Sunday, July 21, 2013

Becky Lynn Daylily: A Picture of God's Restorative Process

This is a true story, a story of hope and a story of how our loving God restores what the devil has taken. It is a story about my two adult daughters that have been estranged from me for far too long. It is a story about love.

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NOTE from October 22, 2014: See Becky Lynn Daylily: A Sequel for a follow-up article.
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Daylily 'Becky Lynn'

This daylily is named 'Becky Lynn'; the flower was named several years before my second daughter was born. Her married name is Becky Lynn Hanusa. As caretaker of the Gethsemane Prayer Garden, I planted seven Becky Lynn's in the hope and promise of God's restoration process. Sometimes all you can do is hope and pray, and that is the case with me.

My first daughter's name is Laurel; I named her after the soft-pink Mountain Laurel, the state flower of Pennsylvania. On many occasions I told young Laurel how that plant is the prettiest flower in the whole wide world. Of course there are many gorgeous flowers in the world and beauty is in the eye of the beholder. But that is how she was to me when she was born, the prettiest little girl in the whole wide world. For some reason, I have not been able to locate a Mountain Laurel to plant in that garden – possibly there continues to be a spiritual blockage that is yet unresolved. [See update from 09-26-2013: Mountain Laurel: Planting with care].

Mountain Laurel Kalmia latifolia from

Laurel's married name is Laurel Babcock and I have not seen her in years. The devil stole what was rightfully ours and I played into his hand.

My hope and my confidence is that what the locusts have eaten, the Lord will restore. I certainly forgive my daughters for their part in choosing to be distant. Many things were said and done over the years; it is extremely difficult for young tender ears to understand it all. Even as adults, it can be most challenging to reconcile the messages of love that parents can portray with messages of anger and bitterness. Divorce is such a hard thing on everyone, but God did not want it that way.

Will today be the day that the process begins turning around? I hope so. If not, life still goes on.

I have also pondered how I will react when we first meet again. Will I cry? I don't know, although I can easily do so at emotional settings. I am so very confident about God's restorative process that I may not cry. It might even be today.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Sea Holly: You Will Recognize Them By Their Fruit

The Sea Holly (Eryngium planum) is an amazingly showy thistle-like plant – adorned with steel-blue stems and petals from June to September, this 30" tall plant can quickly become a main conversation piece in most any garden. It is truly stunning to look at; in a different sense, it is also stunning to touch.

Jesus compared the thistle to a false prophet in his Sermon on the Mount. I find that the Sea Holly with its thistle-like appearance is an excellent example of this metaphor:
15 "Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.
16 You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?
17 So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit.
18 A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit.
19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.
20 Thus you will recognize them by their fruits." (Matthew 7:15-20 ESV)

This brilliant blue color is rarely found in the landscape; that is why I purchased them for the Gethsemane Prayer Garden. They are just like false prophets, for deception is one of their the main characteristics.

Look closely at the fruit!

This fruit must be very carefully touched. All over the plant are very sharp needles that have only one purpose: to hurt. Even the deer stay away all year long, for this "tree" bears bad fruit.

Adjacent to the Sea Holly in the prayer garden is a beech tree which can be seen with its soft fur-covered nuts. These are good fruit for they come from a good tree. I believe Jesus would have called the Sea Holly "a bad tree" because it bears bad fruit.

Please allow me to ask a question: "According to the above Bible text, how do you recognize a false prophet?" I must admit that the answer to that question, based on these verses from Matthew, broadened my understanding of what a false prophet is. Inwardly they are like ravenous wolves; outwardly they produce bad fruit.

But also understand the implications: if a child is not showing evidence of being good fruit, that does not mean that either the child or the parent is going to be thrown in the fire. The factor of time also plays a part as does the power of prayer and the power of appropriate parenting. The value of the fruit may turn out good as it moves towards maturity.