Time to Bloom

I should live in a bubble. That’s what my allergist told me 6 years ago when I began allergy shots.

Yes, I’m that allergic…to pretty much every tree, grass, and weed in Georgia.

I recall walking in for a check up about a year ago and noticed an 80 year old man getting shots too. I thought it must stink to still get shots at his age. It was that same appointment I was told that I’d most likely be a “lifer” when it came to shots.

Wait a minute. I would one day be that 80 year old too. Sigh.

I have a love/hate relationship with this season every year. I love to look at the beauty of spring, as long as it’s not making me sick. It sure would be nice if things could bloom without pollen.

It’s not that easy. It’s not that easy when it comes time to bloom in life either. I’m learning that first hand.

It’s coming up on 5 years since the first time I spent a wedding anniversary without Tony. In addition to the marble we were to toss each year, he wanted us to plant a tree on every anniversary.

I only carried out his tree wishes once on my own. Since Tony loved apples, I decided to plant an apple tree that year. My sweet mom did all the research and determined we would actually need to plant two trees in order for them to eventually produce fruit. To be honest, she really did all the work (did I mention I hate gardening?). She planted them in the perfect location in my parents yard, right in the middle of where my beloved grandma’s lilies used to grow.

She named one the “Tony Tree” and the other the “Melissa Tree.”

Neither of them grew much for the first couple of years. Just two stick figures seemingly destined to never produce anything.

Dormant.

Honestly for me, it was too much work with nothing to show for it. Still mom watched and cared.

Finally a few leaves popped through.

Progress.

She pruned a few branches, then she waited.

Three more years passed by. That makes a total of 5 brutal summers in Georgia heat, a few snow and ice storms, and even a lightening strike on a nearby tree.

The two survived as if they were holding on for dear life.

Holding on.
Waiting.

I wondered if they’d ever realize their full potential. Would they be destined to “scrawny stick tree” status forever?

Mom the gardener kept tending to them, mentioning them by name. I had pretty much given up on them. She never did.

Given up. I’ve felt that way lately. It seems everywhere I look things and people I care about are changing and blooming around me. Yet my circumstances, pretty much everything in my life remains the same.

I sense God is up to something, but I just can’t see it. I’m like that stick tree, dormant and waiting for everything that needs to take place in order for me to bloom. I wrestle with these questions:

Will I ever really bloom?
How much longer do I have to wait?
What am I supposed to do in the meantime?
Will it all be worth it?

Bloom.

Right in the midst of a really rough week, my mom sent me the picture above with this text:

“What a beautiful sign. Your apple tree is blooming this year.”

Out of seemingly nowhere, my tree begins to bloom.
Insert: tears.

I see this as my gentle reminder that my Great Gardener God is very much at work behind the scenes. It took all that time, all those weather extremes, all the pruning, that tender care from my mom, and the cross-pollination with the Tony Tree, to produce those unexpected blooms.

It’s taking time and painful waiting, even the influence of my late husband, and TLC from the Master Gardener for me to bloom too. All these essential ingredients are almost exclusively unseen.

So just because I can’t see what God is up to doesn’t mean He’s not up to something. He is very much alive and at work in me.

I need only to abide in Him, to remain very close to Him and to allow Him to produce the blooms, to produce the fruit in His timing.

It’s not up to me.

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” ~ John 15:5 NIV

Dearly loved, and not giving up,
Melissa

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