Friday, May 13, 2011

If Life Were Without Difficulty

Water pours from my garden hose, its impact creating a puff of dust. Just yards away, children play on the dirt pile, two of them using pointed trowel as chisel until their buckets are filled with handfuls of the loose dirt, wispy spirals slipping through fingers in a wind-blown cloud of brown.

It’s been like this for a few weeks. Standing in the yard with the wind at my back, I know I must look like the Peanuts’ character Pigpen, billows of dust rising beneath my feet as I cross parched earth, cracked from water’s long absence.

I offer a splash of life to the grass, roses, blueberries, and saplings planted last winter. With temperatures already in the 90s, it’s a process I must repeat several times a week just to maintain.

By the time I reach the front yard, a late-afternoon shower is building to the north east. I ask out loud for God to reverse a rumbling cloud’s direction and send its wet darkness to me. I remind God of Wyatt’s l-o-n-g, heartfelt prayer from the backseat last night: “God, can you please send us some rain? You used to send some, but now you’ve just stopped. And the plants and trees need some rain. If you don’t send rain, mommy has to water the grass and flowers………..and that’s hard work.”

With our combined prayers, I work expectantly, waiting to feel the soft, cooling touch on my skin. But the drops don’t come.

This desire for more water isn’t what is making nationwide headlines. Here in Louisiana at the Mississippi River’s mouth, people are already preparing for its estimated peak on May 22. I know of several who have moved out all their furniture and dug up a yard-full of plants in anticipation of the Morganza Spillway being opened to divert flood waters down the original path God intended.

Four weeks of flooding is what the meteorologists are saying. When I look at my backyard, it’s even harder to fathom the bulk of water rising a mere half hour drive away.

Everywhere I look, though, I see struggles, suffering, pain, loss. Even in my own life, I fight against wanting all my prayers answered now, against wanting everything to be easy like it once was—a secure career, a steady stream of money, a future anyone would label successful.

Then, I pull the hose to the cedar tree and find God’s surprise just for me. Four brightly colored ladybugs wait, scarlet striking against the verdant branches. I shouldn’t be surprised, though. God knows I’ve been thinking about ladybugs ever since Jennifer @ Getting Down With Jesus wrote this week of these creatures and their link to faith in her own life, believing when we don’t see.As an avid flower gardener, the ladybugs speak a little differently to me, a sign that there are likely aphids on my tree—trouble in paradise. I saw some of those liquid-sapping destroyers just this morning on my asters.

My mother in law has said before that you won’t see lady bugs in a garden unless there is ample food to make their stay worthwhile.

In other words, if my garden has no problems, I will miss out on the beauty of something as simple and majestic as a ladybug, her wings that can beat 85 times per second tucked beneath glorious, hard red and black cases.

This is the thought that I have dwelt upon since Monday, one God through His creation just confirmed as being not my own…comfort for weeks like these when I wonder why and struggle with the circumstances He’s asked me to live through in victory.

What beauty…what joy…what of God would I have missed out on if He had answered those oft-repeated prayers and made my path easy, perfect? It’s a sobering thought.

I could have missed the ladybugs.

**Saturday Update:Praise God, He sent us an inch of rain last night! Ten minutes away, my parents only had 1/4". I am thankful for this grace.


  1. Beautiful, as always. Your words create such amazing imagery. I can just picture you standing in the dirt, looking for hope. Have a blessed week, and yes dear Lord, please send Jennifer some rain!

  2. Oh Jennifer! What a joy to find your ladybug story. You've enriched my own experience by bringing your eyes to the beauty.

    How blessed I am to know you.

  3. Jennifer: God used you, my friend to direct my thoughts so that He could speak beauty to me four days later in the midst of what I considered a "chore." I am constantly amazed at how our obedience to just write God's thoughts to us here in cyberspace can be a blessing to others. Thanks for being my blessing last week!

  4. Jennifer, I sat here typing a long comment. A way too long comment. In awe of that night last Friday and God's answering of prayer. His Sovereignty. I lost it. :( But it's just as well. I have a blog post to do and will let you know when it's up. Then I won't be taking up so much comment space.
    I'm just so grateful for how He worked, answered prayer, that very night... so stay tuned.