|Girls, Gardeners and God
Category: Bible Study Devotionals
“Water, Protect, Tend, Communicate, Nurture.”
These are the five words God gave me as I was falling asleep not too long ago.
I had no clue what they meant or why He’d given them to me. I just knew that randomly, five big words zipped across my mind. I was too drowsy to get up and write them down, so I figured I’d let it go, write them down in the morning and pray about it then.
Shows you how well God knows me: I NEVER remember anything I think about before I go to sleep. I always wake up and the first thing on my mind is coffee. So you can imagine how hard it was to sleep with these five words dancing around my mind. It was like God wasn’t gonna let me forget about them.
I popped my eyes open with an agitated sigh and sat up to pray, “alright, Lord, it’s past Midnight anyway. Lay it on me.” I sat and listened for a response for a moment.
“These are the five things you need to cultivate a rosebush.”
I raised an eyebrow sluggishly, “seriously, God? You’re keeping me up to talk about a rosebush? This couldn’t wait till, I dunno, never?”
“Think about those words,” He continued, “‘Water, Protect, Tend, Communicate, Nurture.’ What else does that sound like to you?”
“You obviously don’t see how tired I am,” I argued with the Creator of the universe, “my brain shut off around 30 minutes ago.”
I’m thankful I have a God who still loves me when I’m stubborn.
“Water, Protect, Tend, Communicate, Nurture. Pray this for your husband. And tell girls this is what they need to be looking for in their husbands too. Goodnight.”
…I’m also thankful I have a God who gets my sarcasm and still makes His point.
After this, I really found it hard to sleep. All I could think about was the comparison God has just given me. Five minutes before, I just wanted to shut down for the night, and now here I was, sitting and contemplating one of the biggest things God has ever shown me regarding relationships (don’t you love how He does that?)
Ladies… you want your husband to be a gardener.
“Like, the dudes who come and mow my lawn every Saturday?”
Not exactly (unless that’s what your interested in, then by all means, pray away.) I’m talking more of a spiritual gardener.
Girls, I hope you don’t mind, but for this, I’m going to compare you to a bush.
“Pssh, how come he gets to be a gardener and I have to be some foliage?”
You’re not just any bush. You’re a bush with one, bright, beautifully red rose. One singular flower that makes this bush set apart from all of the other bushes on the planet.
As I’ve taken the time to study and meditate on these five words, I think I understand what God said when He told me that the ability to ‘Water, Protect, Tend, Communicate, and Nurture’ were five things we need to be looking for and praying about for our future husbands.
Water. Nothing can live without water. Especially a flower. It might be able to get by for a little while, but within days, the flower’s fragile nature due to the dehydration will begin to rot it from its inside out. Before long, it will be crusty, wilty and decaying. It’s the gardeners responsibility to make sure that his flower stays watered, because with adequate hydration, it will thrive and maintain it’s beauty.
Ephesians 5 talks about how a husband is supposed to love his wife, and how part of that is washing her in the water of the Word. It took me YEARS to understand that concept. Mostly because I had no clue what that meant. That was until, the light bulb went off over my head one day.
God didn’t mean to literally wash her (because for years, I was thinking the dude was gonna have to wash my hair every night.) Rather, it means to spiritually cleanse her by making sure she stays in the Word of God and that she’s growing in her knowledge of Christ and His love for her. This is the first and most important thing we need to be looking for.
Girls, this might be a hard one to swallow, but you want a guy who loves God more than he loves you. You want a guy who is so passionate about serving and knowing our Creator, that He won’t rest until he lets you know what God is doing. It’s his fire for God that makes him the leader of your family, it’s his fire for God that fuels your fire for Him too, but the coolest part, it’s his fire for God that helps him to love you as incredibly as he does.
So often, we think God and romance don’t mix. Not true. God’s the ultimate cultivator of romance. If He’s not, then what was the Cross? Yes, it was atonement of sins and yes it was bridging the gap between God and man, but it was also the most fanatical and loving thing any man has ever done for another human being. It was the biggest sacrifice a Groom has given to His bride… EVER.
When he puts God first, just as we should in everything we do, it enhances everything else. It makes the way he loves you greater because he knows what ultimate love looks like and wants you to know it too.
Protect. A good gardener knows that there are dangers out there that would try and harm his flower. From bugs who can’t wait to dig their claws into the flower and start chomping away, to people who would casually walk by and pick the flower for selfish gain. The gardener will go to great lengths to protect his flower, but he won’t get paranoid about it. He’ll take healthy precautions to make sure it’s okay. He would sacrifice whatever time and effort it took to keep his flower safe.
We live in a world that cheapens us girls like were some sort of Dollar Store souvenir you can throw around and care less if it gets broken. Like we’re supposed to be so dang solid and independent, that we can do anything with anyone and not have our emotions get in the way (yeah right.)
There are a lot of people out there who could care less if they hurt us, as long as they get what they want in the name of pleasure… but your husband is not one of them.
You want a guy who will protect your heart like it was his. You want a guy who would sacrifice anything to help you be what you are called to be. You want a guy who, before you’re married, helps hold you to such a high standard of purity before God that it is anything but “normal.”
You want a guy who, once you are married, does anything and everything to protect you—physically, spiritually and emotionally. You want a guy who doesn’t get jealous every time you speak to another man (unless you give him good reason to… that’s another blog…) but trusts you entirely, and desires to, wholesomely, shepherd the depths of your heart closer to his.
You want a guy who would die for you the same way Christ died for the Church. Who would go to crazy lengths to let you know how he’ll never let you go.
Girls, it’s about time we had the nerve to uncomplicated this one.
Tend. He’s well aware that his flower grows thorns. These thrones can be hurtful and damaging to the gardener and those around him. But being the great gardener he is, he knows how to tend to his plant without hurting it or himself in the process. He slowly, carefully and lovingly smoothes out the rough corners that would make his flower less than beautiful, making it a sight to behold.
This can be a controversial one.
I watched an old 1940’s movie once that was about a newlywed couple and the unexpected struggles they encountered in the early months of their marriage. While the it was a comedy and I enjoyed the refreshingly clever and clean humor within the story, one thing about it didn’t make me laugh: one of the clear points made in the film was that a man had the right to hit his wife if she got out of line.
I understand this was around the 1950’s when the mentality of men beating their wives as a form of leadership was all the rage, but it still doesn’t make it okay. This whole thing was taken, ironically, from scripture where it says women should call their husbands ‘Lord’ like Sarah did to Abraham. While I can see misunderstanding, they were dead wrong in thinking what they were doing was okay. The whole point of that scripture was about one thing: respect. Sarah respected Abraham. She acknowledged him as her husband and treated him as the leader of the house.
So what exactly does it meant to “tend” then?
You know that old 80’s song, “Every Rose Has Its Thorn”? While the song might suck, the statement is true. We as women have the occasional tendency to act awful towards other people. Trust me. I can attest to this. A lot of the time, we like to write it off as our gender and the way we process things. And while, granted, we are wired differently, this doesn’t give us the right to be bratty balls of PMS all our lives. (Yeah, I went there.) We’re capable of more than that.
To tend means that a husband isn’t afraid to tell his wife she’s acting out of line, but he doesn’t do it by hurting her physically or emotionally. Like a good gardener, he helps her to smooth out her rough edges and help her become the flawless flower she was meant to be. He’s willing to do whatever it takes… even if it means being there when her thorns are the sharpest.
Yeah, it’s not always gonna be comfortable. Their job is basically telling a fight dog to stop fighting, but it’s worth it. I pray that if I EVER started to act like a knifing little heathen (and yes women, we can be at times, I‘ll be the first to admit it) my husband would have the nerve to tell me to knock it off, but not in a way that domineers me, in a way that gently leads me and helps me to better myself. I pray we would all be humble enough to receive that correction fromanyone.
(Some of you girls don’t like this one. Like it anyway. You want a man of integrity.)
Communicate. Gardeners will know when something is wrong with their flower and attempt to fix it before it’s too late. Whether it be lack of food, soil or whatever, he’ll stop and do whatever it takes to save it.
When I was little, I developed a green thumb and planted a lima bean plant. We were learning about plants in kindergarten and overhead my teacher say one day, that some people say talking to their plants helped them to grow. This fascinated my little mind, so every day for the next few weeks„ I went home from school and talked to my lima bean plant. I talked to it about everything. Homework. My shoes. TV. Barbies. Everything.
While I’m not sure if talking to it helped the lima beans grow any faster, it helped me grow a crucial skill: communication. Not so much in speaking, as much as it did in the art of paying attention. Being out there every day gabbing away caused me to notice if the plant was thirsty or in need of shade. Talking to it helped me to see what it needed, if that makes any sense.
You won’t ever hear a plant talk back (at least, I hope you don’t) but this rings ever true for us.
You want a husband who will communicate with you, in the good times and in the bad. You don’t just want a guy who will say cute and funny stuff and then close up when something is bothering him. Same goes for you. Because if he can’t be honest about what he’s feeling, he won’t be honest enough to notice if you’re not feeling right yourself. Communication opens the doorway to what each other needs, and helps establish the grounds to get it to one another.
Nurture. What’s all the work for if a gardener can’t stop and enjoy the flower he’s cultivating? Enjoying it’s beauty, its fragrance, knowing its history and continuing with a passion to see the flower bloom and grow stronger with each passing season… that’s what makes hard work worth it.
Girls, you want, no, you deserve a man who desires to show you how loved you are.
We’re all a little bit different. If you’re like me, you’re waiting for the Prince Charming type. You know, the guy who will come and sweep you off your feet every day with sweet words and loving actions (hey… don’t knock it… this is MY dream…) others of you? You might just want a chill dude who likes hanging out on the couch, talking about some of the same stuff you like and who genuinely loves spending time with you —I’d be down with that too. The point being, he enjoys your company and wants you to know it.
Marriage isn’t all sunshine and kittens. It takes a lot of hard work to make a marriage stay strong, but if all you do it work, work, work at it, it leaves you no time to enjoy each other and the bond God is strengthening between the two of you. The tough stuff makes the great stuff really, really great. You want a guy who is willing to work at it so you can both relish in it.
Girls, there are a lot of things you need to be praying for when it comes to the guys you are going to marry, but I fully believe these are five areas where God does NOT want to us to compromise.
Christ is the perfect example of a man who illustrates these five traits. And while no man is ever gonna be Jesus, He set that example for us in what to look for. He set that example for us to remind us how precious we are and of how much worth we have. God wants to give us something so great, but it starts with coming to Him and saying you will not settle for anything less than someone who will water, protect, tend, communicate with and nurture you the same way a good gardener waters, protects, tends, communicates with and nurtures his own garden. High standards give God the platform to do big miracles.
I want to challenge all of you girls out there reading this to start making these five things your prayer for your future husband. Guys are living in a world that’s throwing just as much at them as it is you, but if you want them to stand for you, it starts with you standing for them.
Be a rose that awaits the cultivation of the one who has been looking for it. Then and only then will you bloom the way you’ve been designed to… and the fragrance you offer will be sweet.