I didn’t inherit my grandma’s green thumb. Whenever I receive a small potted plant as a gift, my kids take bets on how long it will take for me to kill it. Yeah, my black thumb is no secret.
For the most part, I’ve given up trying to plant flowers in my front yard, but last spring I gave it another try. My daughter was graduating from college and we were having a lot of people over for her graduation party, so I made a trip to Home Depot and stocked up on lots of pretty flowers and greenery.
An afternoon of digging and planting made my front yard look party-ready, and deep down, I hoped the flowers would last longer than the weekend.
After a few weeks, the flowers eventually did die, and I dedicated the next Saturday morning to pulling the dead plants out of the ground so I could throw them away. In my defense, the heat and drought in California didn’t help much. Still, some of my neighbors kept things alive, why couldn’t I?
But before I could pull on my gardening gloves, my kind husband, who usually rises hours before me, cleared the front yard of anything resembling death and decay, and to my surprise, he transplanted most of it to the backyard. He even set up the outdoor canopy we use whenever we go camping, and underneath it, he created a temporary garden. He said the flowers needed less direct sunlight, and he planned on nursing them back to health.
I appreciated the sweetness of his gesture, but I admit I remained a bit skeptical. I mean, dead things don’t generally come back to life, but my husband assured me they weren’t all dead. He said he removed some of them, but many were still alive, just brown and dry. They simply needed some care.
Now September is here, and the weather is only slightly cooler, but you know what? Those plants under the canopy in the backyard are turning green again. It’s amazing what a little shade and a little love can do.
I’ve been thinking lately about those plants I was ready to give up on. I had every intention of digging up the ugly weed-like things and throwing them away. I didn’t see any life left in them at all. But someone else saw something I couldn’t see. Someone else saw potential where I saw only decay. Someone else saw a way to nurture them back to health and beauty.
It’s all made me wonder, What else do I give up on a little too easily? Is there something I’m ready to throw out because I can’t see its potential? Is there something in my life that feels lifeless and unfruitful and I’m ready to move on? Is there a relationship where I’m tempted to throw in the towel? Or a project I’m ready to quit?
And then I remember: we serve a God who specializes in bringing dead things back to life. When the Son of God lay in a tomb, the disciples ran and hid, grieving the death of their friend, as well as their hopes and dreams. But death could not hold Him there. Jesus defied death, not only by coming back from the grave but also by giving eternal life to all who believe.
This is His gift of grace to us. And the same grace that gives life to our souls can also give life to our hopes and dreams. Grace can mend the broken and restore the lost because God alone can breathe new life into the dead and forgotten. For He is the Giver of all life.
Where I see impossibility, God sees possibility. When I’m ready to quit, God is just getting started.
Maybe that’s you right now? Are you soul-tired and heart-weary and more than ready to give up on something or someone? Do you need new life breathed into something? A strained friendship perhaps? Or a fainting dream?
Let’s make today the day we give it all to Him, because He’s still a miracle-working God.
In my backyard, the deep purple asters have sprouted tall and lush. Even the gentlest of petals, the petunias, have returned and bloomed a vibrant magenta. Together they sway in the evening breeze, reminding me not to give up on anything, or anyone, too soon.