A couple days ago I noticed something pink and beautiful next to my shed. It was too late in the season for tulips and everything else that grows next to our shed are weeds. But this was not a weed. Whatever it was, it was beautiful. So beautiful that I stopped in the middle of my prayer time to take a closer look.
Where did it come from?
How did it get here?
What type of flower is it?
How did it manage to grow without being choked by the weeds?
I had so many questions, most of which I knew I would never know the answers to. I felt like Inigo Montoya in the Princess Bride.
Just like Inigo, I am getting used to the disappointment of not knowing. Which lately hasn’t seemed so disappointing, just exciting. But one thing I did know, this was a gift. A beautiful gift that God had given to me. He chose me to be the receiver.
I don’t know why He chose me to receive this gift. You see, I am the worst gardener in the world. I try to take care of my yard, but I only manage to kill plants and let weeds grow. I even managed to grow weeds in the bed of our truck.
Believe it or not the flower has got me thinking about my fertility (or lack thereof). At the risk of sounding like the mom in the movie “Now and Then”, my fertility feels like my garden.
I try and try but nothing grows except resentments and fears (weeds). It feels like these things should be in my control and yet they aren’t. All my plants die, and I try again the next year, and they all die again. Nothing produces fruit, just sadness and failure. I know it’s not true, but so many months I feel like a failure of a woman. I can’t do what women were designed to do. I can’t produce and cultivate life. Now some would argue that there are other ways to produce and cultivate life, and I agree, but in the simplest form I am very aware of my inability to do so.
That’s where this flower comes in.
I had nothing to do with this flower. My friend told me it was a gladiolus, which is a perennial that grows from a corm. A squirrel must have dug up the corm from someone else’s garden and hoarded it in mine. There was a plan set in motion way before I even knew of the flower’s existence. The plan was not my plan. I had no part in the planting or in the growth of the flower. But for some reason I got the honor of witnessing and reveling in its beauty. I am the one blessed with its presence. And because I have had no hand in its growth or beauty all of the glory goes to God. The coolest part about this flower is that it isn’t just one bloom. It has six beautiful blooms! Six! Six healthy blooms that I have the gift of watching as they slowly open and spread their pedals wider each day.
Some people are talented gardeners, like my Aunt Joan. She can grow anything. Her backyard is full of life. Some people are fertile Myrtles. They push out babies like it’s their job, and honestly I think it is. God has called them to mother those children even if they don’t recognize the call for themselves. I naively thought that if I wasn’t a gardener that I would never be able to enjoy plant life in my own yard. And if I wasn’t able to produce my own children, it was because I wasn’t good enough to be a mother.
When I think about adoption I start to fear that my inability to produce children will result in my inability to parent children. You see this past spring I bought some lilies and planted them in my yard. Within 1 month they ALL died. All of them.
Even when I brought in healthy plants I managed to kill them. My yard and my skills could not sustain life. That’s how I feel about adoption. I want to adopt, but maybe God made me infertile for a reason: to protect me from the failure I would experience in motherhood. What if we adopt and bring beautiful innocent children into our home and then find out we don’t have what it takes to raise kids. We would be denying those kids a better home and better care because of our desire to be parents.
But then there is this flower.
This flower that I did not plan to grow.
This flower that was planned and planted by God himself through the humble servant hood of a squirrel (probably). At the very time I was planting my lilies, desperate for beauty and life in my garden, the gladiolus was under the surface taking root. When my lilies wilted and died and I felt like a failure, this flower was pushing forth from the ground. This flower that grew for months in my yard without my knowledge (gladiolus take about 90 days from planting to fully bloom). This flower that all of a sudden sprang into life in my yard and is growing strong and beautiful.
This flower with six beautiful blooms!
I am not a gardener and yet by God’s power, not my own, I am given the gift of beautiful growth in my yard. Through the obedience and servant hood of others I am able to experience the joy of life.
Can this be true for motherhood as well? I am starting to believe so. Not by my power, but by God’s power. Not by my skill, but by God’s grace. Not according to my plan, but according to God’s plan. It’s exciting to think that at this very moment there is a plan in place for my future. Months before those six beautiful blooms emerged, a squirrel (probably) was harvesting a corm from someone else’s yard. The plan even goes as far back as when some gardener planted the corm in their own yard which could have been years ago! By the grace of God it was my yard that the squirrel chose for a place of safe keeping. By God’s power the corm grew and produced six beautiful blooms.
Perhaps God’s plans for Baby Eastlake are already in motion. Just because I can’t see it happening doesn’t mean it isn’t happening. Just because I am not a part of the plan right now does not mean I won’t be a part of it later. Baby Eastlake may be growing this very moment, beneath the surface and out of sight. And who knows, maybe God will bless me and Dean with six beautiful baby Eastlakes! Whatever the plan is, I will wait patiently.
“This vision is for a future time.
It describes the end, and it will be fulfilled.
If it seems slow in coming, wait patiently,
for it will surely take place.
It will not be delayed.”