Our JOYsister friend Debby is an avid gardener.  I have learned so much from her over the years and she often shares the fruits of her labor for which we are so grateful.  She also has a beautiful flower garden.  She had an experience one year in her garden that doesn't just teach a powerful lesson about gardening, but also about how all things can be redeemed with work and effort.  Thank you Debby for sharing this powerful story.

The Parable of the Calla and the Canna-

My neighbor offered me some “calla lilies- just like the ones you have.” She said her friend has a lot of extras and the neighbor knows how much I love flowers! 

About a week later, they arrived and I planted them in several spots in my front flowerbed. I LOVE calla lilies because they remind me of my former home. Over the next month or so, the leaves began to grow and I thought, “They don’t look like my calla lilies…????”  But I kept them and they grew among my callas.  

When tall, red blossoms bloomed, I knew right then that they were NOT calla lilies. My mom called them “canna.” They were pretty and we watched them grow very big. Over the next few months, we found that the canna lilies would send shoots along the flowerbed. More and more shoots began to sprout, growing under the ground and spreading very quickly.  

Soon, my poor calla lilies were being pushed out and even shoots popped up outside of the flowerbed, in my lush green grass.  In an effort to stop the intruders, we clipped off the stalk at the ground level, but it was soon apparent that the bulbs and roots didn’t die. We couldn’t easily pull them up because the roots were already deep and strong, so I left them, half heartedly chopping them off as they appeared.

Today, I decided it was “the day” to get rid of these invaders once and for all~ We were weeding the front flowerbed and I found them ALL OVER- behind my jasmine vine, my lavender bush, and all throughout the calla lilies. 

It was hard work ridding myself of the cannas. I had to use a huge shovel and dig about 1 foot down only to find that they had spread throughout the whole flower bed. Some of my calla lilies were damaged beyond repair as I worked to dig up the huge bulbs. One was so large, that it weighed 5 pounds and was the size of a football with the roots attached. It took me several hours of back breaking, painful work to get rid of “most” of them…. You know what that means—they WILL be back~!  I know the hidden ones will love the new room I just gave them. 

Lessons from the garden: 
My calla lilies are white and pure.  My canna are red. Just like sin. I love the symbolism of the garden.  If you let friends persuade you, or you just half heartedly “remove” sin from your life, it tends to multiply.  Eventually it can choke out the goodness in your life, if you let it. It’s hard to get rid of and the scars are still there. It takes effort that is sometimes painful and back breaking to rid yourself of the “bad” to save the “good.”  

If you take the time to prepare your garden, giving it a proper balance and mixture of soil and amendments,  not too sandy and not too full of clay, it will nourish the plants and you will reap the blessings of a great harvest.  Our lives are like that. If there is no balance in our activities, we cannot grow. Too much of a good thing like nutrients, can poison the plants.  Too many “good activities” leave us little time to feel the whisperings from Heaven and grow.

Be careful of what well meaning friends offer you. 

Constant weeding is crucial for the success of a garden. Springing up from “no where” the weed seeds and plants just seem to appear.  Weeds take up valuable nutrients, water, and choke out the healthy plants.  If we don’t continuously weed our gardens, they won’t grow.  In our lives, we need to weed out the bad and distracting things, so we can grow. It isn’t fun and it takes effort, but we will have a better harvest. 



  1. this is such a vivid picture of the effort is sometimes takes to clean up our lives and hearts. {also, calla lilies are beautiful!!}


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