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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Bloom (11/22/12)

TITLE: Beautiful Blooms
By Frankie Kemp
11/24/12


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It’s the Saturday after Thanksgiving, and I must say, it wasn’t the Thanksgiving I had wanted. No sense discussing the why’s—it just wasn’t like so many other Thanksgivings I have treasured and stored away in my memory. BUT . . . this morning, I find that I’m still THANKFUL, and that is the sweetest blessing of all—this thankfulness that comes to me when I think it’s not there—this thankfulness that I absolutely, positively, could not have manufactured within myself. If you had been with me yesterday morning, you might see why that is so.

This morning, the Lord whispered peace to me, affirmation of my infinite value to the Creator of the Universe. Today, I meant to simply peak at this week’s challenge topic, and when I did, I got a blessing—a reminder that His Presence has been whispering the same message to me since the day He claimed me. This week’s topic: “Bloom.” I’ve already written it--MONTHS AGO—way back in July in my journal and in a blog entry.

You see, I have been on a strange journey through a strange season in this life, but HE has never left me. Through it all, He has covered me with His Grace and Mercy, assuring me of the blessings of His Presence, despite the circumstances beyond my control. He’s been telling me all along that He’s never left me nor forsaken me, but I have trouble hanging on to that knowing. This morning, with the challenge topic and the blessing of memory, He has reminded me again of all the moments He’s whispered peace to me. What is MOST precious about this message is that it’s not just for me. It’s for all of us. He didn’t just tell me this—He tells us all, in one way or another. Here’s what I wrote months ago that is still true today:

This morning, reflecting on what just a few blooms will do to lighten perspective , I heard my Savior’s voice. He used those blooms to speak to my heart. Simply enjoying the ease of His Presence, I marveled at the difference in me. Where did it come from? Is it a product of something I did--something I finally got right? Nope. Can't be me. Absolutely, without question, it is NOT a product of anything I did. Grace--unearned, can't be manufactured or created by me. He whispered a little metaphor to me to help me understand the difference between "doing" and "being."

Consider a rosebush growing in a desert. She wants to bloom, so she does everything she can to produce beautiful roses. She thinks all day long about what it takes to be a beautiful rose bush; she spends her energy and her focus preparing for beautiful blooms, learning all she can about beautiful blooms, working her roots trying to stir up the soil, straining as hard as she can to make rose buds appear--yet she remains a rosebush growing in a desert trying to make herself bloom.

Then the Master Gardener appears, and He touches her leaves and reminds her that she is a royal rosebush. All she has to do is be who she is and focus on what He does and who He is, not what she can or should be doing. He brings her living water and specially selected fertilizer. Then, with tender care and pruning, He begins to work on her. When she stops thinking so hard about being a rosebush and stops trying so hard to create her own blooms, she realizes that she can rest. She realizes that she enjoys what the Gardner does and that it is A GOOD THING to be a royal rosebush growing in a desert, with or without blooms. BUT . . . the more He works on her, the blossoms begin to appear. Such is the way of the Master Gardener.

Thank you, Jesus! Thank you for wearing a crown constructed of thorns from this rosebush so that she might bud roses that reflect YOUR GRACE AND BEAUTY!

The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose. It shall blossom abundantly and rejoice even with joy and singing. The glory of Lebanon shall be given unto it, the excellency of Carmel and Sharon, they shall see the glory of the Lord, and the excellency of our God.
Isaiah 35:1-2


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Member Comments
Member Date
Lynda Lee Schab 11/30/12
Not sure why there is a formatting problem with your entry. You've expressed some wonderful thoughts, here. I felt like I was reading a journal entry. Challenge-wise, it's usually not a good idea to mention the Challenge in your actual entry. Perhaps a more creative angle would have been to show what you learned through a fictional character. Just a suggestion. I could sense the abundance of thankfulness you felt while writing this.
Sandra Hartman12/01/12
You have caught the very essence of the Christian walk. It is not about us working ourselves up to bloom for the Lord. It is about how He develops His bloom in us when we allow Him to do the work.
Christina Banks 12/01/12
I really liked what you said in your journal: "Grace--unearned, can't be manufactured or created by me." That really hit home for me. You're completely right. I can't manufacture grace, no matter how good I am or how many good things I do. I like an acronym I heard for the word grace: God's Riches At Christ's Expense. It's not about me, it's all about Him.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 12/04/12
This is a lovely piece. I can truly relate to it as this has been a year of changes for me with each child moving on to their next phase. It has seemed that this year, more than ever, God grants me blooms (or as I call them personal I love you's) We do need to pick up and carry on and allow the glory of God to flourish inside us so the whole world can see his grace. Lovely bit of writing.
CD Swanson 12/04/12
Touching and meaningful. I enjoyed this whole piece.
Thank you. God bless~
Noel Mitaxa 12/06/12
Isn't it terrific when a topic appears that connects so well with an issue we've been wrestling with, or which we have had a breakthrough! A very positive and well-grounded devotional
Sandra Renee Hicks 01/02/13
Hi -

Thank you for this piece of true awareness. We need such reminders. Yes, GOD is forever faithful. His grace is sufficient...indeed.

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Please note in your second paragraph - peak should be peek.