It is difficult to be somewhere, indefinitely, for the long haul. When life has taken its toll and it has been too hard, too much, and too long. The accumulated distress has sunk my spirit, made it too heavy to keep picking up, keep walking, keep hoping.
I’ve been learning to break things down, small steps, and live in the moment. It helps my sanity for sure. It keeps me grounded, helps me focus, and teaches me the concept of one day at a time. But strangely this day looks much like the one before.
For as much as I’ve tried to rally and keep going, despite our circumstances, there is still apparently more to be learned here. God hasn’t opened the door yet. We are 14 months into unemployment, the consequence of my husband’s addiction.
Last year I bought a house plant, with leaves that were full and bushy and abundant. I was drawn to its life and vitality. It looked fresh and alive and welcoming. It seemed like a great thing to nurture and enjoy.
Over the past few months, this beautiful and thriving plant has been thinning out and dropping leaves. It has gradually gotten far worse. Pathetic.
I brought it out into the light to see if it could be revived. Now it sits right there in front of me, and I realize it mirrors how I feel inside.
Drooped. Depleted. Worn thin. Weary deep in my soul.
Like a pile of broken, dried sticks, that you aren’t even sure where to prune.
Little signs of new life, but not really sure if they will hang on and revive.
There are these honest moments, when you know you are doing all you can to live into recovery, but you aren’t sure if it will be enough to take you through to the other side.
When you are in the thick of it, sometimes it is hard to see that you are actually going somewhere. Especially when you look back and see the toll life has taken and it quite frankly has been far too much.
Bear in mind that I have no clue what I’m doing with these plants, other than enjoying a little bit of nature to care for. Another plant we had was dying. (I’m not sure if this is a pattern in my greenhouse skills, or a lesson God intends for me to learn through metaphor. Most likely both.) I decided to cut it back and prune off whatever seemed to be holding it back. It was hardly green at all, mostly just sticks. You would have thought I could have tossed it to the curb. And this year, miraculously, it is coming back.
Growth where there could have been death.
I watch these plants, wondering about this mysterious cycle of death and life. Pruning and transformation. Cut back to grow further still.
I believe authentic growth goes in cycles. There are days, seasons even, where God allows us to experience profound pain. Anguish and despair taunt us. Silence, waiting, and unanswered prayer. Days are long, months crash one into the other, and we are still here.
Scripture tells us, Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a dream fulfilled is a tree of life.
I want to be in a place of thriving — life-giving abundance in my spirit. Some days I am. I am pouring all I have into this healing. I have the eyes to see the hope. It’s what we trust in but don’t yet see that keeps us going. Fulfillment is coming. It’s worth holding on for.
But there are other times that I’m just worn out from hanging on so long. No direction or clarity. No end in sight. No new word to hold onto.
All of this purging, and pruning, and wrenching of spirit WILL birth something NEW.
Therein lies my hope and my peace, even on the days that leaves drop to the floor.