Shaping Roses -
This title may seem like it does not need explanation, but since it means much more to me than I would assume it would to just about anyone else I feel the need to explain the long process that went into picking it. Although I actually thought of the title within five minutes after coming up with the idea to start a blog, the story behind it begins about two years ago - possibly long before that.
First, the word "shaping" is just another word for pruning in this case. I didn't like the sound of "Pruning Roses" and thought that "Shaping Roses" had a nice ring.
"Pruning roses has two key benefits: it keeps your plants healthy and improves their overall appearance."
Two years ago on Valentine's, my boyfriend gave me a rose bush. That's right. He didn't give me a dozen longed-stemmed roses with one fake one claiming to love me till the last rose dies. No - he doesn't buy into the cliche things like that. Gifts from him come from the heart, and he doesn't like to borrow from someone else's. So, instead of buying me a bouquet of roses that would die within ten days he decided to give me something that would last for years, if proper care was given. He meant it to be a symbol of our budding relationship, and it has been. The rose bush has been tended by me for the past two years (it lives under my bedroom window) and has grown some beautiful, white roses. That's the second surprise. The roses are white, not red. Red may be the classic symbol of love, but white is the symbol for purity and a good relationship is one that is built on a foundation of pure, Christ-like love. Our relationship, meanwhile, has grown into the likeness of a well-tended rose bush.
The tricky thing about roses is their fickleness. Even the best bushes can die if the gardener fails to water the plant or remove the dead branches after the winter, otherwise known as pruning. Pruning is probably the most challenging feat handed to a beginner or even an advanced gardener. You are told that you are supposed to go to your beloved rose bush, right before spring, and hack away with sharp clippers until the bush doesn't look remotely like a bush. In fact, although the gardener is cutting away the dead branches, the parts that are left look the unhealthiest of all! The first time I pruned my bush I felt sure I had killed it. But in a few months I had beautiful roses again.
So how does this have anything to do with your life or my life? Take a look at these verses:
"I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn't produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more." (John 15: 1-2, NKJV)
The rose bush my boyfriend gave me was a great symbol of our relationship, but it was more than that. The bush is a symbol of my life, and yours. We are all rose bushes. With proper care we produce beautiful flowers that bring joy to people and keep nature turning in the right direction. We all have thorns that can either serve us by protecting us, or hurt us by hurting the ones who are trying to care for us. And we all need to be pruned by our gardener. We need to constantly assess what branches of our lives are producing fruit, or roses. If we have branches that are only harming us, and therefore the whole body of Christ, we need to prune those off...even if the process is scary and leave us feeling a little unsure. We also need to be sure that the clippers aren't in our hands, but in the hands of the Master Gardener. After all, He's the one who knows exactly how beautiful we can become.
I want to be all that God made me to be. I want to become a spectacular, pure white, fragrance-giving rose bush. And so, this blog will be about my journey of shaping roses.