Gardenias in the Garbage

gardenia blossomImage by nettsu via FlickrMy mistake tonight was having that white chocolate mocha at 8:30 pm!!  So, I’m up and just balanced my checking account and it is 2:27 pm with Storm Chasers on the TV.  (people who chase tornadoes)

I’ve been doing this amazing Bible study on Esther (see Esther Member Book: It’s Tough Being a Woman) by Beth Moore which is just a great inspiration to me.  It is a nine week study, and I bought it this past Saturday and am already on week 3!!

For those of you who know me and follow me here, this is the place I ponder and share thoughts about our wonderful Savior separate from the Cool Cat Teacher blog where I talk about technology, teaching and loving students, being a great teacher, and inspiration to do better.  Sometimes I just have to get away from “there” to talk and share the amazing things God is doing in my life in more specific ways.

Today, I saw a living picture of what I do and what I think many do when living life.

“Big Ole’ Backyard Mess” Parable

Today my family and I were cleaning up in the back yard which hasn’t been cleaned in a LONG time.  So, little trees that should have been tiny sticks were really large trees.  They were intertwined with vines and weeds and it is a total mess!!

So, as we were pulling and yanking these horrible trees to save the bushes that were there, a few things happened:

  • My beautiful gardenia bush that I’ve enjoyed forever was accidentally cut by my dear husband and is now gone! 
  • The kids drug the branches to the road and instead of dragging them outside the fence, made an enormous tangled mess on both sides of the fence that took over 30 minutes to undo.  If they had only done it right the first time!
  • Sometimes the things that wouldn’t budge suddenly moved when we did it together.

So, here is what I feel God taught me through this experience today.

Gardenias in the Garbage

1) When we let sin in our lives like bad attitudes, fussiness, overeating, sexual sin… really about anything – sometimes the beautiful things about ourselves are obliterated as we work to clean up that sin.  Like my gardenia bush!

For example, although I was SOOOOO physically fit about 2 1/2 years a go, I have let myself go and gained 50 pounds.  Yes, I said it! 50 pounds!  Yes, I have three kids in middle school and I’m 39, but my lovely figure and clothes are gone.

We are to take care of our temple, this body.  I’ve been suffering from lack of energy and total exhaustion, but it is that I haven’t made this a priority!  I also find it interesting that often the closer I am to God, the better I take care of my body – the more likely I am to exercise.  This Christmas I scheduled NOTHING, I mean nothing!  No deadlines – nothing to have to do for anyone and it is my first time in two years to sit, clean the house, mess around with Kip and just relax.  I can see clearly what I’ve done to myself.

I won’t go into HOW I’m doing this right now, but for some time I’ve been pouring out my heart to God over this.  So, since Christmas, I’m four pounds down and working out again.  My heart is ready for a lifestyle change and I’m excited!

Because, God can give back the years the locusts have eaten.  And sometimes trees that are cut off at the roots can sprout back from the roots.  It happens.  It will take several years if that gardenia bush is going to come back and it will take several years for me become restored to the size 8 I was, but it can happen!

To me, this resonates with what Beth Moore talks about in week 1 of the Esther study:

“It is tough being a woman in another woman’s shadow.” (p 9)

Sometimes that other woman is myself several years a go. 

And sometimes that is the hardest shadow to be in.

I was very hurt some time a go when I was told,

“wow, you really lost weight a while back” 

and then they looked at me like

“OK, and why don’t you do it now.”

How people treat me is so different — it is tough.  So much for the beauty queen, Georgia Peanut Princess of 1987!

And yet, I’m blessed with a husband who loves me anyway and a God who can help me get back on track.  In order to live life and last so that I can minister, my body must be in shape.  I cannot mourn for what used to be.  The gardenia bush is in the garbage, and yet, the roots remain and with attention, water, and some divine intervention, I believe it can grow back in a different way but the beauty and fragrance CAN be restored.

“This is what the LORD says— he who made a way through the sea, a path through the mighty waters, “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.”- Isaiah 43:16, 18-19

Stay tuned tomorrow for the next part of this backyard parable:  Moving Messes

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