I promise when my flowers all die (and trust me, that will be soon) I will stop posting pictures of them, but in the meantime, I will force you to enjoy their magnificence!
I can’t grow flowers. But, I still get really excited when the forsythia in the creek blooms announcing spring’s arrival, and I rush to buy flowers of my own. I bring them home and vow to keep them alive until fall. I make a little pact with myself that I will start a routine of getting up and watering them every other day, and that on the off-days I will rid any weeds from my beautiful flower beds. This lasts….oh, about 2 days. Then, I throw my hands up and say–“they’re all your’s Mother Nature…..either you water them or no one does”. This is why I love perennial flowers because I know that without fail, and not of my own doing, they will come back in all their glory the next year.
A few weeks ago, I decided to tackle one (of the many) weed beds around the house. I got to work pulling and ripping and groaning as I barely made a dent in finding the flowers that should have been growing beneath the crabgrass. Weeds are relentless and they can certainly steal the joy of a flower bed. After 20 minutes or so of this, I stood up to stretch and wipe my soggy face off, and only then did I notice it: the tree lily bulbs I planted last year had pushed up about 4 feet out of the ground and were at the verge of blooming their vibrant flowers.
How, I wondered, had I not noticed this unbelievable thing of beauty only five feet in front of me?! I had been sitting there in the grass moaning and becoming more and more agitated at how weeds take over so quickly, and I missed the beauty. To be cliché, I missed the flowers for the weeds.
It’s often moments like these that God uses to teach me things about myself, and I instantly thought about how often I get so frustrated and overwhelmed and bogged down by my responsibilities, that I miss the beauty in it. I focus on the Lego’s and dolls and little shoes stretched out and scattered in every nook and cranny of the house, instead of delighting in the little creative boy making a flying Lego car, a growing daughter practicing to be a mommy someday and carrying her “babies” around on hip, and the smallest one who likes to try to fill everyone’s “big” shoes and then proudly show her newest closet find. I see the dirty coal mine clothes in a heap at the foot of the bed instead of a husband who rushes in from work each day and quickly changes clothes so he can utilize every last-minute of the day tending to the cares and needs of his family and home. I see the dishes piled high, and the crumbs scattered low and I shake my head. I often forget that our most precious times as a family are when we gather around the table for a meal. I see the ever-present smudges on the sliding glass door but forget the little faces pressed up against it when they are anxiously awaiting the return of daddy or myself. Should I go on?
Life can be overwhelming and, like a weed, it can push out any room for beauty. We find ourselves like a flower being suffocated with not enough room to grow, so we wilt–just a shadow of our potential. One of the Bible verses that our family has begun to cling to this past year is Philippians 4:8-
…whatever is true, whatever is honorable,
whatever is just, whatever is pure,
whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable,
if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise,
think about these things.
The Lord knew we would become overwhelmed and that, at times, we would only see the weeds. This is why He directs us in Scripture to the weapons of fighting the things that drag us down. When we can live life seeing the flowers in all situations, we can live with gratitude. And gratitude helps us see the flowers through the weeds.