My mom gifted me this pot of succulents the day I turned 23, and it’s been with me for six birthdays since. And while some of the plants have died, and I’ve planted a few new ones along the way, the jade has been a slow and steady grower.
(Here's back when the jade was just a baby)
It wasn’t until early spring last year that it occurred to me to prune the overgrown leaves, and the sheer amount of growth upward I’ve seen since has been unbelievable (note the more outward and overloaded growth in the photo above for comparison). This plant's response to my actions has brought to life for me the illustration of sanctification and the painful but needed times of pruning by the Father for disciples of Jesus. And man, how I’ve needed that reminder these days.
Paradoxically, this pain for the believer is full of hope. And it can make us more keenly aware of the love of the Father. He doesn’t leave us to ourselves, and it's my prayer that we would have eyes to see the hope through the pain and the courage to ask for help in whatever capacity we need.
I stumbled across this quote below while listening to "The Next Right Thing" podcast by Emily P. Freeman, and I found it encouraging and hopeful in the wake of these thoughts and maybe it will be for you too.
“I hope you see hope and good where you are right now.
I hope you accept that each moment is a step on a journey and part of a bigger and better thing but the journey can be scary.
I hope you grow in connecting the dots between the moments, the scary journey, and the bigger better thing.
I hope you think and dream but pursue your hope with faith and action. I hope you spend more time pursuing than regretting, second guessing, and woe-is-me-ing. I hope you accept confusion, questions, crooked lines, fatigue, fog, loneliness, darkness, rejection, and low self-esteem as part of the journey of hope.
Finding strength in the Lord your God is no guarantee your hope will be fulfilled, but it is strength for one more step than you think is possible. Sometimes the next step is all you’ve got, take it.”
-Gary Moreland, Scary Hope
Here’s for hoping and for taking next steps—for growth that may be painful, or slow and steady, but all from the faithful hand of a loving Father.