I was shocked last month when I saw our lilies with new buds and blossoms among the falling leaves of mid-October. The kids had told me about them a day or two before, but I hadn’t made it outside to check and had completely forgotten about it until I happened upon them for myself. It was startling and looked out of place, but beautiful.
At the same time, our indoor orchid was slowly dying after having bloomed for many months with the most blossoms at one time we’d ever had: 11. I pruned it back and now we wait to see when it will decide to flower again. It’s blossomed twice since we moved here over a year ago and three times at our old house.
I made it outside again the day before the snowstorm that hit yesterday. I was picking some things up and admiring the work of some friends that had come over to help us get our place ready for winter. I was surprised to see the lilies still going, even with the temperature having dropped.
I walked around to my garden which had been utterly neglected the last two plus months just to see what the damage was. I had purposely avoided looking at it, knowing that my priorities had to be taking care of the people under our roof and feeling guilty about the garden wouldn’t help anything. So my shock when I found three heads of cabbage just waiting to be plucked up was substantial, so was my delight!
I can’t help but relate this to life currently. When I step back from our life and see what it’s like, it’s not what I thought it would be like. It’s harder and sometimes scarier. Sometimes it seems like our life is an unexpected snowstorm in early November, when what we planned on was a nice spot inside with the fire going. We want to be the orchid that blossoms on the counter. Instead we find ourselves in an unattended garden with dropping temperatures.
Yet, isn’t that the miracle? Somehow or another, when we weren’t paying attention, just taking step after step in the life we were given, asking God to help us weather the cold, fruit happened. And by fruit I don’t mean accomplishments, I mean His fruit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
By God’s mysterious grace, He ministers to us and through us in ways we never could have foreseen and wouldn’t have chosen. He causes growth in the winter and then uses it to nourish others. This is the ministry He gives us, walking through our own unique life circumstances with His Spirit. The love and peace he grows in us will be the fruit that another will need to sustain them as they walk through difficulties.
Your life may be nothing like you imagined it would be. I never dreamed we’d have an IV pole in our kitchen or that our son would get nourishment through a button put into his tummy. Maybe you never dreamed you still wouldn’t be married, or that you’d ever be divorced or that you’d be longing for a baby, or that you’d be moving again, or stuck in the same unhappy job, or that you’d be so.. ordinary. But whatever it is, it is the soil that He intends to make you fruitful in. It is the place that He is growing the seeds of His righteousness and Spirit. So keep on walking and trusting and don’t be surprised when you find yourself covered in snow and blossoming in winter. Because that’s our God.
“..May people blossom in the cities
like the grass of the field!
May his name endure forever,
his fame continue as long as the sun!
May people be blessed in him,
all nations call him blessed!” Psalm 72:16,17
“The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad;
the desert shall rejoice and blossom like the crocus;
it shall blossom abundantly
and rejoice with joy and singing.” Isaiah 35:1