When we were in Hawaii recently, I saw may beautiful things (duh), not the least of which were the gorgeous flowers around the islands. The smells were incredible, so sweet and strong. But one of my favorites was the lotus (I believe some in Hawaii call it the water lily as well). I’ve been thinking about that flower a lot, as I’ve recently done some reading about it. And then last week, a friend sent me some gorgeous photos of lotus flowers she had just taken, and I knew I had to write out some thoughts.
It’s no secret that life has been a bit “hectic” for us lately (hello, captain obvious!). Three weeks ago, we moved to a new city, new church, new school, new everything. We left behind a life that we absolutely loved. I have done my fair share of grieving these past few weeks. But amid that sadness and homesickness, the Lord is using the lotus flower to teach me some pretty incredible things.
The lotus flower will only grow in the mud. It lies buried under the water until sunlight comes in the morning, and the plant rises through the mud and the pond water and ultimately blooms into a beautiful pink or white flower. It’s not hindered by the mud and water around and over it; in fact, it THRIVES on those things. When the sun goes down, the flower closes and the stalk sinks back under the water for the night, only to rise again the next day.
Maybe you see where I’m going here. I’ve discovered that I really don’t embrace change as much as I thought I would because it’s terribly uncomfortable and well, if I’m honest, I’d prefer to live in my comfort any day of the year. But beauty doesn’t often come from comfort, does it? In my life, I’ve come to see that the most beautiful things I have are those which came through pain, trials, effort, tears, sweat, fervent prayers, aches, work, waiting… Things like a marriage that has endured the ups and downs of life and is thriving. Things like children born through pain, given through hardship, and loved fiercely through the fires of life. Things like confidence in who I am because I’ve walked through the murky waters of self-doubt and fear. Or the beauty of true JOY because I know what it’s like to walk through sadness and depression and not wanting to be here anymore. I can celebrate joy of knowing I’m seen and loved wholly as I am because I’ve thrown off the cloak of shame over my life.
The “mud” in our lives often leads to the most beautiful things we could imagine. And yet, time and time again I would choose not to walk through it. It’s hard to walk through mud, isn’t it? Literally and figuratively, it’s just hard. It requires effort and strength. Sometimes we feel like we just don’t have it within us to get through that mud, don’t we? Well, I’m sorry to burst any bubbles here, but we don’t. On our own, we can’t do it. It’s just not possible in our strength.
My God is so faithful. Just as he raises the lotus flower, he raises me. Just as he made that beautiful flower to flourish in the mud and murkiness of the pond water, he has made me flourish amid the “muddy” and “murky” things in my life. And he has made you that way too. His strength provides the means to rise above what could hinder us in life. His love provides the ability to hold our heads above the water and bloom where we are- even if that happens to be in the middle of a dirty pond. His sacrifice on the cross allows us to see this life with eternal perspective, knowing that what we are enduring is just for a little while- the morning will come, and we will rise to bloom again.
So, if you’re like me right now and find yourself in a season of uncertainty- if you’re just not quite sure of why God has planted you where you are, and if you’re wondering if he has forgotten to reveal his purpose to you, HOLD ON. The morning is coming, and just like the lotus flower, he will lift us up out of the waters and make us bloom. Our lives will give off the sweet smell of a God who loves us wholly and eternally and perfectly. No storm can rip us from his grip. No trial can imprison us from his will. No chains can hold us down. No doubts can erase his purpose and plan for us.
In a season of uncertainty, I’m so very grateful to know that I am in my Father’s steady arms. I know this because I am his adopted daughter, one of his very own children. If you don’t know that for yourself, I’d sure love to tell you more about it. God is for you, my friend. He loves you with an everlasting love. You can trust him.
Go bloom, friends. I’m praying for you today…
Photo Credit: Shannon Wyatt
Photo Credit: Shannon Wyatt