A few years ago my husband built a butterfly garden in my backyard. It’s a beautiful space that attracts butterflies and hummingbirds, and it’s a place of renewal for me. Every spring I pull out what the harsh winter has killed, and prune the perennials that need a boost. I plant new annuals for added color and fill pots with fresh herbs for summer meals. After the first major “haircut” the garden looks dreadful. But within a few weeks there’s new green growth and flowers that I consider are God’s special bouquet just for me.
The flowers in my butterfly garden are like the woman I want to be.
- They are resilient. No matter how hot or dry it gets in the summer or how cold our winter may get, some plants keep coming back year after year. I know women like that. No matter what their challenges—the ups and downs of life—they have this inner strength and deep roots that makes them thrive. Like those hearty plants and strong women, I want to have deep roots of faith that keep me resilient during times of stress.
- They are authentic. Each flower knows its place in the garden and is proud to display its unique color and design. The Knockout Roses don’t cross-pollinate with the Salvia, trying to become tall and thin. They are perfectly content just as they are. The Gerber Daisies, Lavender, Verbena and Coreopsis each have a unique purpose and design and bloom wherever they’re planted. Just like these flowers, I am but one in God’s vast beautiful garden. He designed me just as I am, so I should standup tall with my face toward the sun and not try to become someone else.
- They respond well to pruning. I must cut away the dead branches to encourage lush new growth. Like my roses, trimming away unproductive branches allows me to flourish in other areas of my life. Overcommitment drains my energy, so I must be diligent to cut away what doesn’t support my calling. I must be willing to say “no” more often to provide open space around me to breathe. If I don’t, I will become spindly and fruitless.
- They need pest control. Because my garden contains flowers, herbs and greenery, there are pests that want to eat away the new growth. Often they’re hard to see, but before you know it, those little bugs can strip an entire plant down to bare stems. Likewise I must be careful to keep pests out of my life—those who would suck the energy and joy out of me. Pest control is a vital part of my own TLC.
- They must have water and fertilizer. To bloom abundantly the plants in my garden need water and food. Likewise I must nourish my body with water, eat a healthy diet and enjoy sunshine. I can’t grow alone. I must surround myself with people who lovingly prune me, when needed, and who pour life-giving encouragement and guidance into my life on a regular basis.
How does your garden grow? Do you need some pruning or pest control? Are you getting the proper nutrition to bloom abundantly? Do your roots run deep enough for resiliency in the midst of the fires of life? Do you have a few gardeners who lovingly care for you?
You are a beautiful flower, created to bloom and flourish. Give yourself some extra TLC this spring, and see how vibrant and vigorous you become.