A sorry, rag-tag, battered and ultra-soggy garden...
Many buds and blossoms have been stained a discouraging shade of brown. Petals have been torn and blown about, sadly decorating the grass with dying confetti. Weeds are having a hey-day while the Head Weeder stays away to keep her shoes from gumming up and adding several unwanted inches to her height. Puddles are a haven for breeding mosquitoes. Wet leaves are ripe for foliar and fungal diseases.
And yet, there is so much beauty out there! Despite the days of constant dripping and dropping, the garden is coming alive with colour and texture and every shade of green ever invented.
And if my garden can learn how to use what water it can to grow and develop its potential, and shed the excess in healthy and natural ways, can I?
Can I learn how to prosper even after heavy rain has stained my initial bloom?
Here are some of the things I am learning:
1. Rain happens. It is a natural part of life. Expecting it can help defray the shock that sets in when tough stuff drops in our laps.
2. Heavy rain can cause damage. That means loss. Loss requires a grieving process in order to come to terms with what has happened. Don't let anyone rush your process or dictate how you should be grieving! This is your life, not theirs, and everyone grieves differently. After grieving appropriately, some of the rain clouds will begin to disappear, and the sunshine of hope return. Simply pushing aside the loss with perky platitudes won't make it go away - instead, you will drive it underground, where it can fester and cause even more problems down the road.
3. No matter how much it rains, or how much damage has been done, you can still bloom! At times it will feel as though you will never lift your head again. I know how it feels, friend! But after grieving your losses, you will come upon an unexpected blessing - in grieving, you have begun learning how to appropriately shed the 'extra moisture' in your life - a skill you can carry into every season you will face. You will be, in essence, flood-proofing your heart! And once you have begun to assimilate and apply this amazing skill, without even realizing it - you have begun to flower once again.
And the day you can hold your head high, even in the storms of life, you will know that your Master Gardener's work has truly germinated, sprouted, and grown in your heart.
"The floods have risen up, O Lord. The floods have roared like thunder; the floods have lifted their pounding waves. But mightier than the violent raging of the seas, mightier than the breakers on the shore - the Lord above is mightier than these!" Psalm 93:3-4 NLT
But I can promise you this - you are not alone in your journey. Your grieving and shedding process are directed by none other than the One who is intimately acquainted with sorrow and grief - and He is mightier than anything that can possibly be thrown your way! He is deeper than your hurt, stronger than your pain, higher than your dreams, broader than your hopes, and His love for you is more powerful than any old June downpour!
And if you can learn to bloom even in the middle of a downpour, there is nothing that you and your God can't do - together.