I’m always amazed at people who have the proverbial “green thumb.” They know just the right mix of shade, sun, water, and good old TLC to make any plant or flower thrive.
I have one such friend with a green thumb and she absolutely lives for the spring and summer months. Her garden consists of a wide variety of vegetables, herbs, flowers and shrubs. If you happen to stop by her house when her garden is in full swing, she’s itching to show you around and introduce you to each one.
It’s all really a sight to see. Especially for someone like me, considering the fact that most of the plants in my possession are either dead or well on their way there. (You can’t be good at everything, right?)
I’m always especially amazed by the high degree of knowledge she has about the needs, characteristics and particular growing conditions of each thing she has planted.
“This one needs a lot of sunlight,” and “that one does best in the shade,” she says.
“This one is also good for keeping the mosquitoes away,” or “I hoist that one up with a stick so that it can grow better,” she offers.
My friend has an intimate knowledge of the interworking of all these growing things and through practice and determination, she’s learned to juggle them all masterfully. She knows the optimal environment each of her plants need to thrive.
Isn’t it great to know that we dwell in a garden where God Himself is the Master Gardener? Having infinite knowledge of who we are and all that we can be, He places us in the best environment for our growth and development. He knows the perfect mix of sunshine and rain that will bring forth the greatest return in our lives for His glory.
No two plants in the Master’s garden are alike.
Each of us are on a custom regimen created by the Father Himself, so we must fight the urge to compare our environment to that of anyone else. The conditions you need to thrive are much different than anyone else you will ever meet.
We thank God for the days and seasons of sunshine He gives us. He gives us periods of time and particular aspects of our lives that we can rejoice over. During these times, it’s as if we can physically see the hand of God blessing us in our lives.
When we get the promotion at work, experience the birth of a child, purchase a new home, or meet a wonderful man with a strong prospect for marriage, it’s as if we can feel the sun rays of heaven kissing our faces. It’s in these times we feel that God is good and all seems and feels right in our world.
But from time to time, clouds begin to eclipse the sun’s rays. It might start as a slight drizzle, but it’s not long before you can hear thunder in the distance.
You got the promotion at work, but your new boss is terrible and your co-workers are even worse.
The sacrifice and energy it takes to raise a child is infinitely more than you bargained for.
Your new home is cozy and whatnot, but if it’s not the water heater, it’s the furnace. If it’s not the furnace, it’s the paint peeling from the walls. There’s always something to be fixed and money to be paid.
And much to your dismay, Mr. Wonderful has a boatload of redeeming qualities, but he can also be a flat out jerk from time to time.
When enough of these raindrops pile up, that inconsequential sprinkle intensifies to a torrential downpour, and we, unable to see which way is up, can begin to feel pretty discouraged and defeated.
In those rainy seasons, take heart! In those times, God is nourishing you and maturing you in a way that sunshine just can’t provide. When the rain waters come, remember these three things to keep a healthy perspective:
#1 – Remember the reason
Growing up as a little brown girl, I used to live on a constant quest to prevent my heat-straightened hair from returning to its curly/coily state during the muggy summer months. So I wasn’t a big fan of rain, humidity, fog or anything that resembles it. Think Superman and kryptonite.
But I have to admit that after a good rain, I’m always in awe at how lush and green everything looks outdoors. It’s a reminder to me that despite the inconvenience and the gloominess that storms often bring, rain also brings growth and health.
The storms of life make us healthy and strong, if we will allow them to do so. They nourish us deep down, as we allow the tough stuff of life to draw us closer to Jesus for stability.
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. – James 1:2-4
#2 – Remember to turn the coin over
The older I get, I’m realizing that many things in my life are like two sides of a coin: There are things that I like about something (marriage or motherhood, for example) and at the same time, things I don’t like about that very same thing. But the good news is that you and I get to choose which one we will dwell on.
You can mentally minimize a bad situation by choosing to focus on the positives. Make a conscious effort to focus where the sun is shining in your life so that you don’t get overly focused on the rain.
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. – Philippians 4:8
#3 – Remember where you’ve been
Every time we experience a rainy season in life, it’s so tempting to think that we’re simply not going to make it through it this time.
That’s why it’s helpful to find a way to archive the ways God has worked in your life so that you have a way to remember all that He has done. That way, when the next storm comes, you’ll have a resource to remind you of God’s trustworthy character and faithfulness.
Then take care lest you forget the Lord, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. – Deuteronomy 6:12
Our tendency is very much like the people of Israel, who begged the Lord for deliverance, but then quickly forgot what the Lord had done for them, so it was easy for them to murmur and complain about the next difficult circumstance they faced.
We have to guard ourselves against forgetting what the Lord has done so that we can be assured of the fact that the storms of life will not overtake us, even when it seems like they will.
Have you ever used a five year journal? It allows you to record your thoughts and as time passes, you’re able to see what you were thinking, feeling and experiencing on that very same day in previous years.
I haven’t yet tried it myself, but whatever method of remembering you use, I’ll bet you’ll find that many of the storms that are now on the horizon in your life won’t be issues in the future because God will have worked them out.
So learn to relax in the hands of the skilled and caring Master Gardener! He’s got every detail of your life under control.