Why the cactus?

Cacti have always been an intriguing plant to me. I remember being scared of them, as a kid, because I didn't want too close for fear of getting poked. The first time I ever saw a cactus was in an animated cartoon. It wasn't pretty and it resembled a giant pole with two arms sticking out. Besides that, they grew in one of the most barren and blah places on the planet - the desert. 

Later in life, I would learn that cacti can be quite beautiful. Their cousin, the succulent, were equally beautiful and I have included them in my home decor. The neutral palette goes so well with my calm decor. My parents have two flowering cacti in their home and I look forward to the blooms each year. 

You will notice that cacti and succulents appear often in the graphics that appear on my blog. There is very good reason. While there isn't an outright mention of them in the Bible (although you will find a couple of translations include the word cactus - ex. The Message includes cactus in Psalm 63), the cactus provides some beautiful symbolism. 

As we know, in our modern day culture, many plants have meaning. For example, yellow roses are a sign of friendship. Red roses are what are given to your love. Lilies are often used at funerals. While all of these do not necessary have a Biblical foundation, I love that the things God created are all with purpose. Whether it is for nutrients, healing or beauty. They all serve a purpose because the God we serve is filled with purpose. We get to read all about it in Genesis 1 when He created the universe. 

What do we know about cacti? Well, they are strong and can survive in harsh conditions. The desert has some harsh climate and cacti, being indigenous to this climate, thrive there. Cacti also don't need much watering. Both succulents and cacti have been some of the hardest plants for me to kill! I write this with tongue in cheek because to know me is to know that I cannot keep a plant alive. Either because I forget to water it or I just don't know what to do with it nor, take the time to figure it out. But these stubborn cacti refuse to go. 

Cacti are also beautiful. There are so many different kinds! Not just the two armed ones that are depicted in cartoons and one of my favorite fast food taco places. There are some that produce stunning blooms and interesting shapes. In the midst of the thorns, or spines, these colorful blooms abound on some species of cacti. And when we you group different shapes and sizes of cacti, you can create some beautiful landscape and arrangements. 

Strong. Resilient. Beautiful. Three words that sum up cacti and the succulent plant. 

This is why I love them so much and symbolism they bring. These three words are ones that stir up some thoughts in me. Over the years, I have had an internal battle against myself and the lies the enemy has wanted me to believe. Growing up, I was teased because of my size and my hair. The words that were thrown at me, I internalized. Outwardly, I put on the persona of "sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never hurt me". But deep inside there was a verbal war waging. This carried with me into adulthood as I would make decisions such as finding a job, going back to school, finding a church, going on a mission trip, moving to different parts of the world and doing things out of my comfort zone. 

It wasn't until I soaked in the words GOD called me that the internal battle finally subsided. Because when I decided the enemy has no claim on who I am and whose I am, the strength, resiliency and beauty that God placed over me, helped me to claim and embrace how He felt about me. He says that I am fearfully and wonderfully made. (Psalm 139:14). In fact, the entirety of Psalm 139 is one that I cling to. David wrote those words for him and, because he was a sinning human and I am too, I read his words as a prayer for me too. God loves me so much that He sent Jesus for me too. (John 3:16) 

Because of Him, I am a new creation. (2 Corinthians 5:17) I am not condemned. (Romans 8:1) I am HIS child. (1 John 3:1)

These are the truths I cling to. Because I am his creation, not condemned and HIS child, I relate so well to that strong, resilient and beautiful cactus. 

This is why you will see an over abundance of this beautiful plant on my blog and many of my publications, etc. 

Is there a plant or other creation that God has given you as symbolism of His abundant love for you?


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