I was so excited about the backyard plans when I saw them; they were so gorgeous! But as soon as the landscape architect mentioned that a door would come out right on top of my precious peonies, I stopped listening. You know how I feel about my peonies! And if you don’t, they’re my prized possessions. They represent God’s provision in my life, and they make all my neighbors jealous — just kidding, I share!
We were told that we would need to move them now or lose them forever. I’m not lying when I say I asked my husband if we should wait until after the peonies bloomed to start the project. He turned toward me and said, “If you want to make this space what you’ve envisioned, you’re going to have to move them. If not now, you’ll be in this same predicament later.” He was right. I tend to delay anything that makes me uncomfortable.
So, I watched videos on how to properly move the rows of bushes. I even consulted a peony farmer. Then, grabbing a shovel, I stood over the peonies and prayed, Lord, You know how I feel about these things. Please don’t let me ruin them. Help me do this right. It seemed like a really silly prayer. I’ve never prayed over flowers before, but I figured I needed all the help I could get. Moving the bushes took the better part of the day, and it gave me a lot of time to think. What would God teach me this year with the peonies?
As I separated the bushes with the sharp spade, I could feel it dig into some of the tuber roots and I cringed. I remembered what I’d heard in the video, “As you can see here, I cut into these roots. But don’t stress over that! These roots will heal. They might not bloom this year, but that’s because they’re healing below the ground. And when you split them, they’ll sprout even more blooms.” I thought about that as I continued to dig and uproot the peony bushes.
God has been dealing with me on some root issues in my own life, and it has felt very painful. Recently, I told my sister over dinner, “I know God’s dealing with me. It’s like He’s resetting me. I can’t figure it out, but it’s just such a tender time. And I don’t know why He’s choosing to do it all now.” Resetting. Timing. Painful digging around roots. Oof, I understood that.
The peonies didn’t know why I was moving them. They were doing what they had always done, growing toward the sunlight as usual. And here I came with a shovel. But they couldn’t see the future of what would happen to them if they stayed where they were; I did. If I didn’t move them, however painful it would be and even at a loss of blooms next year, they would be trampled, dug up, and discarded. So moving the bushes now was out of love, not carelessness or inattentiveness, not disregard or wrath. It was because I cared for them and wanted to help them bloom even more fully later on.
In Luke 12:27-28, it says we should consider the lilies and how God clothes them and takes care of them. If God does that for the flowers, we shouldn’t be anxious because, duh, how much more will He do for us? And I love the red-lettered verse straight from the mouth of Jesus that follows soon after:
Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.
Luke 12:32 (ESV)
God compassionately guides us for our good and out of generosity, not punishment and anger. He gives us the kingdom and spares us from death. He is all-knowing, all-seeing, and He desires to heal us at the roots so that, in due time, we can bloom more abundantly.