Dead Plants, Rocks, and Forgiveness

Posted by Christy Steele on

I had an epiphany yesterday. As I typed that word, I that word is wrong. Don't be dramatic. So I asked the google for a definition, and I believe I did have an epiphany. ( illuminating discovery...insight...a revealing discovery...) My husband and I had just returned from a 4-wheeler ride to look for deer. We live in the country, and this was a mini date for us. :) We saw eleven deer, and over the course of the ride witnessed the beautiful constantly changing sunset. The whole journey I kept whispering praises to God in my heart. It was one of those times in the midst of a crazy world that you slow down to realize a sweet memory was being made. We also ended up with a tire going flat on the way home. Our son had to bring a trailer and rescue us. But that didn't take away from the leftover feel goods I had going on. After returning home, I was walking across my patio. That's where I had the epiphany. It's something that, of course, I have always known in my mind. But have you ever had a voice speak to you that isn't your own, and you know it is the voice of the Holy Spirit? I don't know how the Holy Spirit 'speaks' to others, but this is how it happens with me. It always catches me off guard because there are times I plead with God to whisper to me, and I can't hear a thing. The times it happens without me begging take me by surprise. Can anyone relate? You're probably thinking, well tell us your big epiphany already. But I want to really take you there in your heart. So...let's back up a bit. Everyone in our circle knows if you want a plant to live, do not let Shelly baby sit it. Everyone knows that about me as well. We own this. I actually broke down and bought fake (but very pretty and realistic looking) plants for my classroom last year. LOL!  Each year we plant the seeds with our classes. Most years they don't grow because...well we were involved. We've even had years they rotted! It's hard to have your students plot growth when nothing is growing. Again, we own it. Anyway, back to the story. After much bittersweet prayer, my husband and I decided to purchase the family farm after the death of his dad. That is a whole emotional story in itself, but the part that is important for now is this: When you do something like that, you feel a burden of responsibility to the rest of the family. (Chris is one of seven children.) You are trying to maintain the family's gathering place. You are trying to be respectful to the things they all love about it, but you also want to make it your own. One thing our yard had was very pretty flower beds. My mother-in-love is a gardener. When she moved out, she left us as caretakers of them. She had lovingly planted and labored in them over the years. She told me stories about them and names of plants. "This one was Aunt Wanda's"....We are third generation on the farm. Guys, call my husband right now, and ask him. I STRESSED over those flower beds. I knew they would not stay that pretty, and I felt such a burden of responsibility for them. I didn't want to let my mother-in-love down. I mean every time she comes here her precious heart is going to be slowly breaking. Please note: she has never said anything to make me feel like that. I put that on myself. I decided I was going to fall in love with gardening and DO THIS. Well, here's a twisted turn in the story. Every time I would do pretty much anything in the flower beds, I would end up with poison ivy. (It wasn't growing in the beds, but it was lurking somewhere. It was very frustrating.) My husband's solution was to rip out every flower bed. He doesn't have time to weed and talk sweet to the flowers. But I defended those beds and the efforts of the ladies before me. Every spring we hauled in countless loads of mulch. (Chris has a theory that maybe we were bringing in the ivy irritant with our mulch.) The beds would look beautiful again for a couple of weeks. Then the numerous trees in our yard would get their messiness all over them. I would go out to weed and clean. The vicious ivy would wage attack on me. The cycle continued. This summer was different. This summer overnight we had one of our beds grow lots of poison ivy. That's it! The last straw!  I told Chris that I was filling that thing with rocks. I have always loved rocks. I love the textures, the colors, the weathering...all of it. To me they are beautiful. Bless him. He took me to the "rock store", and we bought a couple of tons of rocks (literally). I hand placed every rock in that bed. And I love it!  So much that we made more trips to buy rocks. Over the past couple of weeks I have hand placed close to FOUR TONS of rocks in three flower beds. You can't just throw them out there. They go together like a puzzle. At one point, I was swarmed by big fuzzy bees. I didn't think they were the stinging kind, but I was a little on edge. I'm no fuzzy bee expert. One thumped me hard on my forehead. "I'm going down! He gots me!" But it was just a thump. Carry on, Christy. Every muscle in my body was screaming at me, and I ended up with a pretty painful sunburn on my shoulders. But I love my "flower gardens". I got rid of one of the flower pots on our patio that kept taunting me and replaced it with a big, pretty solar lantern.  And now for the epiphany: As I walked across the patio last night I looked over at that lantern. For a split second I felt guilty. Then the Holy Spirit whispered, "Beauty isn't the same for everyone. It looks like many things." I heard those words clearly. They weren't my thoughts. In that moment I forgave myself for not having a green thumb. I forgave myself for not loving to garden. I forgave myself for getting poison ivy over and over. That may sound silly, but it felt amazing to me. I felt liberated. I can't create the beauty of a deer running across the field or the perfect sunset. I can't create the beauty of a well manicured flower paradise. I can certainly enjoy those beauties. But beauty looks like so many things. It isn't the same for everyone. And for God to care about that little part of my heart that has felt inadequate for so long. For Him to whisper those healing words to me. It was a sweet moment. So, friends go out today and make yourself a rock garden. (so to speak). Do you have a "flower pot" on your "patio" that reminds you of your shortcomings? THROW IT OUT!  Replace it with your own pretty. Forgive yourself.


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