03 October 2013

Gather the Lillies and Pinks, Not the Thorns (A Habit for Day 3)

I've read a little story--maybe you've read it too, but if not, you can read it here--where a woman writes a letter to another woman, wondering why her life is so full of darkness, and would she share any advice?

Well, the woman received the letter, and that evening went to bed and slept.  She dreamed of being led on a tour, with the discouraged woman and the gardener as a guide, through a garden.  The garden wasn't a perfect one, and although there were many flowers and beauties in it, the discouraged woman gravitated toward the weeds and thorns, soon getting stuck and pricked and grumbly.  

Meanwhile, the discouraged woman's friend hasn't even noticed the patches of weeds, but gets drawn immediately toward the sweet-smelling flowers.  As she's picking a lovely bouquet, her friend calls her attention to all things ugly.  And what do you know?  She's off the path, away from the gardener, refusing to notice where there is beauty.  She was in the desert, instead of enjoying the garden, because she had made a habit out of looking at the worst side of everything.

We do the same thing all the time.

We are near the Gardener, but just far enough away that we refuse the blessings He has to offer us.  Or the thorns seem so painful that we can't seem to remember where the flowers are.  We get stuck in thorn bushes and forget to ask the Gardener to help us out.  We look around us, talking about the ugly things in life far more often than we enjoy its beauties.  Then we try to get other people to focus on the thorns, when they could be enjoying the flowers if it weren't for our discouraged jabber.

So how do we stop the negativity?

We have to acknowledge that there are weeds, but also that there are flowers.   
We don't have to deny that there are weeds in our lives, but we can look at, talk about, and gather flowers as much as possible.

If you've ever looked at a desert landscape from a distance--say, from your car as you drive through it on the highway--you probably have thought, like I did, that it was a pretty barren place.  But if you've had a chance to stop and hike a little through the sagebrush and sand, you've probably been amazed, like I was, at how many flowers make their humble, cheery homes in the midst of what seemed like a wasteland.

It works the same way in life, in relationships, and in conversations.  Verbally notice the little beauties and blessings--in the physical world, in your social circles, and in your walk with Jesus--and they're bound to stand out in more stunning brightness, contrasting all the more with whatever other bleak wilderness you might be experiencing.

Bring flowers to your dinner table, to the office, to the grocery store when the checker asks how you're doing.  Decide to look for cheer, and you will certainly find some.  You may not get out of the desert, but the act of looking will open your eyes to the beauties more and more each day.

And remember you have a Gardener for your Guide, One who designed your path to go past as many flowers as possible on the narrow way toward our goal.  He wants to lead you through the flowers, and give you those moments of rest as you smell them.

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Grab button for LADDER OF MERCY (Photo by Barbara Frohne


  1. I love how you retold this story. I think I need to find some flowers today to put on my table.

  2. I have spent way too much time over the last couple of years paying too much attention to the thorns in life. The Gardener(God) has been good and as I allow Him - he is bringing me around to the flowers again and it feels good.
    Thanks for another great post!
    Lisa :O)

  3. I'm so glad to have this story brought back to mind. You will have to remind me of the exact quote... Is it "Gather the roses, the lillies and the pinks"?


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