Since I was a little girl, Gardenias have had a special place in my heart.
One of my neighbors used to have a bush by the road, and sometimes at night, I would walk down and pick a couple. I blame this compulsive behavior on my mother, because I remember as a little girl, seeing her constantly sneak blooms off of Gardenia plants no matter where she saw them. Her obsession was so bad, she would even have my dad stop the car for her sometimes…so she could run out and grab a fragrant bloom. I can still see her long fingers holding it as though it was a treasure. I remember watching her bury her nose in the blossom and how it would make her smile.
My Maw Maw, my dad’s mother, had huge Gardenia bush by her front door she’d grown from a cutting she’d taken off a shrub in Florida. Her and my Paw Paw loved to drive down south to visit relatives there. It had enormous blooms, and the fragrance was intoxicating. Oh how she babied that evergreen, as her prized possession, and would cover it if there was any chance of a frost. My Maw Maw has gone onto be with the Lord, but, before she did, I took a cutting from her bush, rooted it, and ended up planting it right beside my front door too. It is close to 6′ tall now.
One time in a meeting, a man came up to me and said he had a word for me. In the word, he told me God called me a flower, and he was listening for the specific flower, and then he said…you are His “Gardenia Girl.” That was one of those kinds of words that was so incredibly specific, and precious, you knew it was God; it was rooted deeply in my identity. He described me like the flowers, tender, fragrant blooms that would bruise easily, so I must be handled with care. Since I studied horticulture, one thing I do know about Gardenia bushes though, is in the right semi tropical environment, they are a hardy ever green plant.
When I first began to paint for the Lord, He encouraged me through that same rooted gardenia bush right outside the window where I would paint. I know that sounds weird…but He did. He talked to me about the buds that were forming. The first day I painted He told me to look out the window, and it was covered with opened blooms. And my gardenia bush that year had more than a normal amount of blooms. I was fascinated with them…and would weep as I photographed them after the rain, when they were heavy with drops…or when they were drooping because they needed rain. God was ministering to me through them.
This year, I was out of town a couple of weeks, during the winter, and we had a heavy freeze. I realized in the spring, I had lost a lot of my bush. I kept waiting for in the spring for the blooms to come, but late in the season, I only found one deformed bloom, when usually the bush would be covered. I was doing some yard work, when I found it, and I saw that it would need a good cutting back for it to look good and bloom next year.
Before I left to minister recently, I cut off some of the more straggly branches, but had the thought, it is so bad, I need to get out the hedger and really take it down low. It is scary to just chop on something that you have babied for so many years, especially if it has sentimental value.
As I was gathering up the couple of cuttings, I had the thought. I am going to root these and make some more bushes. I mean, that is how I got this bush to start with. It was such a powerful feeling, the thought of ALL the blooms I would have to enjoy. One of my favorite things I studied in horticulture, was the ways of propagation; not just seeds, but tubers, bulbs, grafting, tissue culturing…etc. So, amazing how God created everything to reproduce. So, I put these cuttings in a vase with some ivy vines, and forgot about them, when I got home, I had the thought to change the water, and low and behold, there were already roots on them! I was so excited, gasped, and then God spoke:
“This is what is next. It is time to reproduce.”
In 1996 or so, I saw an art school in my quiet time. I walked through it, and drew it. The next day, I went to church and a visiting evangelist said, some of you are having visions and you have even drawn it. I was like…wow!!! Then he said. “And God wants you to know it is going to happen. That was almost 20 yrs ago.
I thought it was interesting, because I also got this word from a sister, before I left to minister, before I saw the roots on the cuttings:
“I hear ‘change of venue’, new creativity full of lavished love from the Father’s heart. A new room opened up to you: this room with white clothed tables full of beautiful colored jewels and different creative mediums for you to take and enjoy. No limit to the creative beauty. There’s such a refreshing breeze blowing through, that the white cloths on the tables are gently fluttering in the breeze”
And just the other day, I had a vision. I saw a fisherman in a river, and then I was looking from His view, and under the water were all these butterflies. At the meeting where I had ministered, Jason Upton talked about learning to breathe under water, because God is like an all consuming ocean. Since I have been ministering, I often see people with butterfly wings on in the spirit and that is how I know they are artists. I think the vision was more confirmation that it is time to start a river, like the evangelist, (or fisherman) told me…and reproduce.
It says in the word, that God prunes the unfruitful, but He also prunes the fruitful…to make them even more fruitful. I started to realize, that maybe He even uses those clippings…and roots them…to make even more new fruitful plants.
Praying now to know where and how He wants me to do this…
I have been looking at a location for some time. So, just waiting for a door to open…
I know My Jesus will open the door for me and provide all I need.
He is a gentleman, so He likes to pay for everything, and open doors for his Bride,
…that is how I will know it is Him.