This past January my husband and I and our two kids were getting ready to move from California to Amarillo. Everything was in the moving truck, but there were still some potted plants on our patio. I stood there looking at my lovely succulents that seemed to really like the California sunshine and the persistent 80 degree weather. It would be silly to take these plants to the High Plains of Texas during winter. These plants were not built for winter, and the moving truck was full anyway.
But they kept looking at me like sad little puppies and so I moved a few things around and shoved my 11 little plants in the back of the truck, not really expecting them to even be intact 1,000 miles later.
They survived the move and sat on a shelf in my parents’ garage for the next four months. I ignored them and they ignored me and life went on. Again, even though the garage offered some shelter, I didn’t expect them to really last.
But they made it through. And so one day in May, I figured that it was probably time to bring them out into the Texas sunshine. Over the next few months of summer I took to tending them and every week or so I would take a few cuttings from each plant and add them in to a new pot. Succulents are amazing. You just cut off one part, put it in some soil, and it grows!
So now here we are at the beginning of October and I have 22 pots full of beautiful, thriving plants! Who would have thought? I like to just sit there some evenings and look at them. It’s very calming to look at their symmetry and their variations of green. And it hit me the other night how these 11 little plants that I thought had no business going to this new hard place, had doubled and totally thrived through a cold winter. The winter didn’t kill them. They are doing better than ever.
What if I could survive the winter?
What would I risk if I knew I’d make it through?
In the account of Jesus feeding the 5,000, I wonder if the little boy had any idea what would become of his little loaves and fish? I wonder if he knew what he was risking? Was he afraid that’d he’d go to bed hungry?
“Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up, ‘Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?’” (John 6:8-9)
How far will they go among so many? In Jesus’ hands the small fish and loaves fed the 5,000 with 12 baskets left over. Jesus could have called down bread from heaven, but he chose to use a small offering from a little boy who risked everything.
Sometimes I get so afraid. So I stay where it’s sunny and warm and safe, and pretend like its ok that I’m not growing and changing, and I hope no one notices that I’m actually starting to wilt. I don’t want to risk exchanging my plans for God’s plans.
Did you know that some plants have to go through a cold winter to initiate the flowering process come spring?
The cold of winter can make things grow.
What if I trusted God with my little plans, my little faith, my little family, my little life? What if I really trusted that His plan is better than mine? What if my plan looks like 80 degrees and sunny, and His plan comes with the chance of a cold hard winter?
My own dear plan. My plan tricks me into feeling safe. But only He keeps me safe. He gives me truth and purpose and love. I am His. And I am His to care for through the winter and through the summer.