Thursday, January 20, 2011

Giant Metaphor (let's be honest)

When we came home from our honeymoon, we found the most wonderful gift. My mother-in-law and sister-in-law had filled our fridge with essentials, cleaned the house, and organized our countless piles. My sister-in-law had also left a gift for us to find on both the front and back porches.

The six pots were filled with basil, oregano, dill, heirloom tomatoes, sweet tomatoes, and flowers. I could hardly contain my excitement... and my dread.

I kill things. I don't want to kill them, but I have this horrible habit of over-watering, over-exposing, and smothering my plants. But I determined to see these plants through. The temperatures here since October 31 have been as high as 100 and as low as 25. By Christmas I worried that the plants would all have perished. We left them indoors as we traveled for both of the holidays. After lamenting their pitiful state, my sister-in-law and her boyfriend gave us "worm tea" (home grown - the stuff left at the bottom of the bucket of worms) in hopes that some fertilizer might do the trick. They still look peaked. So then we tried placing the plants in different locations thinking the sun might have something to do with the problem. The plants were hanging on at the first of the year, but barely.

But this week, although the leaves are droopy, something new is happening. The flowers are budding, the tomatoes are sprouting and it looks like my little band of brothers just might make it.

I have an incredible season of life right now. We decided, as a family, that I would take time to work on a personal project that has been years in the making. I've talked about it with gusto, started it hundreds of times, and placed it on every bucket list I've owned since college. I over-watered it... and I over-exposed it.

So I scaled back, way back. I've held it close and tried to refrain from watering... I tried so hard that it just about dried up. Bribery, gadgets, and schedules had little effect on my own personal drive. It's a problem when your least favorite part about writing is writing. I doubted myself and have feared rejection in the worst way. If I don't actually have a finished product then no one can turn me down! No one can critique my creative work if no one can ever see my work.

In the midst of this creative project I started searching for additional employment and kept feeling as though every door was closed to me. When my last ditch effort came to nothing, it was my husband who was there to remind me: "You have bigger things to do."

Somtimes, bigger means smaller. Working out what I feel is God's calling on my life - that work he prepared in advance for me to do (Eph. 2:10) - sometimes feels tedious. I'm closed up in my house or wearing earphones in a coffee shop and I often wish I was just finished. To be honest, the prideful part of me really wants to have a concrete answer to give people who ask, "So what do you do?"

But what I've learned over the past few months is that I am not doing this to have something to do. I am doing this because it's something that's burning inside of me. Even if this never brings in a penny of income, I'm deepening my roots and coaching every bit of life that I can from this little plant.

That's a lot of metaphor. But the point of all of this really is just to say...

If you feel like your dreams were choked out, or dried up this winter, or this past year... take heart. We serve a God who has mercies that are new for us every day. Move the pots around, add some water, and let the sun do its thing.

"But blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD,
whose confidence is in him.
They will be like a tree planted by the water
that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes;
its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought
and never fails to bear fruit.” Jeremiah 17:7-8 (NIV)


jordy liz said...

i need new blooms this year... thanks for the reminder. :)

Katie said...

I'm in the same place with a big project...and it does get old explaining that I'm still technically unemployed. But I'm adding water and fertilizer and hoping for great things. Thanks for the reminder, Ginger.

Valerie said...

It helps that your project is more than budding right now!

I'm still here with a watering can, anytime you need me! (And also some Diet Coke, but that's for you and not the plant. Book. Book plant? Yeah... this is why I don't write in metaphors.)

Anonymous said...

Your words my friend are heaven sent. Needed that! Thank you so much for sharing! :) Looking forward to reading that book of yours.


Shannalee said...

This was so beautiful.

Erin said...

Oh Ginger. I have to say, that was one of my most favorite posts of yours ever. I love that you are being challenged and that you are challenging yourself. I love that you are being obedient and allowing your struggles to be vulnerable to the outside world - in turn, you are blessing and encouraging others more than you know. Thank you for being you. Thank you for being my friend.

my name is carey! said...

LOVE watching you grow. With Joy, Carey