It’s Mother’s Day week. For those of us who work with flowers, that means it is a busy week! I spent my day processing the flowers that came in. For most of them, that means chopping an inch or so off the bottom and putting them in fresh water. But, for long stem roses, it’s different. You know, the ones that are sold individually? Yeah, those. Well, they come in all bundled together, complete with ugly outer petals, leaves…and thorns. A LOT of thorns. So, the ugly petals, leaves and thorns all have to come off. Ugly petals just get plucked. But, the leaves and thorns are a little trickier. A metal rose stripper is used – it has a “mouth” that fits over the rose stem and you pull down. When done correctly, it strips off all leaves and thorns. I really, really hate doing it. Really. Invariably, I get stuck by one of the pesky thorns. Today, it was more like ripped. I will whine, but my finger will survive. Yay! However, those roses did make me think today….
We are like those roses. Jesus said for us to come as we are. So, we do. We come with all our baggage and pain and discontentment and anger and confusion and misconceptions. We struggle to the foot of the cross and grab onto Jesus, not realizing just how much stuff we’ve carried with us. Lovingly and patiently, Jesus starts working on us. A petal here, a leaf there. Not too bad. I can do this. Then, all of a sudden, it gets more painful. The lessons get harder. The things He wants us to let go of are a little closer to our heart. We think we can’t live without our leaves or thorns. But, God loves us too much to leave us the way He found us. So, He strips. And He keeps stripping. It’s been my experience thus far that every time I think I’m finally doing okay, He reveals another little piece that just has to go. In His graciousness, it always turns out to be a good thing. Even when it doesn’t feel like it at the time!
So….are you feeling stripped right now? That’s a good thing. That means God is still turning you into the man or woman of God that He means for you to be!
For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. Philippians 1:6 NASB
Be blessed and tell someone you love them.