I (think) it’s dead . . .
It, is Amelia, my bougainvillea plant (pictured below). We decorated our dark wooden balcony back in June with chairs, pillows, lights, a bright orange bench and small, bright orange table/stool, and a hummingbird feeder, we were both excited, and all that was missing were some plants.
Whenever we walk through the garden sections of Home Depot, Target or Walmart I get excited and start planning my outdoor garden! I imagine lots of flowers, butterflies, hummingbirds, bright colors, serenity, the sound of trickling water, and both of us lounging on chairs relaxing with a cool breeze drifting over us as we sip on lemonade. Now, what also happens on this stroll through my imaginary garden walk in Target is, “Look at them shaking . . . death valley here we come,” jokes Derrick. But in most jokes there’s some truth. I am not the best plant mother.
I kind of just forget about them one day, remember another day, but won’t go out there to water them, because I remember them as I am walking out the door, and I’ll say to myself, “I’ll water them when I come home,” and by the time I’m home I’ve forgotten about them again, repeat for a couple of weeks, until I’m outside asking, “Oh my gosh, look at my plants, they’re dying.”
When I picked out the plants for our outdoor space I specifically asked the employee at Home Depot for plants that don’t need me, i.e., will live without my attention. So I grabbed succulents, they’re dessert plants and grow great out here in California’s dry weather, lavender because I like the smell and romanticized the idea of clipping some and placing it in mason jars throughout our home, and bougainvillea, a plant/vine that grows wildly on people’s houses, the highway, and basically anywhere without maintenance, and a plant I’ve wanted since moving to California and seeing it for the first time.
After a few weeks, my lavender had went from purple to brown, and became dry and brittle, then my bougainvillea started loosing leaves and what few flower petals were there, were gone, and the succulents, were doing great, they were made for my forgetfulness.
I couldn’t figure it out or rather I didn’t want to admit I had to give more to them, and I rationalized (blamed) that I had told the lady at Home Depot, I need plants that don’t need me, ugh! As if that conversation made a difference for the current circumstance or negated my responsibility.
A couple of more weeks, and Derrick started saying, “Um, your plants look like they’re dead . . .what are we going to do with these.” I was about to consent to throwing them out, when I remembered a scene from the movie, “The Secret Garden.” The young girl asked a boy, if the garden was dead, he cut into it a plant, and said “No, it still has wick.” So I cut into the bougainvillea, and there was wet green wick still. I pulled all leaves that were dead, which were all of them off and call me crazy, but I got stuck when pulling the last leaf, I figured I deserved it. Then I said a few encouraging words to it, committed to watering it every other day, and named it, now her, Amelia (pictured below).
It didn’t take too long and green leaves started sprouting. Sometimes things look dead on the outside, but there’s still life on the inside. And Amelia may not be as big as the bougainvillea above, but we all start somewhere.
“Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin, to see the plumb line in Zerubbabel’s hand.” – Zechariah 4:10
“The mighty oak was once a little nut that stood it’s ground.”
So what’s dead . . . or seemingly so in your life? Give it a chance to grow by feeding and watering it with faith in God and action. And even if it (relationship, dream, government, career, etc.) is dead, we serve a God Who specializes in resurrecting and healing, and it can live abundantly again.
As for Amelia, I am waiting for the flowers to bloom, I imagine that will take a small effort on my part of making holes in the bottom of the pot for drainage. If only Amelia was like the highway bougainvillea, but then what would I have learned?
“Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh. Is anything too hard for me?” – Jeremiah 32:27
“And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who seek Him.” – Hebrews 11:6
“The hand of the Lord was upon me, and he brought me out in the Spirit of the Lord and set me down in the middle of the valley; it was full of bones. And he led me around among them, and behold, there were very many on the surface of the valley, and behold, they were very dry. And he said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” And I answered, “O Lord God, you know.” Then he said to me, “Prophesy over these bones, and say to them, O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord. Thus says the Lord God to these bones: Behold, I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live. And I will lay sinews upon you, and will cause flesh to come upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and you shall live, and you shall know that I am the Lord.” – Ezekiel 37:1-6
“And the dead man sat up and began to speak, and Jesus gave him to his mother.” – Luke 7:15
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the Lord, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, declares the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile.” – Jeremiah 29:11-14
“The Lord is not slow to fulfill His promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” – 2 Peter 3:9
“I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten, the hopper, the destroyer, and the cutter, my great army, which I sent among you. “You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied, and praise the name of the Lord your God, who has dealt wondrously with you. And my people shall never again be put to shame.” – Joel 2:25, 26
“Instead of your shame there shall be a double portion; instead of dishonor they shall rejoice in their lot; therefore in their land they shall possess a double portion; they shall have everlasting joy.” – Isaiah 61:7
“And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.” – 1 Peter 5:10
“The latter glory of this house shall be greater than the former, says the Lord of hosts. And in this place I will give peace, declares the Lord of hosts.’” – Haggai 2:9
“You who have made me see many troubles and calamities will revive me again; from the depths of the earth you will bring me up again. You will increase my greatness and comfort me again.” – Psalm 71:20,21