Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The Flowers in my Garden...

Graduating college in May 2006
It's that time of year again...the time when "Pomp and Circumstance" rings through the air like an ongoing round of "This is the Song That Never Ends..."  I love any opportunity to tickle the ivories though, so I'm not complaining.  I think I just always worry that I'm going to stop playing too soon, or, like last year, that I'll lose my place while glancing up to see where everyone is and have to start improvising on one of the most well-known tunes.  (DH thought I just got bored with it last year and started making stuff up!  LOL:)  This year went off without any improvisational hitches though:)  It's always a blessing to lead worship alongside my husband, and seeing students participate is so encouraging to me, too.  (I have such a passion for seeing children and students learn how to be active participants in leading worship.)  One particular graduating senior read a passage from Ecclesiastes.  Like the aforementioned song, this particular passage is very well known, but it really spoke to me in my particular "season" of life right now...

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8
To everything there is a season,
A time for every purpose under heaven:

A time to be born, and a time to die;
A time to plant, and a time to pluck what is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal;
A time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh;
A time to mourn, and a time to dance
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones;
A time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to gain, and a time to lose;
A time to keep, and a time to throw away
A time to tear, and a time to sew;
A time to keep silence, and a time to speak; 
A time to love, and a time to hate;
A time of war, and a time of peace.

an actual picture of my sad-looking flower bed
If I'm being perfectly transparent, this year has been filled with a lot of hurt.  I've experienced a "changing of seasons" in many ways, and it's not been a very easy transition.  While we certainly have so very much to be easily thankful for, we've experienced some trials that have been much harder to be thankful for.  Yet, through them, God has reminded us that He is in control, and He is working everything out for His ultimate good and glory.  My precious mother reminded me of something last night though.  She said, "God isn't going to bring you to this point to just wither and die."  I immediately thought of my horrible flower bed.  After planting what was said to be one of THE heartiest plants, I succeeded in killing them all (or so me and everyone else thought.)  I told my mother how it all made me think of my sad state of a garden--so dead and hopeless looking, but it was little wonder because the conditions (the extremely strong winds and blazing hot temperatures) had not been kind to it.  If I'm being honest, this year has felt like that, where the conditions in life just weren't too kind.  Friends betray us, plans fail, tragedy strikes, etc.  We get misunderstood by people and deemed useless, and just like each leaf that gets blown away and each bud that gets scorched by the elements, we are left looking less than thriving and feeling less than purposeful.  Our soul feel like its withering away...

And yet, if you were to try to pull up those sad-looking plants that once resembled a lantana, you might find it rather difficult, because their roots have grown deeply into the soil.  That's probably why I've left them in my flowerbed all winter long, knowing that it was going to be a bit of a pain to uproot them.  So, there my dead ugly plants have sat in my flowerbed.

Well, this morning we had a chance of rain, and a cloudy day is perfect for a photo session, so Gabriel and I headed into the front yard for a few photos.  After we finished, I gathered up our props and started heading back inside, only to stop and do a double take at the flower bed.  I literally couldn't believe what was before my eyes: 
My lantanas were blooming!  

There, in the midst of the weeds and the dried and dead looking branches were beautiful flowers bursting forth.  I couldn't help but stare in amazement at realizing the timing of it all.  It felt like God had placed those blooms there just for me, to remind me and to encourage me.  What a kind and loving Father we have!  Just think of all of the elements He had to set in place days and weeks before this day so that those flowers would be in bloom at that particular moment for me to see, knowing I needed a visual of His great Truth that no, He is not going to let me just wither away.

So today, I'm reminded to take root in His love, to persevere through the elements, and to remain faithful to my calling, trusting fully that He can take even the flowers in my garden and make them bloom into something beautiful for His glory...

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