The Day a Houseplant Made Me Cry

I wrote this back in June before I started my blog.  It’s a writing that I keep coming back to and felt the urging to share.

Just when I thought things were going ok and this grief thing was just looming over at the side, it came down on me like a ton of bricks this morning.  Looking back at my week I can see now how it was getting closer and closer without me realizing it.  My anger and frustration had been mounting over the last few days.  I was short with everyone, even my sweet little one-year-old, snapping and raising my voice at the slightest infraction.  My poor daughter kept asking, “Why are you so angry Mommy?” in her four-year-old innocence.  Each of my kids was calling me out and my poor husband was walking on eggshells.  I chalked it up to my “time of the month” and surging hormones and decided to wait for things to pass soon.

I felt the frustration mounting this morning.  My oldest son was trying to pull me into his power struggle but I refused to bite.  I thought once I got him out the door and onto the bus all would be well.  Then my one-year-old, that dear, sweet, chubby-cheeked, curious boy pulled one of my houseplants right out of its pot.  The floodgates opened and the ugly cry began.  My daughter and son stood in disbelief that their mother was crying over a houseplant.  And as I was crying it dawned on me, I really miss my dad.

I bought a couple of houseplants shortly after dad died.  My dad loved growing plants of all varieties, inside and outside the house.  When I was very little my parents had a huge garden in our backyard with corn and tomatoes and strawberries and all kinds of things.  There was a houseplant in every room, ferns, violets, a ficus tree.  Being immersed in his gardening growing up rubbed off on me.  My indoor plants weren’t looking so good so after he passed I went out to buy some new ones so that I could feel close to him and remember him and maybe pass on this love to the next generation.

My new houseplant, that was really more than just a plant, let’s be honest, all of a sudden lay all over my kitchen floor, roots straggling out and soil everywhere.  I don’t know why but in that moment I felt so out of control of my life.  I remembered my dad, lying dead in his hospital bed.  As I scooped up dirt, I thought, nothing is going to bring my dad back now.  I can’t scoop his life back.  Why didn’t he take better care of himself in this life and why did his life need to end this way?

I calmed myself down enough to usher the kids into the living room.  My daughter went into action right away.  She wanted to know how she could help.  At four she already has such a caring and compassionate soul.  Many will know the love of God because of my daughter.  I asked her to watch her brother and then I went to work cleaning up.

As I scooped and swept I realized that grief was going to come hit me out of nowhere, at any moment and I couldn’t stop it.  Everyone was warning me that it would and it was something that I needed to experience and learn.  Instead of fighting it I let the tears continue to come.  I didn’t want to hold them back any longer for fear of the scary, angry lady coming back again.

I’ve said through this process, that I’m realizing more and more will be the rest of my life, that I’m going to give myself the grace and patience and time to get through it.  This was one of those times.  I don’t want to hold anything back or hide it and now I know to better listen to my anger as a sign.  I always heard that anger was a sign of grief, but I had just assumed that it meant anger towards the loved one or the way in which they died.  Apparently, it comes and disguises itself as normal everyday aggression as well.

Another thing about this process is I don’t want to hide it from my kids.  I decided in the days after dad’s death that I had a choice to make, to try and protect their childhood innocence and cry behind closed doors, or grieve right beside them, walking and explaining each step together.  My choice years ago to stay at home with my kids was a choice to do life together, and grief is life.  The most loving thing I could do for them was to share my grief because someday I’m going to die and how they see me grieve is going to shape the way they grieve.

When I was done cleaning up I walked into the living room where they were playing.  Tears still welling in my eyes, I explained that I wasn’t crying over the plant, I was crying because I missed their Pappy.  My daughter asked for clarification again, “Pappy will be in heaven forever now?”

“Yes sweetie, he will be, and I’ll get to see him again when I get to heaven but I sure do miss him a lot now.”

“Mommy, you don’t need to be sad, we love you.”

“I love you too, very much and you make me very happy.  It’s okay for Mommy to be happy and sad at the same time.”

And then we hugged.  A wonderful, strong, loving embrace.  I wanted them to feel safe and secure.  My dad always made me feel that way every time he hugged me.  It’s one of the things I miss most about him right now.  It’s another gift I can give my kids and pass along to the next generation.  Even though my life is out of my control, there are still a few things I can grasp onto that will not waiver.  And my houseplant, it’s sitting pretty, back in its spot on the window ledge, to bring peace, comfort, and beauty for another day.


Shifting Perspective

“Be joyful always, pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:9

Gratefulness changes our perspective.  Our eyes shift their gaze from ourselves onto God.  Suddenly instead of “woe is me,” or “look at me,” no matter what our circumstance we can find God.

In our culture, really our human state, we seek comfort, we hate the tension.  But God exists in our suffering, in our hard times, stressful times.  He is a God of suffering after all.  And right before he entered the suffering, Jesus gave thanks at the Last Supper.  His focus was on God.  From there he could enter deep communion with God in prayer in the garden, bringing his full self, his true self, with all the emotions that burdened him to the heart of God.  In that moment of weakness that he was brave to admit, he drew on the strength that only comes from God (2 Corinthians 12:10).

It was out of this strength he could walk the path of suffering that would lead to death.  Just because he gave thanks and immersed himself in God didn’t mean the suffering would go away.  No, quite the opposite, it made the suffering in its complete form become possible to lead to true transformation.  We must all suffer.  We must all die.  We must all cry out to God, why have you forsaken me?

Because Jesus was focused on God he was living in hope and knowledge that his suffering and death would not end there.  On the other side of death, the stone will be rolled away and new life will emerge.  It is the only way, the way of the cross, the way of the people of the redeemed.

In our own lives, we will all have to walk in the way of the suffering.  What if we were brave to sit in our emotion and in our circumstance and instead of praying them away, give thanks and shift our gaze to him, the one who we will draw our strength from.  Because God isn’t just on the other side of suffering, he is in it with us.  Why do we limit God?  We are not him and we do not know his ways.  God exists in all places, we need merely look for him.  Afterall we’ve been promised, “seek and ye shall find,” because the kingdom of God, where he exists in all of his glory and where we are meant to live is always at hand.

But don’t give thanks in just the suffering, but in the good as well, lest our pride is puffed up and we think all this comes from our hand.  No, even in the good our perspective must shift.  So whether it would be thanks for the little or for the great we know that God is for us and not against us.  I think we take these opportunities to know God, to root ourselves in him, then when the suffering must come we draw on that truth to bravely step forward, to learn more about God and his character and more about ourselves and our identity.

The Gift of Grief?

So it’s been a rough week.  Some of my best friends were packing up their house and heading out of town off on a new adventure.  This will be about the sixth set of friends we’ll be saying goodbye to this year, but probably the hardest for me.  These were the kind of friends who become like family over the years shared together.  As I was over helping them put all their belongings in boxes, laughing and making some last memories, the weight of the anticipated goodbye hung heavy over me.

The day after our “sappy” goodbye, with all the last minute important things said I was a big weepy mess.  I kept wondering what is going on with me?  Sure these were good friends, but why such a basket case Kelly?  Get it together girl.  I couldn’t sleep so I listened to the voice that told me to start writing and start exploring these feelings. That’s when I realized, the subconscious will always work it’s way to the surface, the question is, will you recognize it?

What I finally began to recognize was that my dad is dead and that this will be our first holiday season without him.  Not only that, but the Monday after Thanksgiving marks the one year anniversary of discovering that his cancer had spread and knowing that our lives would not be same.  Sure I was missing my friends, but really, I’m missing my dad.

Grief is an interesting beast to explore.  It’s been unpredictable which I’ve learned from others is the only predictable thing about it.  I never know what will trigger my sadness or how long it will decide to stick around.  But despite that crappiness of it all, I’ve also learned that it can be a gift.

I’ve been learning to let the hole that was left in the wake of my dad’s death be filled with something new.  We all fill the grief hole with something; busyness, food, stuff, isolation, etc. and trust me I’ve filled my hole up with some of those idols too.  But luckily God and I had already started a journey a few months prior to saying goodbye to dad and my hole propelled me deeper onto that journey.

I’ve learned that sometimes we need to lose things in order to make room for something different.  Don’t twist my thinking here, God does not cause deaths to happen on purpose, but he is a God of redemption, he is a God of walking the suffering path, he is a God who rolls away stones so that new life can emerge.  Will we walk the suffering to reach the new?

On this journey, I’ve learned about what means to be hidden in Christ.  The same as being clothed in Christ.  The same as living into my true self.   I miss my dad terribly but I’m also really enjoying getting to live into my new self and getting to live deeper into my identity in God.

Bandages or Scars?

In life, we all deal with broken relationships.  Things get messy and feelings are hurt, sometimes very deeply.  My default way of handling situations like these that are too tricky or uncomfortable is to ignore them. Ignore the person through phone, in person, but still think of the situation over and over again in my mind.   That constant ruminating has never been good for my mind.

The question is why, why ignore when you can deal with things and move on with life? It might actually have a positive outcome that ends with reconciliation and a renewal of the relationship. I guess there’s fear of hurt and pain and reliving with that person directly the hurt that was caused, not just on my part, but their part as well.

Am I willing to take ownership of the parts that I’ve had to play in a relationship going sour? In my head I am, and that’s what I would tell someone else. But in these scenarios I still come out on top, I’m still right and can feed my arrogance and pride. To confess in person to the other party and be open and willing to listen to their side of the story will not always have me feeling great about myself at the end of the day.

It will require a great deal of vulnerability, which is one thing that is hard to handle. Even the act of confessing my hurt is an act of opening those hurt places again and having them exposed, being willing to experience those feelings again. And in hearing the grievances of others might end in new wounds for me. Again, why relive that pain?

But unconfessed all that hurt lies under a band-aid of sorts left there to keep things hidden and safe and out of view. To rip off the band-aid would result in exposure. But I’ve learned enough from physical wounds that sometimes you need to take a bandage off to expose it to the air to really get full healing. Then the scab will come, the body’s natural way of healing (perhaps in this metaphor, the reconciliation that happens after the conversation?) and eventually that even heals and the skin will close over.

There are scars leftover though, at the end of the healing, the wounded will never be the exact same again. It’s those scars that we learn from and remind us what has happened. We can choose to do things differently next time in how we interact. We can choose to ignore them and keep going through life doing the same things over and over again. We can lift those scars and bandages up and play a victim, still staying hidden behind our protection and not risk getting vulnerable again.

How would God have us act? Well, I know that God only exists in the light, not in the darkness. He can only operate his truth there and his healing. I know that after the Fall is when we became self-conscious and unable to share our vulnerability with others and ourself, for fear of hurt and pain and rejection. So as much as I want to stay hidden and ignore I know I cannot.

Because then I wouldn’t be transformed into the person God has created me to be. I stay impotent in the sinful shell. To expose to the light will only cause growth. In this life, we are not meant to stay as we are but are to become a reflection of and an image-bearer of our Creator. I can’t do that by ignoring life but by embracing life and moving forward.

I wonder what it was like for Paul after his conversion? There were a lot of people he had to face and reconcile with, including himself. What did his conversations look like? There was a lot of arrogance and pride on his part that had to be exposed and healed so that he could transform and step into the life God had for him. I can only believe that he did that hard work of reconciliation because of the great work he did for God. There is no way a man full of bandages and unhealed wounds could walk around speaking so powerfully for God. But there is a way for a man full of scars and humbled by his past and the grace that has abounded in his life to be vulnerable and let others in, to share his story so that others might believe and begin their own transformation as well.

So what do I want my life to be marked by, unhealed wounds hidden and covered up, or scars? They’re both hard, but one will lead to new life and more mobility and one will not. Instead of ignoring the next phone call, I need to pick it up. I have a scenario in my head of what I’ll be met with on the other side but I don’t know for sure till I step into the path and see where it leads. This path will tell it’s own story, not one from before. There’s new characters at play, even myself. I’m not the same person walking into this hurt that I was before. Do I trust my temporary hurt and pain more than I trust the God of the universe?



I’m tired this morning but can’t sleep anymore. I feel it in my muscles and with each yawn. My eyes aren’t quite awake yet enough to take in and focus on life yet. My brain has started going though. My brain is always going it seems. So I’ll start writing for the day and see where it takes me.

I described myself as not an ambitious person. As someone who’s content to stay in my lane. When I look at others who achieve these big dreams and goals and go around the world, I look at my own life and think, well that’s just not me. But not everyone is meant to be them and that’s okay. I’m meant to be me.

But why do the desire and longing still exist? A friend spelled out that that desire is actually the ambition. I’ve been calling myself not ambitious but in all actuality, I am quite ambitious. The question comes down to what to do with the ambition, will it cause me to act towards my desire?

I didn’t grow up in a house that talked a lot about ambition. We didn’t give it a name or identify it much. I wasn’t pushed toward action often unless it was a deadline for school. I flew under the radar at school. I did just enough to get by and achieve good grades, but never the top of the class. I wasn’t ever winning any awards.

I remember becoming aware of this in high school right around my junior year I think. My grades had qualified me for National Honor Society. My friends and I all filled out our applications and I just assumed I would be accepted, and then I wasn’t. To get into NHS you needed activities, both in school and out of school, where you were applying yourself and serving and bettering the community. The Vice Principal of the school pulled me into the office and told me my application just missed the mark. How could I apply myself more and push myself? He said I just needed one or two more things. So I did just one or two more things and made it in my senior year.

I played field hockey in high school. I wasn’t very “athletic” growing up. The only other sport I had done was a few years of gymnastics when I was very young. Everyone made the team and my neighbor played so I thought it might be something cool and fun to do. I liked the team atmosphere and being part of the group. But I was never the star. I chalked it up to not being very “athletic” and that it was okay, but when all my friends were being picked to move up to the varsity team by junior year and was left back by myself on JV I was crushed. I thought the coach was playing favorites.

One afternoon practice during warm-ups, I had just finished my mile. For the last 100 yards, we always sprinted seeing who would get in first. As I zoomed in the coach was there and pulled me aside. She asked why didn’t I have that kind speed and focus on the field? If I applied myself, then I probably would have made it up a level. I was dumbfounded. I hadn’t seen any difference in my performance on or off the field, but apparently, she did. We never talked about it again and I continued to play JV for the rest of the season.

By my senior year of high school I was ready to achieve different goals in life. I formulated it in my head that I wanted to do what I wanted to do, not what I felt everyone else expected me to do. I had a hunger and thirst to find out what life was made of because my pursuits up until this point were leaving me feeling less than. I quit hockey and used the time to join yearbook instead and had a blast. My skills as a leader began to take shape and I flourished better in that team environment. I was tired of always being in the chorus for the stage musicals at school so I decided to try something new and went backstage to learn a new skill at the spotlight. I was nervous about the responsibility but it was such a fun time. And through it all, I made new friends. Not the ones that were “popular” in high school terms, but ones that were authentic and genuine. I stopped caring what everyone else thought of me and began to live my life.

The other huge shift during this time was my pursuit of God. I had grown up going to church every Sunday morning. My parents were involved there, serving on different committees and with the Sunday School program, but the church and my pursuit of God existed only in that building. I don’t remember talking much about God in our home growing up. I thought that to be a Christian meant you went to church every Sunday, you believed in God, there was something about Jesus on Christmas and Easter but I couldn’t quite explain why that was important and I had no clue who the “Holy Ghost” was we recited about in the Apostles Creed.

When I began to pursue this new life I’m grateful that I also pursued God. One of the new groups I started attending at school was the Christian one. I heard new things about God and saw a group of people living a different sort of life. And I wanted that life. One that was living for someone’s approval and ideals that wasn’t my peers and meant so much more. This was the beginning of my journey that I’m still on, transforming into a new being.

And it seems like that transformation is coming full circle again in my life.  Tired of my old pursuits and ready to try out this thing I’m finally calling what it is, ambition to pursue deep longings and try new things that have for a long time been stirring deep inside my soul but I lacked the courage beyond the ambition to take the next step.  The fear will never change but my response to it and my indifference toward life can, one small step at a time.

True Beauty

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“So don’t be afraid, to let them show. Your true colors. Your true colors are beautiful.”

There was something that told me to stand there next to the mirror as my daughter looked at herself last night. With a huge beaming smile on her face, I wanted to tell her she was beautiful. I wanted it to soak down deep into her very being so that she would never forget how beautiful she was. Someday when she would doubt it, or someone would tell her otherwise, I wanted her to go back to this moment and remember that she is beautiful.

I wanted her to know why she was beautiful. Not because of what she looked like. “My darling, you are beautiful because you are a daughter of God. You are lovely because he made you that way.” Our beauty comes not because of human standards and what others tell is beautiful. Not based on what we grasp as the standards of beauty. Our beauty is rooted in our Creator, someone who’s standard never changes. Who knows us better than anyone because he was the one that created the fabric of our being and breathed life into our lungs.

His standard of beauty is more than skin deep because God cares more about the inside of our cup, our heart, than our whitewashed tombs of the outside. So I went on to tell her what made her beautiful, those inside qualities that God desires. I told her she was kind and compassionate. How she puts the needs of others before her own.

I remembered back to when she first started preschool last year. It’s always sad to let our kids go for the first time, but she was beyond ready to be in a classroom with her peers, to play and explore in new ways. I knew her extroverted self was going to thrive in this environment. After a few weeks, her teacher pulled me aside to check in. She said what a lovely daughter we had and that she was the “classroom mom”. Whenever she saw a friend who was off by themselves playing, she made a point of going over and sitting with them so they wouldn’t feel alone. That when a friend had a hard time standing in line and following directions she would hold their hand and bring them along with her. Tears welled in my eyes, and still do. That, that was what I was trying to instill in her the last four years, but she already had it in her. This is who God made her to be and it was beautiful.

From an early age, my daughter was an observer of people. Whenever she interacted with people she was keenly aware of how they were feeling. “Mommy’s face is happy.” “Daddy’s face is sad.” She would describe not the features of what they looked like on the outside, but what the features told her about what they were feeling on the inside. Now that she has more words, she is still describing our moods, in greater detail, based on body language and tone and verbiage. “Why you so angry Mommy?” She keeps me in check.

So maybe I don’t need to worry so much about her because she already gets it. She is already looking into a person’s heart to see who they truly are. There are going to be people that come along though that try to sow seeds of doubt and maybe that’s what my messages are, a repellant to guard against them.

I had a dad who told me I was beautiful all the time, from a very early age. His little princess. I was loved beyond measure and it made me feel secure. When I entered my teenage years and didn’t get attention reciprocated by my peers to validate if I met their standards of beauty it was hard. I still remember standing in front of a mirror at home staring at myself and trying to speak louder than the voices of doubt, “No, you are beautiful. Dad tells you all the time.”

Well, of course, I still doubted a little bit, after all, I had no longterm boyfriend in high school which would have been the ultimate validation, but I think that security and truth that I stood on took me farther than I realized or ever will realize. Sure I didn’t have a boyfriend, but I never let my true value come from there. I confidently walked into each day ready to take on whatever lay in store.

Then entering my senior year I did begin to throw off the chains of the standards that everyone else was throwing my way. God began to take hold of my life and suddenly I started listening to the voice inside me. I did and said what I wanted to not screening it first off of what others would think. I tried new things and new experiences that I would have held myself back from before. And I think it’s all because I had been told, you are beautiful, from a young age, before any doubt from the outside world could creep in.

I suppose that’s the gift I want to give my daughter. Someday when she’s looking in the mirror, I want her to shout above the lies, “No, I’m beautiful, not because of what you say, but because of what God says.” My beauty wasn’t built initially on the rock of my heavenly father, but my earthly one, but luckily I have been able to transfer it. What if she realizes this from a very early age and builds that foundation of who she is on her Creator, who knit together her inmost being and has amazing things planned just for her.

Her “life verse” that I was lead to when I was pregnant with her was Ephesians 2:8-10 that I thought described the essence of what I wanted her to take through life. “Now it is by grace you have been saved, not by works so that anyone can boast. It is a gift from God. You are God’s masterpiece, created in Christ Jesus to do amazing things that he has prepared in advance for only you to do.” May my precious daughter continue to go through this world noticing people for how they truly feel and be the friend that they need in that moment. May she share her beauty with all those around her and remember that she is beautiful.

The Morning After

So I publicly announced my blog last night. It was an exhilarating and scary moment for me. Months, no maybe years had been building up to this point and finally I was offering my gift to the masses like never before. Offering this gift to God for his use has left me feeling vulnerable but this work that he’s been doing in me this year of securing me in his hiding place, his refuge and declaring that my identity as a daughter of God can not be altered from the outside gave me the courage to step out.

My hesitation came from so many places. First, I was afraid to fail. What if I published and no one read it? Well initially I thought that meant I didn’t have anything worthy to say. My identity tells me though that that is false. God has gifted me these words and the ability to string them together. I am a communicator of God’s word, that’s what he’s created me to do and I offer it back to him to bring a smile to his face.

Next fear, what if I get it wrong? What if I publish something and it’s completely off base and not what God was really trying to say? And then worse off, what if that leads other people astray? What if it makes people mad at me? Again, a dose of truth to combat these lies. Truth, you live in a fallen world, you’re going to mess up. The perfectionist in me hates the thought of this but my identity says that God isn’t mad at me for my mistakes. He loves me no matter what and his love isn’t going to shift. God’s hand guides others to him, not me and so my words that I offer must be put in the perspective of his providence and control to go and reach his people, his kingdom how he directs. It’s ok to get it wrong, you will, get over it and give yourself the freedom to fail.

But what if I don’t fail? That was my next fear. What if I’m successful at this thing? Friends who can dream bigger than my limitations telling me that people all over the world would be reading my words and I would be sought out to speak and teach and write on these big stages left me like a deer in headlights. The size of the crowd didn’t scare me so much as the potential size of my ego and pride. Would other people’s accolades become the fuel that fed my worth and not the accolades of my Savior? This one is a real fear, the one that was at the underbelly of them all. Left unchecked it could tear me down.

Truth, my worth comes from God alone. He is the creator and I am not. My place is in the created order to bear his image, to cultivate and steward his creation. No matter what others tell me it does not alter how he sees me, who he says I am. A dose of humility to remember that I am dust and if it wasn’t for his deep love, I would be left a sinner, forever cut off from my true self and my true home. Stay hidden in him.

So after I hit that share button on Facebook last night my adrenaline started pumping. What would people think, how would it be received, what should I write about next? All these thoughts racing through my head. I woke up early the next morning anxious to see what the comments would be.   I clicked on the stats and saw 83 views! 83?! From all over the world?! (Hi New Zeland!) I needed to figure out what to do next.

And then it hit me, the humility. I’m the same person I was last night when I went to bed as I was this morning finding all this out. I still had the same messy bathroom and dirty dishes and stray kid’s socks strewn about my living room.  My same crazy, wonderful life. I still had the same gifts and imperfections and love to offer the world. God still saw me the same, but I think he ‘s feeling glorified a little bit more because I chose to hide myself in him, jump off the cliff with eyes wide open, into his arms and offer this gift back to him. And he delights in that and he delights in me. He’s smiling right now.

Saying Yes

A realization came to me the other day, how many times in my life have I not done something simply because I told myself I couldn’t? A friend had given me a suggestion of a new endeavor to try and my immediate and overwhelming response was, “I can’t do that! “ I hadn’t even given myself the chance to consider it at first. Was it something I’d like to try? If so, what were the ways I could make it happen? Nope, none of those questions crossed my mind, just a big, fat, NO!

The next day, I was feeling the effects of my emotional response and I began to consider other possibilities. I wondered how many other opportunities in life I missed out on because I had the same response. How many times do I tell myself, no or stop and how many times do I say, yes and try? The first category far outweighed the second I’m sad to say.

My writing for instance, though a very new endeavor to me, is something I have been thinking about doing for years now. Eight years ago I began a new career of staying at home when my first son was born. With a shift in my time schedule I was subconsciously looking for new ways to use my time. I was just discovering what “a blog” was and a thought whispered in my heart, you could do that. My immediate response, no way! When would I have the time? What would I write about? No one would want to read what I have to say anyway.

I thought I had dismissed the thought but whispers kept coming up. My husband suggested,” You keep reading blogs all the time, why don’t you just start one of your own. “ I shared the thought with a trusted friend and she jumped on it right away, “I would love to read anything you wrote Kelly.” What were they thinking? Didn’t they already notice all the reasons (excuses) I had to not being able to do this? Nope, that creative expression got put into a box and up on shelf and I fell back into old patterns of using my time, not always bad patterns, but ones that were familiar and safe and let me stay just where I was in life. And I thought that I was content.

More kids came into my life and I kept chipping away at life in the ways that I already knew how to. Morning routines, getting everyone fed and clothed, ministry ventures through the church, kids activities. Life had become autopilot and I didn’t even realize it.   Still a longing in my heart ached for something new, something that would transform and take on new shape and give life.

I’ve learned over the years that God takes us through seasons in order to mold and shape us into the people he created us to become. Yes, there are the seasons of singleness, young kids, empty nesters that we’re so familiar with but this type of season are seasons of your faith. A wise mentor I had the privilege of working with likened it to the seasons of an actual year, our springs, summers, falls and winters working in a cycle to bring transformation in us, or spiritual formation. Often we move through our seasons, unaware of what’s really going on and I had fallen into this trap.

I had started those eight years ago in a fall, harvesting the fruit of my life and enjoying its beauty but I was also slipping into winter. I was holding on, using the harvest of fall to sustain me through winter, the patterns and thoughts I was used to, but winter is not fall and old ways must die, at least on the surface while new life is created deep inside and underground.

So I’m finally ready to engage this new life getting ready for spring to emerge in my life. I’ve been reading a lot, something I’ve always wanted to do but said no to, and God likened an image from one of my favorite fiction books I had read, “The Secret Garden.” In it, little Mary Lennox starts out as a sickly, selfish little girl who has never really been loved in her life. Through a course of events she comes to live with her uncle she’s never met in his estate in England. She arrives in winter and discovers that a secret garden, once exquisite but left unattended and fallow for years exists on the property and she sets out to discover it and make it her own special place. I don’t think I’m spoiling the story too much for you to say that she finds it and when she does new life begins in the garden and in her. She sees little tiny bulb shoots springing up still and instinctively goes to work ripping up the overgrown grass and weeds that are chocking them out. Little by little each day with the help of some friends, she transforms that garden and in turn her life.

God spoke to me one day on a mountainside and said this was what he was doing in my heart, if I only found the lost key to my heart and opened it up for him to come. He was taking my garden, my heart, and pruning it and ripping up all the lies and weeds that had overgrown and chocked up the life that already exists there and was looking for a way to emerge. The shoots of creativity needed fresh air and good soil and light, everything only he knew how to give me, because he created me, if only I would just begin to say yes, and I’ll try.

So thus, eight years later, here is my blog. I’ve taken stock of other things I’ve always wanted to do, new patterns I’ve wanted to start and am I’m saying yes. And new life is starting, and it feels like my soul has been awakened.