That grow when it’s coldest
When nobody’s watching
~ Christy Nockels, Amaryllis
God likes to whisper hope to me through song lyrics. He gifts me with hummable love letters. Ones that I can play again and again to help convince myself of truth. In this colder season of my life, and of this calendar year, I was gifted with Christy Nockel’s Amaryllis.
Before the sun set the day I heard the song, I had before me an empty pot and the ugliest of brown Amaryllis bulbs. Though it was far from pretty, with mustard seed sized faith, I cautiously dared to believe the “guaranteed to bloom” promise. Though experience gives me every reason to be expectant, this was something new, so I wrapped myself in self-protection and wondered if anything good would come of it. Maybe for others, but for me?
Maybe you can relate. Maybe you wonder if the longed for beauty in your family, or in your adoption, will come.
Maybe you dream of adopting, but fear of red tape and financial obstacles consume you.
Maybe you are on one side of the globe this Christmas and your child is on the other.
Maybe your newly home little one was just seen by doctors and there are unexpected battles to fight.
Maybe God’s got an older child for your family, but the yes is scary.
Maybe your child is grieving far longer than you imagined they would.
Maybe your beloved child is a fragile hospital, clinic and medical treatment frequent flyer and your body, mind and heart are weary from trying to be brave.
Maybe you are home with your long awaited child, and you’d like to be happy, but your heart just doesn’t feel how you dreamed it would.
Maybe your child, afraid of being once more abandoned, won’t let go and you are bone tired.
Maybe your growing up child is starting to ask the hardest kind of life story questions and you have no answers.
I get it. A couple of those scenarios have been my own. Like yours, my family has known times “when it seemed like we’d never see spring”.
This December, by the cold glass of a window, God had a sign for me about our winter. At first, it was nothing but soil and a bulb that felt too big for its pot. But then, promises of green appeared. Slowly, hope was breaking through, though it was only me that took note. Days past and I doubted again that anything of beauty could grow in this sunless season. It grew taller and taller, but would it bloom bold and red? All my people started to notice, cheer its growth on, and dare to wonder what might be beneath the surface.
This story ends well. Just as promised, my bulb “surprised the night” and five red flowers bloomed in a riot of color. So I danced a little dance around it, as one does when given such an intentional gift.
When everything was cold and dark
Your love broke through and You shined
With the brilliance of summer,
Right in the middle of winter!
You came surprising the night,
Like a Christmas Amaryllis.
This Christmas, God used an ordinary bulb, and the gifts of a songwriter, to speak to the hidden doubts of my heart. He responded to my disbelief with a reminder that extraordinary beauty can grow in the hardest of seasons. That He’s in the business of blooms, sometimes those you must wait for. That we can dance in the dark. That He generously uses the browns, greens, blues and audacious reds of this earth to send us lavish, hope soaked messages. Even in winter.
Take heart, dear ones. It might feel hopeless, ugly even. Even still, push on through the “hardened up soil”. Trust that the growth that you will experience in this silent season will be something to behold. We are a fragile people, but “Heaven gave a king”. And that King is creative and highly intentional.