There is a certain plant in our garden, which has very vigorous tendencies. It twines up at lightning speed, and just when you think you’ve got it all out, there’s a white trumpet flower at eye-level! Yes, it’s convolvulus, or bindweed. I discovered a huge rampant pile of this annoying plant smothering my apple tree today, and I started thinking about its tendencies.

It creeps about along the fence lines, ready to take advantage of the gardener’s inattention. It always seems to be someone else’s problem, coming through from under the fence – we always blame the neighbours for not controlling it, and they probably are grumbling about my slovenly gardening habits in allowing it to go through their fence!

It seems to me that convolvulus is a metaphor for that habit many of us suffer from, of blaming other people. It’s so easy to try and shift all blame away from ourselves, rather than stand accountable for what we have done, or why we have done it, or what we have not done. Just as we all try to blame the next-door gardeners for the weeds coming under (or over) the fence, we all try to blame someone else, rather than stand up and face the music.

But with God we can stand up and be judged, because Jesus has taken our punishment. We can pull out our own convolvulus, and instead of grumbling about it being there, we can thank God for the pretty white flowers that alert us to its presence – hopefully before it completely strangles the apple tree!

There are some blessings with this plant – the kids like to pop the flowers off, and call them ‘granny-pops’. The other blessing is that the rabbits eat them! Now all I’ve got to do is train the rabbits to climb the trees!

Have a look at my favourite song about Bindweed!

Complicated or complex?

columbine honeywort and daisies

Columbine honeywort and daisies

I picked some flowers from my beautiful spring garden today. There are daisies, honeywort and columbine.I put them in a vase on the table, and sat looking at them really closely with my husband, and marveling at their complexity. A simple daisy flower is really lots of flowers! And the honeywort has leaves that look like petals. Strange. The columbines come in several sorts – the most basic one, that hasn’t been selected by the plant breeders for double petals, is still complicated. There are five petals like tubes, with a green spot on the end, and five others that flex backwards. All with little curvy bits on them. Continue reading

Freedom and risk

I let my male rabbit out today. It was a beautiful spring morning, with a good drying wind (it is Wellington), and the fast-growing lawn looked as if it needed a bit of nibbling. Our Daddy bunny, Jasper, is very docile and easy to catch. He usually sits by Mummy bunny’s hutch when he’s finished eating, and I can scoop him up when it’s time for him to go back in his hutch. But lately he has been relishing the taste of freedom a bit too much – I have found him on the road twice, and a neighbour has brought him back from her place too. After those long and dangerous excursions I have hesitated to give Jasper the freedom to roam around at his pleasure, knowing the risks.

I’m reminded of the freedom we have in God – our free will can be a wonderful thing, creative and permission-giving. But unless we heed the good counsel we have in the Bible, we risk going to places of danger. We can choose – no one is forcing us to make healthy decisions. The Ten Commandments are a good place to start.

But, I haven’t murdered anyone lately, you may say, I haven’t committed adultery – though I did check out that cute guy – and I haven’t stolen, -the pen from work is just on loan…

How about lying? Or coveting? These can be very tempting ways to behave, and we have freedom to do exactly what we please, but if we choose God’s way, we choose life in all its abundance.

“Now if you are unwilling to serve the Lord, choose this day who you will serve…but as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” Josh 24:15

Now I’d better go and have another look for Jasper bunny!

Fresh-Baked Scripture

I went outside this morning to feed my rabbits. There are nine of them at the moment, so I try to give them leftovers rather than buying pellets for them all the time. However, what they really like is grass. That will come as no surprise when we think of areas of farmland devastated by rabbits.

Well, this morning, I took out the bowl of leftover sandwiches and half-eaten apples, – courtesy my kids- and put it in the hutch. Puddles, Mummy bunny, had a bit of a sniff, then ignored most of it. Yes, I thought, she knows spring is coming, and there’s fresh grass around. I’d better pick some. I squelched down to the vegetable garden and picked some fresh grass and weeds for her, and as I did, it seemed to me that this was a symbol.

I was giving her the right food, not leftovers. How often in caring for people, as well as rabbits, do we give them our leftovers, rather than what they actually need? When we take the time to understand what spiritual food is needed to really nurture someone, that is surely better than giving them our leftovers. Recommending books and programmes that we have enjoyed can be helpful, but the best food must be the words of God, fresh-baked Scripture. Then let the Holy Spirit help them digest it.

It wasn’t convenient for me to pick my way through the mud and freezing lawn to feed my rabbits what they really needed, and sometimes it’s hard to give someone a scripture too. I encourage you to step out in faith and do it anyway – God will help you!

(Psa 86:11)  Teach me your way, O LORD, that I may walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart to revere your name.

(Psa 86:12)  I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart, and I will glorify your name forever.