By: Darrelyn L. Tutt

Clara Mae was an elderly acquaintance of ours who resided in the small community of southern Minnesota where we once lived. While my knowledge of her was limited, friends touted her as a "natural" when it came to gardening and labeled her an experienced green-thumb. It wasn't uncommon to see her laboring in the garden and on her knees pulling weeds, tending to plant life and immersed in the world of seed and soil.
Strangely, Clara Mae had never been exposed to poison-ivy in all her years of gardening and, when she saw a large patch of the lovely orange and red three colored leaves, she couldn't resist picking them as an adornment for her vase on the kitchen table.
Clara Mae, not surprisingly, broke out in a case of severe poison-ivy that required not only a trip to the emergency room but a lengthy hospital stay.
It took some time for her to make a full recovery.
It was altogether strange to me that an elderly woman labeled a "green thumb" should not have knowledge of poison-ivy.
 It still baffles me and makes me scratch my head (small attempt at a pun.)
And then I consider my own life in a different arena:
I have walked closely and experienced a remarkable intimacy with the Lord for almost twenty years of my life. My investment in God's word has been heavy and weighty, contributing a growing stature to my faith and spiritual development. Surely, after all this time, I should know and be familiar with pockets of temptation that should be refused and stayed away from. Surely I should know that sin is a "poison-ivy" that is not to be picked and gathered for my kitchen table.
But still I have.
I must confess that I have not always stayed away from appealing, poisonous plants as I ought. Sometimes in my ignorance, flesh, or sin's subtlety, I am like Clara Mae; captivated by something new and appealing, and deceived by internal desires that drive me. I wind up in the spiritual emergency room called confession, pleading with God to forgive my foolish gathering of a "sinful bouquet" and wishing none had witnessed my unwise pickings.
Hmmm ...
Sometimes I think that pride is bigger than the sinful bouquet itself and it must be delivered a holy blow or it will not die.
Cleansing comes on the heels of confession and not before, and at some point the  "sinful gatherings" must be recognized for what they are and be brought in before the Lord.
Healing begins the moment that a contrite confession is submitted to God.
This amazing and simple assertion is one worth living and dying for.
Take it to the grave,
It will outlast all bouquets.
The great apostle Paul also identifies freely with man's sinful dilemma:
"I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man; but I see another law in my members warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh, the law of sin."
Romans 7:21-25
We all have "sinful bouquets" in our lives that require tending and attention.
We all have confessions that must be made and cleansing that must be received.
The "ivy" called sin has no positive effects and it will hinder and destroy the intimacy and communion Christ longs for you to experience.
Get rid of sin.
Christ wields the power to beautifully cleanse and restore you.
"If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."
1 John 1:9