Not too many things impress me like the artistry and resilience of nature.
I spend a lot of time gardening. There is something life-giving, almost magical, about digging around in soil—sowing and planting, nurturing a seed, and watching things grow. My fiery red and yellow tulips were among my favorite superstars of the garden this season.
Did you know that even after they have been cut, tulip stems keep growing? Aside from their strikingly simple beauty, tulips are truly unique in that they inherently have inside their stems’ cells a plant hormone called auxin which causes the cells to continue to elongate long after snipping the flowers for a fresh-cut floral arrangement.
Not only do tulips continue to grow at least an inch or so every day after being clipped from the parent plant, but while they’re standing pretty in the vase inside your home they will begin to bend and curve outward, reaching in every direction, yearning towards sources of light in the room. This is a characteristic known as positive phototropism.
God, the Artist Himself, has patiently shown me that I am like a tulip.
The last several years I have endured adversities I never imagined I would face, from painful betrayals and broken promises to mounting disappointments. I found myself battered and bruised by blow after blow, until I was wading neck-deep in the murky waters of depression struggling to breathe.
Depression has this way of holding you hostage in an out-of-body experience. Every moment of every day was a battle between my body and my mind. There were days I couldn’t get out of bed, shower, eat, work, or clean. There were times I cried all night and slept all day, and vice versa. I couldn’t connect the dots or put one foot in front of the other. Drapes drawn and with the lights off, I confined myself to dimmed or darkened rooms, matching my outward environment to how I felt within. I was frozen in a never-ending winter, moving at glacial speed.
Over time, the depression became less catatonic and more robotic, fueled by a steady drip of anxiety. I could dredge my way through the daily mechanics with just enough energy to survive until sunset. With each fiery arrow, I began to believe the lie that this was my life and all that it was ever going to be.
And then God reminded me who I was and whose I was, His child. Loved beyond measure, hand-crafted and intricately designed, just as beautiful and resilient as the tulip. He is the gardener who has planted within me all that I need to keep going and to keep growing, to be resilient and reach for the light.
There is another type of phototropism characteristic of other plants; it’s called negative phototropism. Unlike tulips who seek out the light, this is the tendency of some plants to turn away from light—much like I did when I was in the throes of depression, keeping the curtains closed and hiding myself away.
But God reminded me that He is the source of light. He has engrained within me a yearning toward that light, and just like the magnificent tulip He created, God designed each of us to keep growing and reaching for the light despite the sorrows we may suffer. What was intended to cut me down has not stopped my growth and my trajectory toward the light. What was meant for evil God has used for good, for my growth, and for His glory. Planted and taking root, I am a tulip in His garden.
Even when others try to cut you down, you have within you all that you need to keep going and growing. Winter has an expiration, and in due season you will reap a harvest. Just keep pressing toward the light.Leave a Comment