Tag Archive | beauty

From Death, Life

IMG_3589This is my backyard. Looks good, doesn’t it? If you look closely, though, you can spot the imperfections. You can see the tracks the dog has made as he madly chases his thrown ball. You can see the weeds that have gone unpulled. And if you look closer still, you can see where some plants have just not made it, despite our attention.

Recently, I noticed several examples of places where we thought we had taken out a plant that was dead only to find, months later, that it is thriving again. This comes as a surprise to me, but it really shouldn’t, because it’s so much like God. He reminded me of that this morning.

First, around our pool enclosure we have rows of a pretty flowering bush called Ixora. We had a bad frost several years ago, and all those bushes suffered. Over the years the other bushes made a good comeback, but this little one never recovered. So my husband pulled it out.

Or so we thought.

Second, next to our koi pond, we had a little variegated plant called Stromanthe (at least I think that’s what it is). It grew and blossomed and did really well. For awhile. Then the leaves started turning brown. Though it was large and seemingly happy, something was not right in its little world, and it started to decline. I tried pruning it back, cutting away the dried brown leaves and trying to shape it up a little. But it didn’t respond to my touch. Eventually, we made the decision to pull it out and once again my husband did the deed.

Or so we thought.IMG_2048

Third, we had a beautiful avocado tree in our backyard tragically eaten by beetles. I wrote about that several years ago. You can read that story here. When we found a gnawed-upon fruit that the squirrels had discarded sprouted in the corner of the yard, we thought, well, what could it hurt? So we transplanted that tiny seedling into our front yard, watered it daily, kept an eye on it and hoped. You can read about that part of the story here.

And then something miraculous happened in all 3 cases. New life.

IMG_8106Our pulled-up Ixora is small but blossoming.

The seemingly dead Stromanthe is tiny but growing.

And that little avocado seedling is now a nearly 20-foot tall tree and has fruit of its own.

Amazing.

And the lesson here? Other than caring for, watching and hoping, we did nothing to cause the new growth. It was only and always in the hands of the Creator. Sometimes it took mere months to see the growth; sometimes, as in the case of the avocado, it took IMG_8077years.

In the letter to the church in Corinth, the Apostle Paul wrote, “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth” (1 Cor. 3:6-7 ESV).

Do you have a child who is straying? Pray, love, care for, encourage, don’t give up hope. God is at work, whether they want to acknowledge it or not.

Given up on your marriage? As long as there is breath in your body, pray, nurture, and don’t give up hope. Oh, please, don’t give up hope.

Do you see only death around you? Death of dreams, of chances, of families? Jesus came that we might have life and have it abundantly.

IMG_8102Make no mistake, we have had other plants over the years that have, simply put, died. The uprooting was complete and they never came back to life.

Sometimes children never come back to the Lord. Sometimes marriages fail, despite our best efforts.

But God.

He is still working. Sometimes the new life and growth is in our wandering child or our wounded marriage. And sometimes it’s simply and profoundly in us.

 

Advertisements

What Yard Work Taught Me About Sin

If you don’t have borders, even good things can turn bad.

Sin is attractive sometimes. Knowing the roots and fruit are essential to telling the difference between the real beauty and the junk.

If you try to root out all the sin in one day, you’ll get discouraged and never want to tackle it again.

Sometimes you find sin in unexpected places, even in the middle of something that’s good.

Work with another person to control the sin in your life–it’s so much more fun.

It doesn’t work to just cover up sin, the roots are still there and eventually, the truth will come out.

Some roots go a lot deeper than you think, and sometimes you just need professional help.

Sin never, ever totally goes away. We are never free from it and it’s a constant battle to keep it at bay.

Life is messy and hard and it hurts, but it’s worth it for the beauty in the end.

 

 

 

Thankful today for:

345. Flowers

346. the first full day of summer break

347. photographs

 

“Mirror, Mirror”

I saw “Mirror, Mirror” (a different telling of the Snow White story) with Morgan last night. I enjoyed it. I’ve always liked Julia Roberts, and I think she did a great job in the role of wicked stepmother. But the take-away I got was this: “Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised” (Proverbs 31:30). I’m going to keep drilling that into my daughter, beautiful though she is on the outside. That won’t last, baby; cultivate the inside. It’s so much more important.

Thankful today for:

213. time with my daughter

214. my boys enjoying a guys retreat with the youth–doing guy things

215. a new recipe to try