If you didn’t know any better, you might not guess that depression slinks in the shadows for me, that there are times I have to fight back this depression-darkness with all I’ve got.
And if you know that kind of depression-darkness, you know that when it is lurking there around the corner that it is then you are at your weakest to fight this battle. That “all you got” doesn’t seem nearly enough.
You know it is here we need a Light of epic proportions.
It is here we need a strength that isn’t limited by our own personal weaknesses.
It was during one of these hardest times that I learned one of my most valuable heart lessons and met the One Who is the Light.
I was a new mama, navigating all the responsibilities and surprises that a new baby brings. I was struggling to cope with the readjustment required due to my husband recently returning from the War and he was dealing with battles of his own. I also discovered that moving back to my hometown was more difficult than I first thought, as I was different since being a military spouse. I struggled to find a new foothold in an old place.
Every task became an obstacle.
Every disappointment seemed insurmountable.
It was at this time that the simple chore of mowing the back yard became a most beautiful life lesson.
But not before it brought me to tears.
With a baby on my hip, husband working insane amounts of hours and dealing with battles of his own, bills piling high and the to-do list filling a legal pad, I sat in the bathroom on a small sitting bench below the window and cried. I had just looked into our back yard to see that the weeds that had been tiny just a few days ago had grown and were now stretching tall enough to reach above my waist.
I would never get the backyard cleaned at this rate.
How would I solve any of the problems if they kept “growing” like this?
These backyard weeds were like icing on the cake of the trials we were going through. The tears fell as I recounted everything that was going wrong and all of the things I just wished would go right.
Life was beating my hopes and my heart to a pulp.
I suddenly felt a stirring within my heart.
It wasn’t something I heard, just a knowing that I needed to take a second look at our yard.
I reluctantly—doubtfully—stood up, wiping the frustrated tears from my eyes. I looked out of the window and what I saw made me gasp with surprise.
My backyard was still full of waist-high weeds that desperately needed tending. But within and around and throughout the weeds were dozens and dozens of flowers.
So many different kinds I don’t even know what they all were.
So many beautiful flowers speckled that browning weedland of my backyard with their brightly colored faces.
The breeze was blowing and it was as if the flowers were waving. As if God were whispering to my heart; Him teaching me with this one impactful lesson to not only LOOK but to SEE.
Teaching me that I have the CHOICE to see.
I can choose to see past the ugly and to see all the beauty still around me.
I can choose to see His heart and hands and beauty that is in this world-in my very own back yard- in my very own life.
I was so surprised I had to sit back down and catch my breath.
Just a few minutes before I had stared out this very same window into this very same yard and not noticed a single flower. I was so focused on the weeds, on the hard things ahead, on the things growing where I didn’t want, I hadn’t noticed the beauty around me.
I missed every bright and waving flower because I was only looking at the weeds.
How many flowers had I missed so far in my life?
My heart was lit afire.
I didn’t want to miss beauty any more.
I didn’t want to focus only on the hard, the ugly or the broken.
I didn’t want to be blind to God’s Presence, His gifts, His light.
In this sweet moment He gave me a gift that has carried me through deep valleys.
This gift of His sweet truth still carries my heart through troubles today.
This is truth- that no matter what, God is good.
The truth that, no matter what, if I keep my eyes on Jesus, on the One Who gave so I could live, I would always be looking at Beauty.
I prayed then, and I continue this prayer even now, that my eyes be opened to His beauty here and in this moment.
This isn’t a “rainbows and butterflies” kind of thinking.
There will be broken hearts and hard times and sickness and death and all of the heartache in between.
Spotting a flower doesn’t take away the pain.
But learning to look for God’s presence in the middle of the mess has helped me to see more of His heart both for me and for the world.
It has taught me how faithful, how loving, gentle, strong and merciful God is.
It has taught me how to fear less, how to trust Him more.
When I surrender to God’s plan and I trust that whatever is happening today God can use it for my good and His glory, then the life I get to live, even though studded by struggles, it isn’t a life of ugly wasteland.
It is a life of grace and goodness.
It is a life where pain and hardship are not without purpose.
It is a life filled with light and beauty and love.
Even amongst the weeds.
by Karey Davenport
For further reading:
Psalm 34:18*Psalm 23*Psalm 18:6, 17-19*Psalm 18:28-30*Micah 7:8*John 8:12*
2 Corinthians 12:9*Numbers 21:9*John 3:14-15*Hebrews 12:2*Daniel 3:18*Genesis 41:52*
Romans 8:28*Philippians 4:13*1 John 4:18*John 3:16