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My friends are all very much into plants right now. One of my closest friends has over 60 plants, and she remembers all their names! They love researching the needs of each plant, knowing the names of them, and taking care of them. I’ve started to dabble in the new hobby of being a plant mom, although I’m nowhere near 50, I am proud to own three thriving plants (Theodosia, Gomer, and Rainy, in case you were the slightest bit interested in their names).

I was in a local plant store in my town and I was asking a worker about some plants and seeing how much maintenance they required, how much effort and energy I was going to have to put in to take care of them. He responded with, “They don’t take much, just put them in a spot where they will be closest to the sun, where they will get full coverage in light.” I thought about his words and how similar they sounded to what our Heavenly Father says. “Just stay close to My Son.” Then I read Psalm 92.

“The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon; planted in the house of the LORD, they will flourish in the courts of our God. They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green, proclaiming, 'The LORD is upright; he is my Rock, and there is no wickedness in him.'” (Verses 12-15) I began to ponder on the thought of God as our Caregiver. As we tend to our plants, fulfilling their needs, and gaining affection for them, we become their caregiver. As intentional as we are with the care of our plants, God is more towards us! As our Caregiver, He tends to every need, personally satisfying each one. As our Gardener (John 15) He protects and prunes us, giving us opportunity for the most growth.

In Romans chapter 11, Paul talks about grafting and ingrafted branches. (Verses 17-24) Although he is talking about other things than the Lord's care for us, the grafting process is a beautiful example. In this process, the gardener takes one plant and joins it to another, making the plant grow as one. This new plant is strengthened through this process, as well as better protected from diseases. I can’t help but smile when I realize that our Caregiver grafts us to His True Vine. He strengthens us through each step, and plans for our care in the next season.

I keep thinking about what the worker at the plant store told me, that the key to my plants success would be how close they were to the sun. As long as they were in full coverage of light, their needs would be met, and they would steadily grow. Could this possibly be also our way to an endurance of faith, normalcy with the Father, and the process of trust? As I continue to care for my plants, I notice that in each season there is opportunity for growth. Perhaps I missed that point of view in my life all this time. If He is my Gardener, and He grafts me in union with Him, He will take me to victory, freedom, relation, and growth. Here’s to staying close to the Son.

– Mackenzie Thompson, Ten2 2020 Participant & Storyteller

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