Friday, May 20, 2011

"Only God, who makes things grow"

On Monday, the day before Uncle Stanley’s funeral, my peace lilly bloomed. It hasn’t bloomed in years. In fact, it hasn’t bloomed since I’ve had it. I’m pretty sure I’ve had it since my Mamaw Harris’ funeral about 8 years ago. Interesting timing, right? I think it’s just like God to send the blossom of peace on a day it was so needed. I told my sister that it bloomed, and she said, “that’s what happened with my begonia!” We all have a start of the angel wing begonia that’s been in mom’s family for generations. My sister said that our Grannie Mim (mom’s mom) would ask her frequently, “Has your begonia bloomed yet?” When Amy would say no and that she didn’t know what she was doing wrong, our grandmother would respond with a smile, “It will bloom when it’s ready.” It bloomed the day of her funeral.

1 Corinthians 3:5-8
5 What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe—as the Lord has assigned to each his task. 6 I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. 7 So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. 8 The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor. 9 For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building.

I have lots of plants in my house. I don’t always do a great job with remembering to water them, but for the most part they do ok. Obviously, they do better when I put them in a sunny spot and remember to hydrate them. I always feel so excited when I see new growth from my plants. Last summer, I spent a lot of time working to turn my side yard into a little flower garden, too. I had many people give me starts of their plants to get it going. Not everything is blooming yet, but I’m anxious to see how it continues to grow (and anxious to get out in the yard and do some work out there; it needs it!). The thing is I can do lots of things to help give my plants the right environment and nutrients, but I can’t MAKE them grow, and I certainly can’t make them bloom. In a post on caringbridge a while back, I’d shared the same thought about babies. We can do everything we know to do to bring a healthy baby into the world, but it’s truly out of our control. God is the only one who can make them grow.

I think it extends far beyond plants and babies. There are so many things in life we try to control, whether or not we even realize we’re doing it. We get frustrated so easily when things don’t go our way. We can’t control the weather to keep a ballgame from being postponed. We can’t control the traffic that makes us late to work. We can’t control the deer that jumps out in front of us, or the car battery that quits working at the most inopportune time. We can’t always make our children and other loved ones happy.

We can try to plan events after looking at a weather forecast, leave early for work, drive cautiously and watch for deer, schedule routine maintenance on our cars, and be available and attentive to our loved ones to try to encourage happiness… but we can’t just make it all happen the way we want it to happen. It’s not in our power – and that’s OK. We can do our part, but in the end, the result is not up to us.

After being under such emotional strain for the past 5 months, I’m finding it difficult to relax emotionally. The only way I can think to describe it is the emotional equivalent of going non-stop for days, working hard (I’m thinking of experiences with mission trips or being a camp counselor), and finally sitting down for a minute, only to find that it all catches up with you and you’re so exhausted you don’t think you can move. Have you ever been there?

It’s almost like I’m afraid to relax, and I catch myself wondering if something else is going to happen and keep the stress and tension going. I’ve been finding myself worrying about things I know I don’t need to worry about. God has more than reassured me that He’s watching out for our best interests. It’s just hard to let down my defenses, though I know that IF something else happens, I have a Heavenly Father who knows what I need. I’m having to remind myself of that. I don’t doubt God’s ability, only mine. Even though I know that “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13), I question my own ability in so many things. I’ve had to let go of so much lately, but I’m sure that will continue. Things won’t always go as I hope they do, and I won’t always be able to “fix” things I want to fix. But I know who can, and I pray for the continued strength to do my part, take a deep breath and allow Him to work at making the seeds grow. 


Derek and Debbie said...

Thanks Keri, Very timely post. Appreciate how you can put things into words.All so very true and I can relate. Still praying for you all and love you.

Holly said...

How appropriate that those flowers would bloom. :)

It's not surprising you find it hard to relax with the journey you have been on and continue to travel. After you lose a child it is hard not to worry about things. I know I worried about my living daughter more and that something would happen to her. I become more protective and I still am of all my girls. I can only imagine that everything is compounded emotionally by having one living twin and one twin in Heaven.

Ruthie said...

My dear sweet Keri, I always enjoy reading what you have to say. You are such an intelligent, dedicated young Christian lady. You have truly been through the fire, and at times can still feel the heat, but time and God's wonderful grace will help you be able to relax and enjoy your life again. I know right now you don't feel strong but you are a lot stronger than you realize and that is all due to your wonderful walk with our Lord and Saviour. I love you and I am very proud of the wonderful wife, mother and friend that you are.God bless you and your beautiful little family always.

Melinda said...

I understand about not wanting to let your guard down and what it feels like to think you need to keep going . I have felt that way since Anna was born. I feel like we are always dealing with something and I am never going to get a break. I know God will not give me more than I can handle and I am so grateful for that!!!