Several years ago, when my son was only a few months old, I stumbled across a great sale on perennials at a local market, marking the end of the season. For less than $50, I loaded up my truck with about 75 bunches of lilies, not knowing which ones were which… what color they would bloom… IF they’d bloom… or where I’d even plant them all, but it didn’t even matter; it was a good deal (and I love feeling like I got a good deal!).
With a tiny lot, the only space I had to work with was along the dividing line between our house and our neighbor’s. Problem was, there were a lot of overgrown honeysuckle bushes, and ivy growing up the sides of a few blackberry trees, that created too much shade for the full-sun plants. Not sure where else to go with them, I planted them there anyway, hoping they’d get just enough morning sun to keep them healthy and happy until I found a better spot.
Time went on and, as you can imagine, several plants died due to a lack of sunlight, but others flourished at the top of the hill where they received more exposure.
Last summer, our neighbor’s house was demolished to make room for a much larger home and, while I knew the brush would be cleared in the process, I didn’t worry so much about the lilies; I knew they’re fairly resilient plants and would be able to, literally, push through…especially after watching these daffodils appear, out of nowhere, amidst all of the construction.
I was so shocked by their appearance, I shared this post on Facebook:
The following week, I shared this update:
Two days later, I shared yet another update:
This year, as my lilies began to sprout, I realized it was time to move them once and for all as we now need to expand the line of river rock between our house and the neighbor’s, for drainage purposes.
With a very small backyard, and seriously no other alternatives, I took some time Tuesday night to move all of the remaining lilies to my raised bed garden, hoping they’ll survive one more year, giving me a little more time to figure out where to plant them all permanently.
As I looked over them this morning, noticing the trauma that’s occurred as many of their leaves have cracked, yellowed and dried, I prayed over them, saying,
“I know the move was a shock to your system; that you’ve been through a lot lately and you weren’t expecting to be uprooted from your home to be put into this box, but I promise you I did it with the best of intentions, knowing this is better for you in the long run.
Hang in there…tough it out…this isn’t so bad, in fact it’s better than where you were before! The soil here is much better, full of nutrients from my compost. You’ll get more sun and it’s closer to the faucet, so I can water you more often on those hot summer days that are right are around the corner.
I know it’s uncomfortable right now, but if you can just trust me long enough to see what’s on the other side, I promise you’ll be better off because of it. I’m trying to help you, not hurt you.”
As I spoke those words over my lilies, I realized those words are the exact same ones I need to say to my children sometimes – I’m trying to help you, not hurt you – reassuring them that I have their best interest in mind and, even though they don’t always understand why I’m doing what I’m doing, I’m doing it because I love them and I want what’s best for them.
Will I mess up along the way? Absolutely. I’ve never been a parent before, but I will give myself grace, knowing that everything I do for them is done with the right intentions.
As I read those words back to myself, committing them to memory so I can say them out loud the next time it’s needed, I began to wonder if those are the very same words God wants to say to us, too.
Then I remember, the only way to know for sure – the only way we’ll hear His words – is if we remove all the clutter so we can really, truly listen.
Beth Nowak is a believer, dreamer, wife and mother, former Kindergarten teacher, and founder of GivingFamilies.com where she helps parents and children (ages 4+) “make memories while making a difference.” She’s also a mental health activist, TEDx presenter and inspirational speaker promoting civic engagement as a holistic approach to healing. For more information on the many topics she presents on, please click here.