it was a birthday gift from a *sister, the one who filled the role of *jonathan in their david and jonathan relationship.
it was breathtaking, in full bloom the day she received it, adorned with five beautiful white blossoms. she’d never had an orchid before. it intimidated her. she knew they could be tricky to care for.
not only that, but this was a gift from a friend. what if it died? this was different than failing with a plant you bought for yourself. there was pressure to keep the plant alive and nurture the relationship that was clearly from papa god. oh boy.
over time, the delicate white petals dried up and gently fell to the cabinet below. the stems that held the petals also dried up and fell off. only a long green stalk remained where so much glory and beauty had shown weeks earlier. even the stalk began to dry up. she clipped it back, hopeful it would prevent further decay. it did not.
desperate, she cut it back again. ugh. this was a failure. no, she was failing at caring for the white orchid. so she thought.
there was danger in overwatering these plants. she followed the watering instructions. and somehow overwatered it. the little pieces of bark on the top of the pot grew mold. the small new shoots at the bottom of the plant were moldy. more failure. frustrated, she cut off some of the moldy shoots. they would not recover from the mold.
conversely, the green leaves at the base of the plant were huge. they looked healthy while the stalk that once held the flowers was dried up and quite a bit shorter than before. she shook her head. overall, the prognosis was poor. the big leaves were healthy but would it ever bloom again?
every day she looked at the orchid, wondering if she should just throw it in the dust bin and be done with it. looking at it was tormenting, a constant reminder of failure.
one day, with a burst of resolve, she moved it to the window ledge. here it would get intense sunlight whenever the sun made an appearance during the rainy winter. she still gave it an occasional drink, teetering between willing it to live and wanting to pitch it. she was sure she sucked at caring for this gift. where had the green thumbs gone?
months went by. on the saturday morning before easter sunday, she decided to give it a little drink. she considered it might be wise to turn the whole plant around on the window ledge. the backside of the orchid could benefit from the sun, too.
this complicated plant closely mirrored another relationship. she wrestled with vision, hope, and big promises from papa god about this one. all her eggs were in this one basket. the investment was great, the risk high, the reward and return not yet realized. it made her lay awake at night sometimes. what was that about walking by faith and not by sight?
reaching down, she turned the plant 180° and set it down gently. sitting back down at her desk, she saw it. there was a new, beautiful green shoot growing from the stalk she’d cut back and left for dead. not only that, there was another smaller shoot growing up at the base of the pot on the top of one of those big, healthy green leaves.
new life was springing up all over this plant.
she was dumbstruck. leaning in for closer examination with wide eyes and eyebrows raised, she found yet another new shoot growing from underneath another large green leaf. even the moldy shoots that remained were growing new shoots. what???
the stalk she’d thought was dead was now producing new life. she looked at it, tears running down her face. new life was springing up all over this plant she’d wanted to toss out.
she looked spoke to the orchid and the man she loved in her words of blessing.
“i bless you to grow and bloom more than you were ever told you could.”
the plant and the man would respond beautifully to her words of love and encouragement.
it was easter morning when she wrote this post. the deer were passing through the back yard, playing and leaping as they often did. her morning cup of coffee went down easy as she listened to elisabeth cooper (the journey) sing about the banqueting table set before her.
the plant continued to speak to her. things were seldom as they appeared. more tears flowed.
then she heard daddy god’s quiet voice break into her thoughts, mingling with her hopeful tears.
“what you see as failure, i see as growth…”
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