July 2017
Things I Learned From the Garden

Just about a week ago, my family and I went on a road trip to several places that we have always wanted to visit together. We were able to see many cities and different sites as we made our way up the East Coast with our last stop being Niagara Falls in Buffalo New York. I was amazed that one of the things I remember and enjoyed the most was the beautiful flowers. It seemed like everywhere we went, the flowers and gardens just really stood out to me. In the past, I would only give a casual nod to their presence. From the Biltmore Estate to the flowers surrounding Niagara Falls, the natural beauty that God has created is so fantastic.

Since we have been back from the trip, I can’t seem to get the beautiful flowers out of my mind and I am reminded of something the Lord spoke to me several months ago when I was praying about the women’s ministry in our church. The Spirit told me to do everything with a purpose. I know without a doubt that the Lord does not want me to spin my wheels and just do things to be doing them. He said every event needs to benefit and help encourage others. It is awesome that since the Lord spoke to me about this, I am learning that every flower in a garden has a different meaning and a different purpose.

I knew that when I returned from the road trip, planning a couple of events for the Women of Authority at Azalea City Church of God was a must, but what should we do? Then it hit me: Let’s create a Prayer Garden where ladies can come and enjoy the beauty of the garden and spend precious time with God. I came across some facts that Julia Bettencourt posted on her website that confirmed my decision about the garden. These are some of my findings:

Aster – Contentment

One of the meanings associated with the aster flower is contentment. I kind of like that. They are simple yet pretty flowers and they do give me that sense of contentment. Those words in Philippians come to mind:

Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. Philippians 4:11

Contentment sure is a nice place to be in our lives. Isn’t it? No matter what the circumstances we have that ease of satisfaction.

Larkspur Flower – Beautiful Spirit

The Larkspur is a pretty flower. I’ve mostly seen them in purple but they can be other colors as well. One of the meanings associated with the Larkspur is a “beautiful spirit”. Wow. That’s something to strive for. I’ve always loved that verse in 1 Peter where it is talking about a “meek and quiet spirit”. Now that is a “beautiful” spirit for a Christian lady.

But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. 1 Peter 3:4

One thing I read about the Larkspur is that some of them have become endangered and that you don’t find as many anymore except for those grown specifically for flower arranging. Kind of like those “meek and quiet spirit” ladies. There doesn’t seem to be an abundance of them either.

Black Eyed Susan – Encouragement

Julia states that Black Eyed Susans are so bright and striking that I think they normally contrast everything around them. The meaning of the Black Eyed Susan is encouragement. I sure love to be around encouraging people. Don’t you? People that give you that special word you need just at that moment or are there to cheer you on in whatever you are doing at the time. Those bright people definitely contrast with those around them.

Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do. 1 Thessalonians 5:11 

Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. Ephesians 4:29

Azalea Flower – Take Care of Yourself

As I was studying the meanings and purposes of different flowers, I knew that I had to investigate the Azalea flower since my church is Azalea City Church of God.

In China, the azalea flower is thought to be a strong symbol of womanhood. In other parts of the world they are thought to represent passion and fragility; however, these flowers are best known for their expression of “take care of yourself.” These flowers are frequently given as gifts to pass along the wish that the recipient be good to himself or herself –especially during illness or trying times. As I read this, it jumped off the page to me and reminded me that as women we don’t take time to take care of ourselves. We might get our nails done, but do we take care of our complete selves? There are so many things to manage in a day that something always seems to go lacking.

Thank you Lord for reminding me through flowers to be content, have a beautiful spirit, to encourage others and take care of myself. Lord, help me to shine forth with beauty the way you created me to be.



Mollie along with her husband, Pastor Brett Jarriel, are senior pastors of the Azalea City Church of God in Valdosta, Georgia. Mollie serves as the Women’s Ministries Director of her church as well as a member of the South Georgia Women’s Discipleship Board. The Jarriels’ have three children: Aaron and daughter-in- law, Caitlin, Youth Pastors at ACCOG, Blaire and Chloe.