Our beautiful God, our Creator, knows each and every one of us more intimately than we could ever begin to comprehend. Our sweet heavenly Father knows us more than we think we know ourselves. How could that even be? While our memories are fleeting at best, the divine memory of the Father is complete and comprehensive of our entire lives. Every moment, he knows. There is even a verse that declares boldly that God keeps account of our every sorrow.
“You have kept count of my tossing; put my tears in your bottle. Are they not in your book? This I know, that God is for me.” Psalm 56: 8-11.
I take a great amount of comfort in that verse. Like many of you, I’ve been through some severely dark valleys in life. Valleys of loss, Melanoma, infertility, and divorce. How amazing it is to know that my God knows it all. He knows us at our best, or worst, our happiest, our saddest, and everything in between.
God knows us so intimately that he knows how to communicate with us in ways that we will respond to and understand. You may still be figuring out what those ways are. Keep your eyes, ears, and heart open! He knows you, and he wants to speak to you.
I am a highly visual and quite creative individual. He knows this and God speaks to me through visions or pictures that I see in my mind. It’s more than daydreaming. They are usually quite significant to a certain aspect of my life and I can interpret the meaning easily.
Recently, I had a meeting with a beautiful group of women from my church to brainstorm ways to take a specific ministry to the next level and see it flourish wildly again. It was clear that we all had the heart and desire to do what it takes, saying ‘yes’ to whatever the Lord calls us to do.
That evening, I went home thinking, praying, and asking God to help me use my creativity for his glory. I asked for ideas to help this ministry grow. In the midst of sleep (as it happens so often) I was awoken by a vivid dream. In the dream the meaning was completely clear, and kept replaying in my wakeful state. God sent a message of encouragement and wisdom, and while this dream was meant for this ministry, it applies to the challenges of anyone going through difficult seasons in life.
In my dream the five women from my meeting were wearing old, worn out blue jeans, covered in dirt stains. From a view below the earth, I could see that we were kneeling and toiling in the ground. Our knees caked with grit and grime. In the center of the women was a huge, overgrown, pink rose bush. The five of us were working tirelessly to prune the bush, cutting back thorns, and stems, and even beautiful pink roses.
A rose bush needs pruning every once in a while. It needs to be cut back, even if there are beautiful roses at the ends. This helps new and healthy growth occur. The process isn’t easy. In the midst of the pruning, you may mourn over the lush roses that are needing to be clipped. It feels like a loss, seems needless, or downright stupid. Perhaps you take those roses and put them delicately in a vase so that you can admire them just a bit longer.
While you are toiling over the rose bush you may get cut by the harsh edges of thorns. Thorns that doubt your purpose and try to protect the bush for its former glory. There is nothing wrong in their intentions. They are loyal and true. They love the bush fiercely. You need thorns!
If it’s been a while since the rose bush has had a pruning, it may be overgrown and growing in strange directions. It may take extra work to get it back on course and growing with a strong center. You might even have to readjust the roots.
Once the rose bush is fully pruned and cut back, there is room for fresh, healthy growth. The new growth doesn’t happen overnight. However, when its season comes, it grows healthy and strong. Its emerald green leaves are lush and crisp. The buds come in eager to bloom, and when they do, you stand amazed. The color seems more vibrant than before.
The toilers who worked so hard can join arms and enjoy the fruits of their labor. Maybe they can pass the torch (or garden sheers) to a new group.
The work of ministry, or coming out of trauma, hardships, and heartache is hard work. But it can be done. There is regrowth on the other side. Lean on the one who counts your tears. Get your knees dirty, get scratched up, and watch beauty unfold in one way or another. Sometimes the beauty is easy to see, and other times you have to look for it, but it’s always there. Seek the beauty and find the joy.
“Awake, north wind, and come, south wind! Blow on my garden, that its fragrance may spread everywhere. Let my beloved come into his garden and taste its choice fruits.” Song of Songs 4:16