Sunday, May 11, 2014

Pruning Perks

Here are some more of my thoughts on the connections to a rose. A healthy and fruitful (multiple blooms) rose is one that gets pruned every year. When roses get pruned, they get cut back about 1/3 to 2/3 shorter than their current height. Have you ever noticed the pruned rose bushes in your neighborhood during those harsh winter months?  They are stubby and awkward looking. On the beauty scale, they are not anything to look at.  In the eyes of the gardener tending to them, they are beautiful still because the gardener can see the next years beauty in his or her mind, knowing that pruning does amazing things for the fruitfulness of the plant in the future. The gardener always sees the grand potential in a plant as he or she is pruning. Pruning isn't meant to be a harsh action, but one of great care.....and if you want to go this far....of great love for the plant.

DOES ANY OF THIS HAVE TO DO WITH US??  YES.  I will finish with the passage of God's Word when Jesus speaks about the vine and the branches. And let you learn what you need to or what you want to learn from it. Be blessed and be a blessing to others, dear one.

JOHN 15:1-17

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. 10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love. 11 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.
12 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command you. 15 No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. 17 These things I command you, so that you will love one another."

Friday, May 9, 2014

Part 8: Harsh Weather Won't Stop Me...

...from growing.

Roses are amazing plants in many ways, but I will write about one of it's attributes today. These wonderful plants, thorns and all, have such strength to much.  The rose bush or vine seems to hold up to very harsh temperature changes and tends to keep it's leaves green and brilliant into the very cold winter days.  I have even seen some "Double Knock-Out" roses in our neighborhood still producing new blooms while there was a week of sleet and snow!  Now, we must understand that roses are not invincible, but they are very tough and this should be considered by us all this day. Why should they even be considered, you ask? Especially,...why should anyone of us take precious minutes out of our day to consider the rose?

As humans, we are created and the rose is a created thing.  We have a common bond in that. We are part of the creation.  We were made with purpose and strengths specifically for our purpose.  If a rose has such detail, uniqueness, strength, resilience and power to influence it's area with heavenly fragrance and pleasure to the eye, why would we be less of the description I just mentioned of the rose??  We are so much more precious to the Creator, so much more full of purpose and grandeur and strength.  We as women...are so much more valuable and resilient, having so much ability--power of influence on our "neighborhood" or circle of friends.  GOD created you and me with such a divine purpose that will bring so much more of an impact on the lives of others than a rose could ever do.

Gardeners take such attention to caring for their roses. Even the roses that are vines and can grow freely up a fence, a trellis or a building; they, too, must be nurtured at their roots and sprayed for insects that threaten to take them out. Gardeners will tend to them with the purpose of keeping the beauty on-going, of keeping the elegance growing, of keeping the wonderful joy happening in the eyes and minds of those who get to see these roses thrive and reach for the sky.

 Some roses, however, grow in the wild, with no one to tend to them. And they, too, can still grow up high and brilliant. They are watched by God Himself and even they have a grand purpose. Only the animals and God know what the wild rose's purpose is, but this a thing we must have faith about....that God is still working in the things that no one else sees.

In God's Word, Jesus is teaching his followers about how they can understand the amazing majesty of God the Father. He says, about himself, that He is the vine and we are the branches. But Jesus also teaches that God is the vine-dresser....the Gardener. (This is found in John 15 in the Bible)  Jesus wants us to know that God is always watching us and wants to see us thrive.

Part 7: BLOOM

If we look a little deeper into things, we can see how nature challenges us to exist with passion and purpose.  Clearly, the challenge has been set by God's creation--the rose.

When a rose blooms, it brings beauty and grace to it's place where it is planted. It has no other purpose but to bless it's Maker with it's unique grace, it's variety of color, aroma and texture.  It has no other purpose than to be brilliant in scent and fullness, to "give life" and purpose to all those insects who are created to pollenate the flora of this world.

A rose grows high into the sky, as far as God has granted it to reach. It blooms wide and full for the on-lookers to enjoy.  Even when roses are cut from the plant and de-thorned to be sent to vases of water, they have purpose; to exist outside of their original environment for people to enjoy or for people to be comforted.  Roses are even thrown in the air in celebration of a victor/champion/celebrity, or they are handed to someone who has achieved a dream or goal, or they are handed to a loved one...a beloved to say "I love you" or "you are special, you are important, you are treasured".

The rose has so much to teach us. Let us learn from it.  In this life we have been given, let us bloom with purpose. Let us be vulnerable to the weather and vulnerable to the Creator--the Almighty and Faithful God.  Let us be vulnerable to possibilities of being uprooted or cut from the plant--removed from what we know.  Let us find, in our days of blooming for the world, a deep abiding joy as we bring joy to others. And let us bloom all the more full to showcase the grandeur of God's marvelous works.  The great and Mighty God made each of us with such a grand purpose and ability to bloom for all to see.

Roses reside in so many different settings. Some all alone, growing along a fence of a vast field, some in the big city on display in the front of a business or a church, some in the manicured yard of a house, some among the weeds of an empty lot, some in the cracks of the rocks in the mountains and some in flower pots on patios or porches. At different times in our lifespan, we can relate to those different settings. We sometimes can be like the roses that bloom in the meadow that which not many people see, but He--God-- sees and is blessed by our choice to thrive on a lonely plain.  Maybe we are planted somewhere that many people see us daily as we bloom and grow and we feel we are never out of the "eye" of the on-lookers.  Maybe we are plucked from the plant soon after forming into a bud and have only known what it is like to bloom and thrive in a vase of water in the home of someone in need of hope, joy, peace and rest.  Relating ourselves to a rose's given place of growing, blooming and withering IS a stretch of the imagination, but it is still good for us to think about ourselves and our influence on this planet from a different point of view.

Wherever we are planted or placed, may we know that our purpose on this earth is to make our Creator, the Almighty and Ever Faithful God look as glorious as He truly is because of our lives reflecting that beauty to the world.  May we direct people to standing in awe of God because of the beautiful blooming and unfolding we are doing.  May YOU, dear one, BLOOM and find purpose in your life----by giving praise to God and believing His message of life and hope in His Son Jesus Christ.

"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life."  -John 3:16
"And Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." -John 14:6

God offers us life through His Son Jesus. Let us look to God and believe in His Son Jesus who is able to restore us, save us, and plant us, even, in a new place of love and life. A fresh start where we can bloom for His glory and praise all of our days...making us vibrant and full of joy and hope for all eternity because of His Son Jesus and God's amazing love.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Part 5: YOU ARE...

Dear one, this time of your life is not just a holding pattern for the better days. This day, today, is a time for you to bloom. You are full of the gift of influence on the world around you.  It is not for you, to let this world tell you that you are not important, that you are not worth it.  You need to know that you are full of the power of influence and you have the choice to use that for good or for bad.

Think about this for a moment....
Every part of your day has moments where you have used your gift of influence to get others to join "forces" with you, to get others to agree with you, to get others to believe in you and your talents, to get others to follow you in one way or another.  You are influential---it happens every day whether you recognize it or not. What are you going to do with that now that you are thinking about it?

Just like a rose that is set for an audience to see, whether that be one person or a crowd, it too can provoke people to think and feel something. It's beauty causes thoughts, stories, memories, hope and dreams to rise up in the minds of those who see it's splendor. What kind of woman do you want to choose to be?  When people look into your life (not the beauty on the outside because that is fleeting)....even when people see you coming down the street, does your face,...does your life showcase hope, joy, life? Or does it showcase your confusion, defeat,....decay?  This is a tough question, but these days, one seems to be asking the tough questions to each other. So---I will. We just enjoy criticizing the rest of our world around us, but we do not look inward.....and we don't like it when someone is prying into our lives to make us "think".

You are a woman of influence. Choose this day, which way you will be.....and then...BE that girl. I hope that you choose to be a girl--a woman--who takes your life serious; that you choose to be a woman who takes your grand God-given ability to influence your world and uses it for a grand and positive purpose. Lastly, I hope that you know that Jesus Christ love you. And the Almighty God gave you this grand gift of influence so that you would be able to honor him with it---bringing joy, hope and help to those around you.

   "For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected..." -1 Timothy 4:4
   "I praise you [God] because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well." -Psalm 139:14

 Know that you are loved.  Know that I pray for you. Know that GOD SEES YOU--ALWAYS. And you need to know GOD'S ARMS ARE OPEN WIDE TO WELCOME YOU IN.
Go on, girl. Go on, and truly bloom. I dare you.
P.S.--  The best way people can learn how best to bloom is to know the One who made it. Get to know your Maker.....Get to know His truth---the Bible. Get to know the One who loves you so much that he came to earth and died on a cross for you. His name is Jesus Christ.
   "For we are God's masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so that we can do the good things he planned for us long ago." -Ephesians 2:10 (NLT)
Once you believe in the Lord Jesus, God's Son, then you can enjoy the adventure of blooming in company of the Maker of your beautiful self.
Where do you I start, you ask? You can start, by reading in the Holy Bible-- the Gospel of John and even the small book of 1 John. Both are a great read to get started.  I love ya. Peace.

Part 4: THE ROSE Refreshes

"My rose is absolutely stunning and is a breath of fresh air while I study." -Sarah Workman

What's your story?  How is your rose doing?  How is it refreshing you today?  Feel free to leave a comment below (there is even a spot to leave an anonymous comment).

Also, we strongly encourage you to stay connected to THE ROSE. You all are a small group of women who have received these roses with a purpose. We want you to know that you are already bound in a common bond with hundreds of other ladies at WCU because of THE ROSE.  We encourage you to follow the blog GET REAL, WOMAN! that I write in semi-consistantly. This blog is THE way to stay connected as women of THE ROSE.  There will be lots of interesting websites linked up to that blog in the coming days and you'll want to stay connected. Also, we encourage you to post comments, send e-mails to us with questions. THE ROSE is for you.  It is FOR you. We want this to be a support for you and an encouragement to you. Have a great day and we hope to see you around campus!  Love ya!

Part 3: As THE ROSE Unfolds

SO, how's your rose holding out? I hope it is still in your care and doing well.  For me, it is always fun to "take care" of a rose once I get it home to a cup or vase of water.  I usually will cut the end of the rose just a little bit so that it to has a fresh chance to absorb all the water it needs. Then I just enjoy it.

Sometimes, the rose wilts pretty quick. Other times, it stays "happy" and vibrant for days. Sometimes, the rose stays nice, but never really opens and other times it opens up so much that it takes my breath away.

Roses are just about as dramatic as we can be. They can be really showy or really passive or uneventful. ha!  They can be covered in wicked thorns or thornless--smooth.  They can be scented or not; either way, roses always smell amazing to me. (Side note: if your rose stinks today after receiving it yesterday, it's because your water is old and you need to pour it out and get fresh water...and go ahead and cut the end of the stem again to help it absorb the water.)

So many things about taking care of your rose can be related to the way we take care of our lives.  And the many different ways roses will exist in a vase is very similar to the many different ways we exist on this earth. How is your rose "existing" tonight?

Of course, we all would love our rose (especially the free kind) to be beautiful and in full bloom forever and ever. But, we all know that is not how it works. Personally, even with all the facts about the rose being a short lived thing and possibly not fully blooming and such, I would much rather have a real rose in a vase than a fake one that stays in the same state it was when I received it. I enjoy watching the change; the progression, from bud--to full bloom.  There is so much to be learned in that.

If you think that I am going a bit too far on this rose thing, that's just fine with me. We (Sarah and I...and a bunch of people who donated money to THE ROSE to buy them for you) made sure that you got a free rose this week SO THAT you would actually have the opportunity to think about such things. Life is short. Our existence on this planet is but a breath in the grand timeline of history. I hope that the rose you receive helps you to think, even if for a quick second about the God who made you. Yes, you are created by the Living God. God didn't just make you and then turn you loose to grow up on this planet without His help. He made a way for you to be forever connected to Him; a way that you would know His word and a way to heaven to spend eternity with Him. He sent His Son--Jesus.

THE ROSE is meant to give you an avenue to think about God, to think about truth. I encourage you to keep checking in to this blog and read more about what THE ROSE is meaning in the lives of so many women. THE ROSE could be the story you tell for decades to come--how your point of view, your journey through this life was changed on the day you received your red rose; and possibly altered forever in a good way--toward hope.
Feel free to comment on this blog, "follow" the blog, share it with your friends. And in the meantime, I hope to see you on campus. Sarah hopes to see you on campus, too. I probably won't remember all of you, but you'll probably remember me or my friend Sarah. Say hi, if you see us, tell us you are a member of THE ROSE. Free hugs will be there for the taking, friend.

Until next blog post...
Sincerely loving and praying for you all,
Becky (and Sarah)

Part 2: Hey, THE ROSE girls!

My name is Sarah Workman and I am a junior at West Chester University as well as a co-founder of THE ROSE.  I believe that as women, we are beautiful and more precious than we could ever imagine.  We are loved by the one who defined true love: Jesus Christ.

Before I had Christ in my life, I was afraid that I would never be smart enough, never be pretty enough, never be successful enough.  I believed that I was a failure.  When Christ entered into my life, I realized that He was enough.  I realized that He sees me right where I am, and loves me just the same.  He doesn't care about where I have been or what I have done.  He cares about ME. Because I have Jesus in my life, I am not enslaved by my inferiorities, but instead, I am set free by His superiority. I have peace in my life because I know that Jesus will always love me.  Now, I live my life to show others the truth I have found in Jesus. Here it is:  You are beautiful because you belong to Jesus.