Bloom where you're planted
We've all heard this timeless bit of advice, the idea, being, of course, that we need to shine wherever it is we happen to find ourselves on life's journey. I'm looking out my window today at the brown earth that is mostly covered in a thick layer of snow. Temperatures are way below zero. It's hard to imagine anything blooming, literally or figuratively. This is where, as a writer, I should then point out some hardy little plant that has, against all odds, pushed its way through the frozen earth and snow and draw an analogy for my readers. Be like this fledgling little piece of greenery - beat the odds, defy all obstacles! Show what you're made of - rah, rah, rah!
Nope. I don't see a bit of green out there.
I am in a stage of life right now that feels as cold as the weather outside. Sudden widowhood has thrust me into a frozen, emotional wasteland. That sounds very pitiful, but I can honestly say that not all my days are like this anymore. Time and the sustaining power of Christ really are great healers. Still, it's not where I want to be.
Along with widowhood, I have entered the unfamiliar territory of single parenthood. I definitely don't want to be here, either. Parenting without a partner is draining, confusing at times, and something that makes me feel like a failure repeatedly. In addition to stumbling through this rocky and unfamiliar terrain I have six children with fragile hearts that have been broken by their father's death. The feelings of inadequacy and helplessness are often overwhelming.
In recent months, I have attended a couple of events in our area designed to minister to the single parent. I've been grateful for these, but at the same time, I have struggled. My path to single parenthood seems different than most. I know not all single parents chose this path. There are ways, besides the death of a spouse, that can result in unwilling single parenthood. But still...
My pride wars. I waited to have children until after I was married. My husband I remained married to each other even during times it would have been easier to walk away. We chose to follow God's design for the family...and yet, I still ended up as a single mother. It's not fair! At one of these events the women at my table were moaning - with good reason - about the various trials they were experiencing that involve lawyers, court dates, visitation hassles, and so on. One of the women turned to me and commented, "You are so lucky you don't have to deal with any of this!"
Well, I'm not so sure I'd refer to myself as, "lucky."
But God is nudging my heart. He reminds me of what I know already. My husband's death was a result of the sin-sick world in which we reside. We all have an eventual date with death. But more than this, He reminds me that nothing happens in my life without being filtered through His loving hands first. God has a perfect and good plan for my life and those of my children.
Right now, that good plan involves single parenthood. I can fuss about it and complain about my lack of ability, but in the end, it changes nothing. More than likely, I will be doing this single parenting thing for a long, long time. All I can choose is my attitude.
I can choose to remember that the God Who held me upright when the sheriff's deputy delivered the terrible news that night my husband died hasn't changed. I can choose to remember that the God Who gathered me close to Him when I had no more tears and wondered what would happen to all of us still holds me. I can choose to remember that all our needs have been provided for. I can choose to remember that while single, I will never truly be alone.
I can choose to bloom where I am planted.
Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, to be content.
Photo courtesy of nature.deesktopnexus.com