oh me of little faith

  • May 24, 2012
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Six weeks ago I surveyed my yard– dead grass, bare trees, thorny sticks snagging every passerby; the only plants thriving were weeds. I shook my head and thought, “this winter was too dry, too bleak, my garden isn’t going to bloom and thrive ever again.”

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I was wrong.

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Since my father abandoned me I’ve lost my faith in many things, and because our idea of God is so closely tied to our earthly father, I’ve lost faith in His goodness. Is He really there? Does He care? Or does He too throw his children away?

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I know I shouldn’t wonder. I’ve been blessed in so many ways– my husband, my children, my sister, my brother, my friends. Their names form a constant prayer on my lips, in my heart. Still, I feel too wounded, too broken to ever be whole.

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With my hose, I can wander the yard, begging for life, but I cannot force leaves to unfurl, coax buds on every branch or open the heavens in great wide thunderstorms to drench the earth. No goals, or mantras “do it!” bring the rose to bloom– only God’s own time.

And I think the garden is my answer– pull the weeds, prune the bushes, feed and water and pray and wait upon the Lord. Not just a week or a season, but decades, a lifetime.

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Stefan never walks to or from the house without stopping to admire one rose or another.

And most importantly, while I let God do His work, enjoy all the beauty on my way.

Stay with me just a minute while I take my rose analogy in a different direction– we’ve been to three different awards nights this week, while these evenings have their place, I couldn’t help but ponder how little a pin or certificate reveals about a living breathing person. There’s no award for Jessica who babysits her sisters after school, Kristen who paid for her own AP tests because she knew family finances were tight, Heather who has a ready smile for everyone.

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My favorite rose grows on the west side of our house, next to the garbage cans, the neighbors fence just an arm’s reach away. But it reaches eight feet tall, blooms three times a summer with hundreds of fragrant yellow cups. In the spring, when the blossoms mingle with the neighboring honeysuckle the scent is truly intoxicating. The rose is rarely noticed but blooms and blooms and blooms as if the entire world were watching, fulfilling the measure of it’s creation.

Our society may be obsessed with fame, awards and renown, but for we ordinary mothers and sons, daughters and husbands, our job is to bloom and bloom and bloom– even when the peony overshadows us, or our branches skim the ground–trusting in God in His Time.

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May 21, 2012
June 1, 2012

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18 Comments

  1. Reply

    Cheryl

    May 25, 2012

    Beautiful.

  2. Reply

    ellen

    May 25, 2012

    You are an amazing writer.

  3. Reply

    Kristin

    May 25, 2012

    You are one of my heroes. Just so you know.

  4. Reply

    Caroline

    May 25, 2012

    That was perfect. And somehow precisely what I needed to hear at this exact moment in time.

    In explanation, I’ve felt underappreciated this week because my strengths are not showy ones. I will try to remember your roses the next time I get frustrated about it.

  5. Reply

    Kerri

    May 25, 2012

    Waiting months, years, decades is SO HARD. You have been put through the wringer, my friend, and it’s heartbreaking and frustrating.

    It’s hard to live through a fallow time, but my guess is that fallow is exactly what these years are for you…time of preparing the soil to create beauty like those remarkable flowers in your garden.

    Love you.

  6. Reply

    Cath

    May 25, 2012

    Michelle – this was so beautiful and wise. To wait on God and his timing. That is key. He has wholeness waiting for you. I know this. DC 98 – “your prayers have entered into his ears…” And those roses on the west side? Such a perfect analogy. I love you.

  7. Reply

    Mormon Women: Who We Are

    May 25, 2012

    I love you. I love this.

  8. Reply

    Medland

    May 25, 2012

    This is written on my grandmother’s grave –

    The kiss of the sun for pardon,
    The song of the birds for mirth,–
    One is nearer God’s heart in a garden
    Than anywhere else on earth.

  9. Reply

    Anne Marie

    May 25, 2012

    This is absolutely beautiful writing. I am so sorry that there has been so much pain in your heart. Give yourself that time to be healed, bit by bit. Thank you for sharing your heart here. xo

  10. Reply

    Laurel C.

    May 25, 2012

    Beautiful words, and beautiful pictures. Thank you!

  11. Reply

    Will and Joan Turley Family

    May 26, 2012

    I wish I still lived across the street from you and your beautiful flowers, Michelle! Thanks for your words, they are very inspiring!

  12. Reply

    Tracy

    May 27, 2012

    So beautiful. So true. xo

  13. Reply

    Judi

    May 27, 2012

    Your roses are as beautiful as you. Wait upon the Lord…I need to remember that as well. Thank you for your inspiring words, and lovely photos.

  14. Reply

    Lisa

    May 29, 2012

    Teach me to grow roses like your roses. And teach me to be wise as you are wise my friend!

    All my love…

  15. Reply

    Kate

    May 30, 2012

    I love this!! Thank you for sharing… So beautiful!! BTW- Mary Katherine will be six months at the end of June- can we do a photo shoot? She is growing up way to fast. xoxo -Katie

  16. Reply

    Tasha

    May 30, 2012

    Thank you, Thank you for this. It was just what I needed today as my heart has been breaking. My sister is in a bad situation and has cut off all of us in her family. The pain is real, but I have faith that God will soften the thorns and return the blossoms in his due time.

    Thanks Michelle.

  17. Reply

    Rachelle

    June 1, 2012

    WOW!! Stunning!

  18. Reply

    The VIPs

    June 4, 2012

    so beautiful- your garden, your photography, AND your words. Thank you.

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