I'm not a morning person. I prefer to make breakfast and pack lunches without any kitchen lights on. I will not talk to you before my first sip of coffee, and you better not attempt any morning snuggles or breathe your slept-in breath on me. This past spring (any parent who is familiar with the school year cycle can relate) I was hitting the "over it" button. The monotony, the routine, the demands. Is it summer yet?
Much different than the first week of school's well thought out lunches, I wrapped a cold slice of pizza in tin foil and tossed it in the lunch sack with a juice box and a tangerine. Voilà! Eat your heart out, Pinterest.
I corralled three kiddos into the car with a mild amount of yelling and life threats and we were off to school drop off. In auto-pilot (mentally) I was just going through the motions and the car DVD player was babysitting and deterring any questions or demands from me while traveling 45...err... 35 mph all the way to school.
My freckle-faced girl got a kiss and I shouted, "Show God's love and kindness today!" as she fumbled out of the car and raced to her class to beat the bell. I stopped at the cross walk and slouched down to hide the pajamas I was still wearing and the bee's nest perched on the top of my head while simultaneously rolling my eyes in envy at the very put-together moms that somehow had managed a french twist braid and an ironed uniform on their kiddos while also sporting heels, perfect curls, and an entire face of contoured makeup all before 8 AM.
On the drive home I was beating myself up. I was recalling all the things I suck at and wishing I was that mom strutting across the sidewalk adulting like a boss. I suddenly could not think of anything good about myself or what I do. The day's tasks ahead, mixed in with the gap between who I want to be and the reality of who I am had me distraught and disheartened and discouraged. "Why even try?" I thought. I'll never be like "them" and I'll never be enough. I had wished that God made me different.
I live in a large neighborhood of older homes with amazingly beautiful trees. They are old and huge and beautiful. The shade and the canopy these sturdy trees provide are my favorite. Everywhere you look there's usually green and beauty, but in the midst of my hissy fit with a side of self pity, I started noticing these particular trees. They were filled with vibrant yellow flowers and stopped you in your tracks. Each one scattered along my drive seemed perfectly placed, like a piece of art. Some leaves had fallen on the ground beneath each one, but that didn't take away from its beauty, it added to it. I was absolutely stunned by how pretty they were. We moved into our new-to-us home a few months back and I had never noticed these trees. My husband's line of work involves knowing a lot about trees and plants, so I called him. We had both noticed the same tree on this path out of our neighborhood. He described all about the Tabebuia tree to me and a light bulb went off.
I am just like this tree. The Tabebuia tree looks like any other tree for three seasons out of the year (I use the term "seasons" lightly here in Florida. Considering it's either "hotter than an armpit" OR "slightly less scorching" here year round...but I digress). When it's not 'its season' or it's operating on someone else's stage, the Tabebuia tree can be overlooked. It's just green leaves on a scrawny tree. Next to the oaks, it seems lacking even. HOWEVER, come springtime, when the Tabebuia is living in HIS SEASON, the way and timing that God intended, it shines...it is breathtaking...it is a masterpiece.
You, my friend, and me, and the Tabebuia tree BLOSSOM if we root ourselves in who God made us to be! People, including ourselves, will stop in awe of God's masterpiece, simply to watch us shine. Furthermore, if I'm honest, I don't think many people would buy the Tabebuia tree if they focused only on the three seasons of green leaves. But it's when we focus on the goodness of springtime that it makes these trees sell out. Literally, I asked my husband to contact his friends at some tree farms and they were SOLD OUT. We cannot deny that although it blooms for a short time within spring, it is worth it to endure the mediocrity of the rest of the year.
The rest of that day I was smiling, like a goofy smile that you can't wipe off your face that may creep someone out in the produce section at Publix. Because (still in my pajamas) I realized that I could focus on the fact that I can't get my act together in the morning, or I can see myself blossom at bedtime as I read stories and pray and make up dreams for us to meet in and whisper our "secret word" with each kiddo as they feel secure and loved. I can focus on the dog hair on the floor and the dishes in the sink or the laundry on the table (because "house keeping" is a loose term in my vocabulary and I'd much rather bloom while I fluff my perfectly matching pillows than sweep my floors) or I can focus on how my home is plastered with scripture and art that speak life because I'm gifted in words and decorating and that's how I make my house a home.
Sometimes I feel like a wonky little tree with simple green leaves in a world of beautiful strong oaks. But springtime's coming, baby.
This is Candace. She hates long walks on the beach and would prefer a short drive to get a donut. Her creative spirit leaves her husband constantly guessing which room she'll decorate next and her kids requesting elaborate birthday parties. She'll tell you the truth, even if you don't want to hear it. But don't worry, she'll make you laugh to soften the blow. Her heart longs to share the realness of her life and provide someone else a "me too" in a moment of isolation. Words are her thing; she writes to heal. God grasped a hold of Candace as a teenage mama, and she's been desperate for His love and sensitive to His voice everyday since.