Today’s blog is a guest post. Shelly shares a radiant story of resilience.
Life is a mystery. You never know what will happen in the minutes, hours or days ahead. Learning to be present in current circumstances is a daily practice, or maybe even a moment-by-moment practice. I’m still trying to figure it out.
I planted Zinnia seeds this past spring hoping to enjoy their beauty during the summer. I was unsure whether they’d grow based upon last summer’s experience when the flowers failed to sprout. I waited in anticipation.
Last summer had been filled with change for me. I developed the habit of walking every day regardless of the weather. I changed my mindset to embrace exercise as a way of life, to love myself and to care about my physical body. This took me into emotional, spiritual and physical transition.
During my walks I cried out to God expressing my burdens. Caring for my 95-year-old mother was a privilege and honor, yet I also felt weary of the responsibility. It had been 13 years since my father passed and I assumed the role of caretaker. Now I struggled with the weight of it all. Would she live another four years? Could I make it that long with a good heart? I had my doubts. Every time I cried out to God about how weary I felt, a rush of guilt would wash over me. I’d repent for not being grateful for the honor of caring for my mom.
This cycle of prayer and anguish would repeat itself. My desire was to finish well with no regrets and a good heart filled with love and appreciation.
March 2017 arrived, I celebrated my 59th birthday. The last of my 50’s. I planned to celebrate it with friends. In the morning, I was driving to meet a friend to start my birthday in a special way. My mother called to say she twisted her ankle and was in pain. Since a caregiver was with her, I didn’t worry. On my way home, I would stop off and check her out.
This began a series of events that would lead up to my mom’s passing in June. I wish I could say those last few months with my mom were glorious and the cycle of crying out and repenting was not repeated. However, in the end I believe my heart was changed. During the same time, there were four other deaths close to me. By the end of June, I begged God for no one else to die. Emotionally spent, I didn’t believe I could process any more death.
2017 has been one of the hottest summers on record where I live. I changed my walking schedule to accommodate the heat. Struggling with grief I sank into a depression. Walking became a challenge. Instead I spent time swimming. The flower box next to the pool was a delight to watch as the flowers sprout. As the summer burned hotter the flowers grew. Their many colors brought such joy to my soul. It was as if God spoke to my aching heart through the Zinnias. Each time I looked at them, joy would flood my heart. It’s amazing to watch flowers grow. Their resilience to heat astounds me. As I continued to water them, they grew taller and taller, blooming proudly.
When grief drowns my heart, I walk outside and look at the Zinnias. Papa God touches my heart with His love. They are His smile, His eyes and His touch on my life.
Now at the end of October the Zinnias are still blooming. I have clipped off the dead ones and watched as dried leaves cling to the stems. They continue to grow taller, showing off their wonderful blooms. Delighting my heart with wonder with a touch of God’s love for me.
Their resilience is a testimony to surviving challenging circumstances. They continue to bloom even though the heat is cranked up to almost an unbearable degree. What a marvel to watch these flowers, feeling how they encouraged me during this difficult transition in life. Though the flowers are looking dried around the bottoms they continue growing upward.
My life resembles these Zinnias in many ways right now. Yet I am determined to sink my roots deep into the Holy Spirit where I can find the River of Life. To cling to the love of God in Jesus Christ and allow my life to bloom no matter what I look like. My hope is when someone sees me, I bring joy to their heart and soul. I’m learning to savor the moments. I am a marvel, a wonder to behold. By the Grace of God, I am what I am today.
And that’s a good thing. Unashamed by the dead dried leaves on my stem. I’m still growing and blooming upward.
Shelly Lubratich lives in California with her husband, Tom, and two Labradors. She leads groups that specialize in identifying and developing your life destiny.
©2017 Shelly Lubratich