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Taking the First Step

I threw out a dead plant today.

You may be thinking, “So what?” or wondering why I think this is such a big deal. To me, it’s a big step toward my healing. You see, that plant was given to my family four years ago. It was at the funeral for my nineteen-day-old child. Nineteen days old. Seems strange to even type it, because an entire lifetime was lived in those nineteen days.

And countless lives were changed.

I have learned so many things about myself in the last four years. I have learned that grief is not linear… it’s more like a roller coaster with big hills where you least expect them. I have learned that I’m stronger than I ever thought as I walk this out and continue to raise a family. I have learned that there are amazing people in this world who continue to be a source of support on the days that it hurts too much. I have learned that there are also amazing people who lovingly encourage me (and my family) to continue to move forward and “press on toward the goal.” (Phil. 3:14)

So today, throwing out the plant is a step forward, It was a beautiful plant when it was given to us — lush, green, and full of life. A couple of years ago, I accidentally overwatered it and set it out on my deck so that I could take care of it. Being the parent of young children, I promptly got sidetracked and forgot about it. It was was nearly 100 degrees that day, and the plant was never meant to sustain that level of heat, much less direct sunlight. Later that day I remembered what I had done. I went out on the deck to find a badly burned and wilted plant.

Unable to let go, I brought the plant back in and attempted to nurse it back to health. The burned leaves fell off, and eventually new leaves started to form, but it was never as strong or as beautiful as before. The new leaves were progressively smaller and smaller. I’ve known for awhile that it was time to throw the plant a way and start over, but the emotional attachment I had to that silly plant kept me from doing what I needed to do. I struggled, knowing in my head that the plant had nothing to do with the memories of my precious child or the journey we as a family have walked in the past four years. My family has done the exact opposite of that plant — we have grown in so many ways. Personally, I’ve developed a much deeper relationship with my Heavenly Father. We have relationships with people that are much deeper and meaningful because of this experience. I consider those relationships amazing treasures that I might have missed if it weren’t for this experience.

Through that plant, God has been teaching me a lesson. So many times we cling to something that is dead because we are afraid that if we let go nothing will be there. Nobody and nothing will ever replace my son. But it is not a dishonor to his memory to move forward and embrace the gifts that God still has for me and my family. In fact, if we get “stuck” in his loss, we will miss some amazing things that God planned for us ages before — knowing that my son would only be with us a very short time. But it is up to us to step out in faith and trust.

Today, I encourage you to take the first step.

“I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward – to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back.” Philipians 3:12-14 (Message)

One Comment (Add Yours)

  1. Dear Lord,
    Bless this woman as she continues to step out in faith and marvel at how deep Your love and patience is for us.

    Amen

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