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Growing Toward the Light

This plant isn't growing how I'd hoped. I brought it outside after the first shoots of new growth arose from the dirt. I envisioned the vine wrapping itself around the string lights that grace the perimeter of my porch- an elegant band of green vines adding beauty to my view from inside.

When the vines began to grow, I dragged a chair outside and coaxed the shoots around the wire, certain that it would grow in the right direction. It didn't. Time and time again it unwound itself until I gave up and let it have its way.

It grew into a tangled mess. Apparently, it likes the afternoon light best and constantly wraps itself around itself to avoid growing toward the dimmer morning light.

Months after giving up on my "ugly" vine, I came home one evening to find 3 blossoms that seemed to come out of nowhere. I didn't even know this type of plant produced flowers! Every day since, it has had at least one beautiful purple bloom. I've started to delight in this plant that continues growing toward the light it loves - even though it's still not growing according to my plan.

This morning I looked out the window and saw another day's fresh blooms- gorgeous and growing on the side closest to the light. I felt a moment of pride in my plant and its chaotic, beautiful growth. I wondered to myself, "Is this how God sees me?"

Most days I feel like I'm fumbling around, trying to put together a life that won't seem to get on track. Widowhood amplified this immensely for me but it's not a new feeling. Life has rarely gone in the direction I hoped.

Just as I did for my vine, I had a plan for my life. A straight, sensible line that followed a normal and well-established path. Friends can attest to the truth that all I've ever wanted was to blend in and have a "normal" life. Instead, my life has been painfully different.

For nearly 3 years I've tried to figure out the "right way" to be a young widow but it seems that even this path is different for everyone. Some move to a new home or new town, others stay put. Some return to their jobs, go back to work for the first time in years, or stay home with their kids. Some who have been widowed for a shorter time than me are remarried. Others have been widowed for decades now and are still alone. There is no track to "widow success". There's just trusting God one day and one step at a time.

I wish there was a track. I like predictability and assurances. This unique, knotted up path that requires so much trust and creates so much confusion? Not a fan.

But looking at my plant this morning, I realized that my plant is healthy and fruitful because it's growing toward the light. It looks messy but it's doing the right thing - choosing a path that leads to flourishing.

So maybe my messy life of struggle and surrender is the right path after all because I'm looking to Jesus and growing toward His light. This way has far more twists and turns than I'd like but it requires trust and trust is what He desires.

Maybe the straight line I want for my life would actually take me further from God's heart because I'd be following the crowd and not Him.

So here I am - still in a life that doesn't make sense and doesn't seem to be going anywhere predictable. But my eyes are fixed on Jesus and I am trusting... again... that right here, in the knotted up mess of my life, flowers will bloom in their time.

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