I remember those special holidays on Sunday mornings as a little girl when my family got extra dressed up. My dad pulled my brother and I outside and grabbed his camera to snap photos of us, super thrilled, in front of our Rose of Sharon bush. I was not thrilled by my frilly dress, curly hair, or my brother’s attitude. After the photos, we’d head off to church.
My mom was so proud of that bush, along with many of her prized rose bushes. She was the only one in the family with a green thumb. She tried to teach me the proper method to preening her roses or trimming back the Rose of Sharon, which grew well over eight feet tall, but gardening was just never my thing. Too many thorns, too many bees.
Searching for a Rose of Sharon Became a Metaphor for My Life
The Rose of Sharon is the only plant I ever really loved. I always wanted one in my own yard, but for some reason, they are very hard to come by. When I did find some, they were baby plants that I couldn’t get to thrive. I spent years searching for a more mature plant but was never successful. I had given up on my quest to acquire one until a couple of months ago when an old, mature, weathered, beautiful Rose of Sharon was planted in my yard.
Sometimes, there are things we want that just don’t come to fruition. Perhaps it’s the wrong time, even though that doesn’t make sense to us. Sometimes we pour ourselves into something we want, and it simply isn’t enough or ends up failing anyway. It can be discouraging, frustrating, and angering all at the same time, and we become tired of waiting. My little baby plants died repeatedly no matter what I put into them. The same was true of the relationship in my life.
As I grew and developed, what I wanted in my life became very clear to me. I worked so hard for what I wanted, only to be met with challenge after challenge. I couldn’t understand why things were going the way that they were, but I remained faithful to the task at hand: having faith that it would turn out in the end. I was determined to stay the course. As a chapter of my life suddenly closed, I knew God was working from the beginning. I began rebuilding my life, wondering if my sons and I would ever get all that we hoped for.
Out of Nowhere, God Showed up
All that I worked hard for, all that I knew I deserved, all that I knew God had for me, showed up in my life less than a year ago when I met the man that would become my husband. As we dated, I noticed how he met every checkbox on the list I’d created for my next spouse after my late husband’s passing.
As winter melted into spring, my boys and I headed to his house to help him “spring clean” the yard as it had been neglected over a rough winter. That morning, I pulled into the driveway and told the boys our objective for the day. I was ready to get it all knocked out as quickly as possible. But as I looked up, I found myself staring into a beautiful, mature, eight-foot-tall Rose of Sharon. It was even the same color as the one planted in my mom’s garden.
It had been there all along, but that morning, as I turned off my car and saw those beautiful purple blooms, it was like God was telling me, “I had you. The whole time I had you. I knew the desires of your heart, and I was working on them. It took time to grow this bush for you, just like it took time to prepare what I had for you.”
The way God shows us that He hears us, even on the insignificant things, absolutely blows my mind. Years and years of looking for a perfect plant, of all things, and He delivers by using it as a signal that He heard me in my struggle for what I wanted in my life, in my relationship, in my family. He met my need in a totally different way than I ever imagined. He didn’t just give me what I wanted; He made me wait. I could not understand why I was waiting at the time, but by waiting He was able to provide me with far more than I asked for.
And the icing on the cake was showing me how He’d been working in my life through that Rose of Sharon. When my husband and I became engaged, I told him I really wanted it dug up and brought to my house. I came home from work recently and there it lay, waiting to be planted. I’m sure my neighbors saw nothing but a gigantic root ball and sticks, but I saw a promise fulfilled.
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