Growing up I always had a fascination with the cactus plant. I would stare at pictures of it in textbooks, wondering what it felt like. There were times I would find myself at the register, checking out at CVS and felt the cacti sitting to the left of the register calling out to me. For years I had a desire to purchase one, but I always ended up listening to what people said about cacti: that they weren’t “pretty” plants.
Recently I turned 30. Since then, I have gained a renewed, child-like love for nature. My love for the Earth and all its beauty has never been this strong. I also gained a desire to care for a garden and nurture a plant baby. Before I embark on my journey of having a garden, I think it is best that I begin with becoming a plant mommy.
My first plant baby will have a spiritual meaning. 2020 has been, well, for lack of better phrase, something else. However, I thank God because He has got my attention. Him and I have a relationship I never thought possible. My walk with God this year has been amazing, and I am grateful for this journey with Him.
Becoming a plant mommy is symbolic for me. Just as the Lord created me and cares for me, he created all the plants, too. I believe we can find our purpose by studying the things he created so perfectly.
In the beginning, God said let there be light, and ever since then, the sun has shone in the sky. God also created the animals and plants, and to this day, they keep thriving.
In Lamentations 3:22-23 GNT we are reminded, “The Lord’s unfailing love and mercy still continue, Fresh as the morning, as sure as the sunrise.” Having a plant baby will be a constant reminder of God’s love for me and how I am to be who He called me to be.
I thought about nurturing many different plants, but I am choosing to start with nurturing the one I feel most called to in this season of my life. Regardless of the critics, I believe I am called to be like cacti in this season, and for that reason, my first plant baby will be a cactus. I shared this thought with some friends. Most quickly frowned upon my decision but were anxious to hear my reasoning. Instead of just sharing it with them, I want to share it with all my Rising Family, as well as why I feel God has called some of us to be like a cactus.
Cacti are one of the strongest plants created: they are long suffering and tough. They have figured out a way to not only survive but thrive in the some of the harshest conditions: dry barren deserts. In school, science taught us plants need water, sunlight and oftentimes shade to survive. So, how is it that this plant can thrive in the desert with little water and shade in sight?
Check out the excerpt from The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay:
If God would choose a plant to represent Him, I think He would choose of all plants the cactus. The cactus has all the blessings He tried, but mostly failed, to give to man.
It has humility, but it is not submissive. It grows where no other plant will grow. It does not complain when the sun bakes it, or the wind tears it from the cliff or drowns it in the dry sand of the desert or when it is thirsty.
When the rain comes, it stores water for the hard times to come. In good times and in bad it will still flower. It protects itself against danger, but it harasses no other plant. It adapts perfectly to almost any environment. It has patience and enjoys solitude.
The cactus has properties that heal the wounds of men and from it comes potions that can make man touch the face of God or stare into the mouth of hell.
It is the plant of patience and solitude, love and madness, ugliness and beauty, toughness and gentleness.
Cacti are resilient. God gives his toughest battle to the strongest individuals, and boy, my 2020 has been filled with behind-the-scenes battles that could, at times, give King David a run for his money.
It is said that when someone gifts you a cactus plant, they believe that you are a strong fighter and survivor. In the desert, some plants droop, shrivel up, or die after being exposed to prolonged heat, but not the cactus. It stands tall and often produces flowers in sweltering conditions. After fighting tough battles and witnessing you are resilient despite what you have been through, oftentimes, the plant gift giver realizes the cactus is the most suitable gift.
In the wild, Cacti can grow to be 70 feet tall and live for hundreds of years. That’s pretty impressive for a plant that rarely sees rain. The oldest recorded Cactus lived to be 300 years old.
Deserts are the driest places on the planet but the quick-thinking cactus takes advantage of the early morning dew. Dew collects on the spines of the cactus, which turns into water and then drops to the ground. The short cactus roots slurp up its goodness and nourish the plants, allowing it to not only stay alive, but thrive. Not only do the spines help cacti get water, but it also protects it from predators.
Aside from its spines collecting dew as a means to get water, did you know that cacti will grow temporary roots in a matter of 2 hours to collect water on the top of the ground… in the off chance there is rain?
Wait, what? 🤯 Yes! They grow temporary roots just to collect water on the top of the ground, and then those roots shrivel up and die after serving their purpose of providing water to the cactus.
Remember how I learned in science class that plants also need shade? Well, where in the world will cacti find shade in the desert, preventing them from drying out? The answer lies in the same thing that helps it get water: its spines! A single spine seems insignificant, but cacti have thousands, and together the spines provide the shade needed to ensure its survival.
Just as God gave a cactus everything it needs to survive and thrive; we have everything inside of us to be who we were called to be. We all have a purpose in life.
For some, it is to be like a rose or sunflower, while others are called to be a cactus. Neither of those plants would do well in each other’s environment, but when in the place and position God designed it to be, these plants thrive.
Walk in your purpose and “thrive like cacti in the desert” is a quote from my book of poetry, prose and affirmations, RISE.
Help me welcome my plant babies to their new home.