By J. Vetter,
Remember when an exciting story gripped your attention and you could barely put the book down? Cooperating with the Holy Spirit is so similar. We don’t always know how an adventure will turn out; but with each step, there is greater anticipation of something beautiful developing. A landscaping venture became that story for me!
It started with the decision to tear out our struggling honeysuckle vine, which covered an arbor in our backyard. This vine had served faithfully the seventeen years we had lived in our home and, no doubt, many years before. It produced a few, sweet-smelling flowers every year; but I had to face the truth—it was weary and ready to call it quits.
I had no clue how huge the main root would be. My husband began and continued to dig through the grass for over four feet to get to the end. As he followed the root’s path, my mind began to follow another path—roots spoken of in the Bible. The first thought that came to mind was that we are to be rooted and grounded in Christ’s love (Ephesians 3:17). And the longer we walk in His love, the deeper our roots are established. His love can travel along that root, even during times of drought or pain, revealing the goodness of God, giving us hope that all will work out.
However, another root is spoken of in scripture, mentioned in Hebrews 12:15–the harmful root of bitterness. As I thought about each of those two roots, I thought about how each one can be difficult to pull out when deeply rooted, which would be good in the case of love but not good in the case of bitterness.
Having dug up the long root, my husband held it up next to him, and I took a picture of it. Spiritually, this represented to me any root of bitterness being removed from our family.
End of story, I thought! Not yet!
A few days later, our adult grandson, Micah, brought us a Mimosa tree, which had been given to him by a family he was helping to get ready to move. It was in a large pot, and he wanted to plant it in our yard. I was slow to catch on to the story that God was wanting to write, and I said, no. I didn’t want to dig up the yard, because my belief was that the tree might not even make it.
Then I went online and looked up Mimosa trees. I read that they have sweet-smelling flowers that attract butterflies. I discovered that they were expensive to buy. My heart immediately grasped the new plan, and I was filled with joy. We were to plant it where the old honeysuckle vine had been removed. Micah dug around the tree, planted lantana, and encircled it with white rock. At first, it looked weak and spindly, but it survived the extremely cold winter and is now flourishing.
To me, this represented replacing the bitter with the sweet in our family. I’m waiting for the blossoms and butterflies; but, by faith, I see them. And I see the finished beauty of a family that is strongly rooted and grounded in God’s love!