This post is by Christy Hinnant.
Sometimes when God speaks, He’s a gentle whisper. Sometimes, He’s a crashing wave. Sometimes, He’s in the breeze, and sometimes He’s in the thunderstorm. But sometimes, He’s silent for a while… and then comes up with a gentle tap on your shoulder and speaks in such a smooth, steady voice that it almost seems audible. He did that this time. I almost turned.
I have not been happy with Him. His plans and His timing haven’t fit mine for the last several months. Well, let’s face it.. for the last several years. But I had gotten through much of it and was rocking along well. After several trips up and down the roller coaster, life was good. I had found my place, had finally listened to His call for a new career direction, and I was really genuinely happy with that call.
And then it happened. COVID-19. Suddenly, it didn’t matter that I had studied for hours and passed my test. It didn’t matter that I was ready to take the next step. Because all of my life would be put on hold. And I was mad.
I miss my co-workers. I miss my students. I’m sick of my kids. I just miss my life the way it was. I’m sick of not being able to place my curbside grocery order the morning I want to pick it up. I’m sick of items being substituted. I’m sick of the cheap toilet paper we’re stuck with. I’m just frustrated.
And I spent many of my days angry. Why, God? Why did You do this to me? (As though this is world-wide pandemic is somehow directed at ME! HA!)
But I’ve started slowly feeling my heart change. Finding little moments to be thankful for… finding real and true JOY. Yes, I’m drinking way too much coffee and probably doing more online shopping than I have done in a long time (if ever!) due to avoiding stores. But I’m starting to find joy. And it was in one of these little moments of joy - sans kids, just working in my little garden area alone - that He came to me. He has been silent for weeks now, just letting me rage. Letting me ride the rollercoaster. Oh He’s been there, right in the seat with me, but He’s been silent and listening, just waiting for me to be willing to listen to Him.
You see, I’m a talker. I’ve had to really work over the years to learn how to listen. And that’s just to humans! He’s still sculpting me into being a spiritual listener. But the beauty of our God is that He knows just how and when to speak. And it was in that moment, as I took one of my most prized, favored succulents and broke it apart, that He finally placed His hand on my shoulder and spoke.
He reminded me of His parable in John 15. Jesus tells us in vs 5 that God is the “Vinedresser,” the “Farmer,” the “Husbandman,” the “Gardener,” depending on your version. You see, I knew as the gardener that I needed to break that succulent apart. It was getting too big for its pot, and it had several little sprouts off of it that were ready to be planted in their own pots. It needed to be broken in order to grow. It needed to be uprooted, separated, and replanted in new, fresh dirt and fresh pots so that it could reach its full potential. I needed to shake the clumps of dirt off of the roots, too.
As I broke and shook, and then carefully repotted each and every little sprout, He reminded me of the ways my life has been like that plant. I’ve had seasons where I needed to be broken. And sometimes I’ve been shaken to my very core. But always, when that season of breaking and shaking was done, I have come out so much stronger. I have been made fresh and new, and my faith has been strengthened every time. And yet, as a gardener, I realized that not all of my plants needed breaking right then. Some just needed repotting and fresh soil. Some needed to be moved to a new spot in the garden, where they will get better sunlight. And then others needed nothing but fresh water. As the gardener, I could look and see, after weeks of careful observation, exactly what they each needed. Just as God looks at our big picture and knows exactly what we need. We may not understand at the time, and it may be painful, but our Gardener knows what is best.
We may need to be broken. We may need to be torn, ripped apart from someone or something that has been part of our life - maybe for a very long time. He may shake us to our very core, and then place us in a totally new location…. all the while, a friend is just sitting in their same place, rocking along, getting fed that sweet Living Water and looking like everything is perfectly fine. It’s easy in our season of pruning to look at those friends who are in their season of sitting and be jealous. And it’s easy in our season of sitting to look at friends who are being pruned, uprooted, broken, shaken, and repotted and wonder why on Earth God would allow this.
Because we’re just little plants in a pot. Little vines that spring off from a much bigger branch. We can’t possibly see and know His big picture. We can’t know the Master’s plan for His garden. But we can be sure, He WILL take care of us. In another of Jesus’ parables, He tells us, “Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?” (Matthew 6: 28b-30)
So in these days of social distancing and even quarantine, when it may feel like we’ve been uprooted, ripped apart, and shaken, don’t sit and look at those who haven’t been impacted the same ways as you and be jealous. Don’t be devastated. Don’t be angry. As hard as it is, sit back and wait. Wait for the miracles to become obvious. It may take years before you understand why. Or you may not know this side of Heaven why some specific something happened to you or a family member. But don’t let it make you bitter. Look for the blessings. See your beautiful new, bigger pot, and stretch your roots deep.
Know that He will be glorified. And whatever He has done has been for His glory. Somehow. Even if it hurts deeper than you can fathom. Somehow. And know that you, too, will have your time in the sun. Time to be still and just grow. The Gardner knows that every one of His precious little ones needs rest. And in Philippians 1:6, He promises He will be faithful to complete what He has started, and that it is a good work. So stand strong, young plant. Trust the Gardener’s plan.
Christy Hinnant is wife to a wonderful man for almost 12 years and mother to three kids - about to turn 8, about to turn 6, and one that just turned 2. She is a Special Education paraprofessional in a small town near San Antonio, Texas who has been a part of Hello Mornings in some capacity since 2014. One who accepted Christ at a young age, her life has not always been easy, but she feels very blessed to have been sheltered under His wing through every storm. Christy is a blogger who doesn’t always have the words to say, or the time to write them, but hopes that when she does have the time and the words, that they find their purpose in glorifying her Savior.
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