Quick botany lesson for you about weeds and roots.
A weed is defined as “any undesirable or troublesome plant, especially one that grows profusely where it is not wanted.”
A root is defined as “a part of the body of a plant that develops, typically, from the radicle and grows downward into the soil, anchoring the plant and absorbing nutriment and moisture.”
Lesson over. Thanks for not falling asleep on me.
So, my grandma loves flowers. I’m convinced that she can make anything grow, and as a result, there are a lot of flower beds around her house to weed.
[Enter Cardoza-Cardoza Gardening Service]
My Grandpa wasn’t afraid to get dirty and he shared that with me. If the work involved dirt or mud, you can bet we’d be getting our hands dirty. Every time we spent time together was an opportunity to teach me something – knowingly or not. One lesson that my grandpa always remembered to remind me when pulling weeds was to make sure you get the roots. “If you don’t get the roots, they’ll just grow back again,” He’d say to me. I’ve found this to be a very important lesson throughout my life.
Ephesians 4:22-32 (NIV)
22 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
25 Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body. 26 “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 and do not give the devil a foothold. 28 Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need.
29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
Since joining Mercy Ships, I’ve been searching to find freedom for my life. You can say that I’m trying to remove the weeds from my life and all the way to the root – so they don’t grow back. To take off the masks that I walk around with, hiding the ‘me’ that I’m afraid others will not like. I’ve been searching for identity and purpose. Throughout the last five months, I’ve been a patient onboard, and some of the most life-saving medical treatment onboard the Africa Mercy has come from the local patients who have shown me what freedom really looks like.
In one of my last posts I mentioned a patient named Rovel. He had been on the ship since early November. I’m happy to say that he got to go home on Sunday. Rovel came to the ship with his face covered, not wanting to expose his cheek where Noma had made a hole through it. He left as one of the most joy-filled boys I have ever met.
Last Thursday night, after receiving the news that he’d get to leave on Sunday, he ran and jumped into my arms when he saw me walking down the hallway on our Deck 3 medical floor. Then he grabbed the closest translator and asked him tell me that he’d get to leave home on Sunday. He was so excited. I was filled with joy for him. We spent that evening together on the dock at a dock worship service for our local day crew. When the dock service was over, we walked up to deck 7 with one other patient and danced around the deck 7 floor. It was a memory that I’ll store in my heart and cherish forever. This young guy has found dignity in his life, and hope for a better future. Nothing excites me more than this. This is freedom I can learn a lot from.
In the midst of the joy, I’m still faced with the reality of my life. I’ve been finding victories throughout all areas of my life since I’ve been onboard. I hope to share those with you over the next few months. Each victory has been challenging, but mostly because I’m not wanting to settle with chopping off the top of the weed, I’m wanting to pull the entire root out. To be just as honest, God doesn’t want us to just be fixed of our problems either, He wants us to be healed. Don’t get me wrong, as much as I use the word ‘I’ in this post, I absolutely could not be finding healing without God, prayer, community, confession, Love, and truth.
Lessons learned the hard way have a lifelong affect. I’m grateful I could get my hands dirty with my Grandpa to learn this lesson. If you have weeds in your life, I encourage you to not stop unless you get the roots – regardless of how much dirt you get under your nails.