The Gift of Time

A few summers back I stepped out of my comfort zone and decided that I wanted to get my thumb a little green.  When we first moved into our home 8 years ago the gardens were abundant and beautiful; organized yet spontaneous and wild.  My Grandma, who had lived here for many years prior, had excelled at creating something that looked so effortless, as various blooms sprang up one after the other from early spring through until fall.  But when we moved in, it didn’t take long for me to realize that such beauty came with much effort.  As the summer’s passed and our family grew, the time that I could devote to maintaining those gardens became less and less, until one year we decided to uproot several of those beds and replace them with grass.  (I’m fairly certain I could feel the shudder from every gardener just now)

And then a few years back the most unlikely thing happened – I decided that I wanted to change the smallest of corner gardens in my yard by simplifying and salvaging what was left to make something new that I could handle.  I’m not sure if it was the accidental discovery that my abundance of ferns were actually not weeds, or if it was simply that I had slightly more time on my hands with children out of diapers, but whatever it was…it had set me on a path of discovery.

My journey of observation and asking resulted in my realization that I could create something very manageable with what I already had…all that was required was a simple Google search and a quick YouTube tutorial to arm myself with the knowledge of splitting and transplanting a Hosta.  Now being as my knowledge of plants was very limited, I decided to split off as little as possible so as not to destroy both the old plant and the new if my venture were to fail.  So needless to say that little hosta plant was quite small and sad-looking that first summer.

However I did not allow that to dampen my spirits…in fact…in my mind…it was a great success that the plant had survived at all, and it inspired me to stretch myself even further.  (Really it was only after viewing a picture I had taken of it that I realized how pathetic it looked on its own).  I began to do more Google searches and less “weed pulling” as I learned that many of those weeds growing were in fact, flowers; and over time I began to maintain the remaining gardens with my slowly growing knowledge until we finally tackled the largest gardens at the front of the house, uprooting overgrown bushes and wild shrubs, and in its place transplanting more of my new garden favorite….the Hosta.

Now, two years after it all began, that initial Hosta has grown into a lovely not-so-little plant, filling up and adorning that tiny corner of real estate.  The “weeds” are growing quite nicely beside it, and the ferns I had hastily uprooted and destroyed are now full and lush (yes lush…like those mascara advertisements you see…exactly like that…but green and bigger…much much bigger).

The new Hostas in the front garden are only now experiencing their first summer in their new home as last year was their big move, so they’ve yet to take off, but I’m not concerned because out of all of my garden growing and learning, probably the biggest lesson I’ve learned has been from the teacher of time.  You see,

all good things take time to grow; time to be nurtured, time to be fed the right amount of water, time to bask in the adequate amount of sunshine…time to allow for the roots to stretch out and familiarize themselves with the soil, to go down deep and become strong enough to sustain the life of the plant.  It takes time to uproot the weeds that would try to choke out the life of the new plant, and time to learn and educate oneself in how to best care for it.

And yet, so many times in life we desire and expect overnight results.  We live in a culture that views waiting as an unacceptable inconvenience, so we’ve learned to adapt and avoid; we rush into plans and are quick to jump on to the next big thing,

yet in all of our hurrying we haven’t taken the time to grow a strong root system to sustain us where we are planted.

I can only speak for myself, but I know that when I begin a new task or commitment, I often have the tendency to hit the ground running…I start out strong…but just like a runner there always comes a point when I hit “the wall”…and it’s at that point that my doubts begin to whisper and my fears begin to rise…and in that moment I have a choice to either break through that wall or succumb to my doubts and give up.

But here’s the tricky part…

breaking through that wall isn’t always a one-time event…and if we see it as such then we’ll find ourselves both discouraged and disappointed.  Most often rather, it’s something that requires patient endurance…and patient endurance always requires time.

I can look back and think of several times that I hit that wall and just gave up, thinking that I wasn’t enough, that it was too big or too hard for me…that I lacked what was needed and therefore had failed..and because I had failed was a failure.  And it makes me wonder; if I had stuck it out…where would I be now?

I’ll be very real and vulnerable with you.  Most recently I had been struggling with the area of writing…I mean for like the past three months.  I had made commitments both to this blog and to another page that I post on, and had felt like I was publicly failing at both because the words just weren’t there.  The doubts had crept in and were beginning to convince me that I wasn’t cut out for this…but you see they didn’t just stop there…I then began to question my character…”was I just a lazy, uncommitted person?”…I honestly began to think that must’ve been the reason…I wasn’t having a pity party…I really thought that to be the truth, (which in hindsight, I realize, was quite ridiculous as I’m highly committed in several areas of my life!) but it only served to further reinforce the idea that I just needed to quit.  But here’s the really bad part – the thing about it is that,

when we begin to believe these types of things about ourselves it doesn’t just stay contained to one area of our life…it seeps into every other area and erodes away at our confidence and identity.

It feeds the fear that we’re a “failure” and either keeps us from further stepping out so that we can prevent future failures, or if we do step out it sets us up with the underlying belief that when difficulty comes the problem must be with us…so with this mentality we then lack the stamina to endure patiently.

But here’s what I’m learning…sometimes…most times…

growth takes time and often times that growth takes place in the dark places, in the silent places, in the places of patiently waiting when it feels and looks like nothing at all

Growth takes time & often times takes place in the dark places when it looks like nothing at all Click To Tweet

…and other times there will be seasons of rest, seasons of brief breaks where we catch our breath and take that time to let our roots grow deep down for the upcoming seasons when the sun and rain beat down on us and we grow, grow, grow.

Sometimes it’s in the places of waiting that we just hold steady, silence ourselves, and listen to what God is really saying to us…because even in the silence…He is speaking…even in the emptiness, He is filling, and even in the darkness He brings light.

Even in the silence...God is speaking Click To Tweet

It’s in those times that we must not allow the silence, the absence of activity, or our inability to see growth, to convince us that nothing is happening and to cause us to grow weary, to believe that we’ve failed, or that we’re something less than who we really are.

In the waiting its key that we recognize it for what it really is…a gift.  Because really, we’re no different from my little Hosta plant.  We all need seasons of beginning, seasons of new growth and fresh starts…but we also need those winter seasons where we rest, where we are dormant and even feel as though certain areas of our lives have come to an end as our leaves wither and the ground becomes cold around us…we need those seasons to lean in and listen to what is being said…so that we have strong roots to carry us through the spring seasons of heavy rains and the summer seasons of blistering sun……and just like that little hosta,

if we don’t dig out the weeds of doubt and fear that lie to us and attempt to choke out the life within, we will uproot ourselves prematurely in those times of nothingness and will miss out on the fullness of life that is to come.

So be encouraged that in whatever area you have come to a halt in, be it little or big, by happenstance, or by choices you’ve made – this is not its end. Maybe, just maybe this is your wall, maybe that which looks to be a dead-end is really just a season to let your roots go down deep, Maybe your dead-end is really just a false wall, a season to develop patient endurance. Click To Tweet to listen, and to develop patient endurance, to pull up some weeds, to give yourself permission to confidently go through that season, recognizing that it’s natural and necessary to prepare for growth…Because the truth is we will always go through those seasons in most areas of our life…not once…but again and again and again…but each time growing stronger…Because the real growth really does come in the hidden places of nothingness… And all things….all good things…take time to grow.

 

 

 

 

Thank you to Zakkiya at Inkstruck Studio for the pretty Free Watercolor Brushstroke shown above! Be sure to check out her lovely site at http://bydawnnicole.com/2016/12/free-watercolor-brushstroke-graphics.html

You may also like

I'd love to hear your thoughts! Feel free to share them here.