds as well. What is a weed for someone is a beautiful useful plant for someone else.
The family photo looks like they are on vacation !
Wishing you all a great weekend :)
hugs,take care,

Anonymous said...

Thank you Jennifer for the well timed post and lovely poem. That poem speaks volumes to me. I pray God would bless all of us no matter where we are in our walk with Him.

kshackabq said...

You are always spot on, Jennifer. Thanks for your encouragement. I, too, have been feeling called to go deeper into Scripture. Blossom and her family are adorable!

Sandy said...

Thank you Jenny. Your words touched me deeply today.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Jenny that's such a beautiful post! And so apt, where would we be without Our Lord and Saviour. I am listening to Pam Rhodes on the Life of Charles Wesley as I reply from my phone prior to church. We go to Whitewell Metropolitan Tabernacle Church Belfast. You can see it on line. We are so privileged to be able to go and worship our Saviour when many can't. I love the family photo!! Blessings Mary-Lou

Angie in SoCal said...

What is a weed, indeed. Take dandelions: some make wine from them, others put leaves in their salads. I, too, am trying to get closer to God. I've signed up to do the Spiritual exercises of St. Ignatius who composed them 500 years ago. We are encouraged to set aside an hour a day to pray and listen for the Lord. My first day I fell asleep. Second day, I picked the wrong time to do this exercise - wrong time to try. The third day I forgot. The fourth day I ran out of time. This is hard. And all I have to do is go to my sacred space and listen after reading a Scripture passage. Say a prayer for me, Jenny. Love the photo! Blessings,

Lori said...

Lovely, timely post Jennifer. As always! I, too, have had to repent of discontent with the abode we just moved into. Grumbling and complaining are just plain and simple sin. I get overwhelmed with all that needs to be done to make it "ours." No more excuses. It is such a lovely place that the LORD has given us and with the help of the Holy Spirit, He will guide me in creatively making it our own to be cozy and comfortable in for years to come. Your family is beautiful! Happy Birthday to Blossom!

kupton52 said...

Dear Jenny...I'm church pianist and choir director for 2 United Methodist churches so I'm in a 9:30 service and then in an 11:00 service at my home church. This post was the BEST sermon I've heard in ages. I think you may have missed your calling! I've been one of those people who've been around, following your posts and enjoying your stitchery since Blossom was a teen. I think I've said it before, but if it's been awhile, please know how grateful I am and how much you've helped and inspired me over the years. Blessings from West Virginia/USA.

Christine M said...

That is a beautiful photo of Blossom and her children. xx

Lori said...

Hi Jennifer. Today I stumbled upon your blog: How beautiful your home and family are. You are so right in some of us wanting to pull away from today’s world….myself included. The last two plus years have been hard on everyone. I look forward to my quiet time …my time to pray and to meditate. Time to find myself…without feeling guilty. The Lord is good and protects us all. I have recently started embroidery and I love your designs. I find them very comforting. I look forward to spending time on your sites and embroidering some of your patterns. Blessings to you and yours, Lori