Recently, I went back to South Dakota to dig up some of my perennials that I wanted to have in North Dakota. I ended up with quite a few buckets of different plants, all of which are special to me for this or the next reason. I brought them home and they sat in their buckets for some time before I had a sunny day and the time to plant some of them.
Iris is one of my favorite flowers. For those of you who are gardeners, you know that the time to separate and transplant the iris is in the fall. Well last fall, I had too many things going and couldn’t make time to transplant anything. Needless to say, come spring when I dug everything up, I didn’t think that I would see any irises this year, as being uprooted from your original environment, having your roots broken apart and separated from where you have always grown, and being placed in a bucket with dirt is kind of a traumatizing experience. I transplanted most of my other plants but the irises I just left in their bucket. There they sat, through pounding rain storms, desert hot sunny days, and super windy days. They had everything working against them: broken roots, crazy climate, and an unstable ground in which they were resting in. Then one day a couple of weeks later, I noticed some purple color coming from a group of green. I had to investigate because I didn’t quite believe my eyes. There, amid all the normal greens of the irises, a bud had blossomed. There was an iris, purple and glowing in glory, amid all the trauma it had experienced. I sat on the ground and cried as I looked at it.
We have moved many times in the last twenty years. For those of you who know our family, we kinda bounced hither and yon. Y’all would ask every Christmas where to send Christmas cards, because you didn’t know where we would be. It hurt, moving so many times. I felt like I was continually being uprooted and transplanted before I even had time to grow and gain strength in one place. I didn’t feel like I had the energy or the strength to “bloom” in another place, hey! I just got here! But as I looked at that one iris, sitting in a bucket with quite a few other irises, I realized that we of ourselves have no strength to “bloom” anywhere. I had dug up the iris, I had broken the only foundation it had ever known, I had moved it to a new environment, and I had watered and cared for it as well I could. And God gave the increase. In a life scenario, we live from day to day, comfortable in our surroundings and doing whatever it is we do. We are carnal and come to trust in and rely on the things and people of our surroundings. We become confident in ourselves, our abilities, and our surroundings. Then, the Spirit comes to us and begins calling to us. We hear this voice and we are stirred up inside. We begin to question our life and our ambitions and our actions and realize that we were living on our own, that we had left that straight and narrow way. Our foundation crumples, because it was built all on what we did or what we could do or how we were feeling. Our roots of self-righteousness, of pride, of a false sense of security, those are all dug up, and we are transplanted into the grace and love of our Heavenly Father. There in His garden, He tends to our every need. We may face storms in life, we may have days that we can’t help but laugh and sing. We have the choice to bloom wherever we are in life and to be beautiful and encouraging and uplifting to those around us. Or we can remain dormant, our true beauty hidden because we are too busy dwelling on the past or feeling sorry for ourselves.
Please realize that I am not pointing fingers at anyone here. I am simply trying to relate my own experiences in life. I’m young and learning daily that I don’t know as much as I thought I did. It took the honesty and love of a new but very close friend to show me that I was dwelling on the past but still trying to move forward in life. It doesn’t work that way! I have spent a lot of time in my life, looking back and using my past to justify my actions, emotions, and thoughts in the present. I have let myself be a victim of circumstance instead of standing up and embracing my upbringing, the good with the bad, and using it as valuable knowledge and experience in life. You know, we all have those experiences in life that are awful and we hated, that we were sad and we cried, that were hard and pushed us to the limits of all we knew. But instead of always dwelling on this, why not use those experiences to learn and grow? I know that the hurt and pain we feel from our past isn't something that we can just give up over night. It's something that we will deal with, sometimes for the rest of our lives. But why not remember those times as the times that you overcame the hurt, the pain, the sorrow? Why not learn to smile through it all and find the good, the lesson in it? We can’t forget the pain, but we can learn to find good in the bad, to pray for ones who have hurt us, and to love all those around us, because we never know what battles they are facing.
I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.
So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase.
Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour.
For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building.
According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.
For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;
Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is.
If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.
If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.
- 1 Corinthians 3:6-15