In a previous season of life, I had an herb garden. It was little but it was loaded. I was happily growing rosemary, mint, thyme and a few other things on the window sill in my high rise apartment. I loved grabbing a few herbs and adding it to a dish I was making, even though I often had to supplement with store-bought ones. It was nice having a little nature, some greenery, in a concrete jungle. But then I had to go back to Georgia for Christmas break. This ended up being the hardest holiday season I have yet to encounter. My sister affectionately refers to it as “the worst christmas ever”. My life had been turned upside down just a few days prior to leaving for Georgia. Despite my families valiant efforts to rally behind me during this dark season, we all were feeling the weight of what I was going through. I spent the break grieving and hiding away from the issues I’d left behind in Chicago.
But eventually, I had to return to the ice cold, hollow city I now called home. I walked in my chilly apartment for the first time in 2 weeks, still shattered from the events that had transpired weeks before. I scanned my studio apartment for anything that would make me feel at home, comforted or at peace. I spotted my little herb garden in the corner on the window sill. It hadn’t been watered or tended to in weeks. It was dead. It looked more like a desert than a garden. I’d held it together the whole plane ride home, but this was just enough to send me into a downward spiral. At one point, I was living the dream with my whole future planned out. And now? Now there was nothing. Nothing I had dreamed of when I packed my bags and moved hundreds of miles away had really panned out like I planned. And this dead garden was mirroring exactly how my heart felt.
But I was here. I was in chicago, I was in this apartment, and this was my life now- whether I wanted it to be or not. So I dropped my bags, changed clothes, and went to the kitchen. With tears streaming down my face and shaky hands, I filled up a pitcher and started watering the dead plants. I don’t know what I was thinking but I just decided that these plants would live. I couldn’t control the other things in my life that had died but maybe I could salvage this little garden.
I watered it for weeks and the dried cracked stems remained the same. Until one morning in January, a green leaf popped up on one of the branches. And then another and another. And soon enough the whole thing blossomed back to life. My herb garden was restored. It was revived. And it was better than ever. I remember the day I called my sister and screamed “Its alive! My garden is alive!”. She celebrated what seemed like a minor victory. But what we both knew was that in the the time it took for my garden to start to flourish, I had too. I took the same approach with the plant that I did my life. I took it one day at a time. I healed, I grew, I prayed, and I was patient with myself. I watered myself with the Word and prayed myself through every day. I didn’t rush the process of moving out of the tough season. I didn’t take matters into my own hands to rush a revival (internally or externally). I embraced the hurt it brought and found ways to keep moving forward. I let the Holy spirit resurrect me in HIs own time.
There are some things that are just essential to our livelihood. Like a little garden needing some water, we need Jesus. Just like it took a while for the plant to come back to life, we have to be patient with the work He is doing in us when we feel dead. Eventually we will bear new fruit when we are connected to the one true vine. Eventually, will be like the dead bones in Ezekiel 37 and go from dust to army. Eventually, we will walk out of the tomb just like Lazarus. Eventually, we will be restored, renewed, revived and rebuilt. Because that is the God we serve.
So if you find yourself hitting rock bottom, the kind where you just can’t even get air. The kind of rock bottom where standing seems impossible and the days seem to never end. The kind of rock bottom where you just don’t see how you’ll ever come up. Don’t quit. Keep watering yourself with the things you know to be true and eventually you WILL bloom again. Don’t give up too soon. He is a master gardner.