We walked along the front of our home as spring unfurled and unfolded into summer. The tidy row of boxwoods dotting the front of our home now greeted us as an unshapely, zig-zagged blob of green.
All winter, as I sat in my chair for my morning coffee, these tidy, dormant boxwoods greeted me from outside the window. Now, after enduring ice and wind and frigid weeks, after the softening and warming of the soil, they’d more than sprouted. They’d exploded. When had this happened?
I mean, I know growth happens. Winter is hard, and then spring comes, and things grow. That’s the rhythm we know and expect. When I’m deep in my own winter, fighting through the ice and wind, waiting for the thaw, I know spring will come. But the way these boxwoods burst forth into this season stretched my understanding of how much things can grow. They grew beyond the boundary I’d assigned them.
I guess I expect prim and predictable and proportionate. And this messy eruption, an unashamed, burgeoning new growth—well, it was a bit unruly.
I think of times I’ve waited to emerge from the deep places, and how the actual unfolding looks nothing like I pictured. My own growth looked much more like an unshapely blob than a pretty picture. But God isn’t usually in the business of predictable, neat growth, is He? The leap from dormancy to growth is often uncomfortable. The emergence of beauty is often messy.
Seeing these unapologetic boxwoods challenges me. That’s the way I want to grow.
What if I can lay down my expectations of an orderly unfolding? What if I can dare to dream of flourishing even while I’m in the dark places?
What if I can imagine His plans for my own wild growth, even when I’m in the dark?
Friend, may we trust God enough in winter’s dark to know that, when He brings us to spring’s light, His plans for us will reach ahead with untamed abandon. Because the season will turn. The growth will come. And His plans will be more than we can imagine.
So much “yes” in these words! Grow is hard and sporadic and messy and too often we think it should be full and lush and beautiful. I’ll never look at my boxwoods the same way again!