Today’s post is co-authored by Jill Williams, a precious friend and mom of two boys, ages 14 and 12. She has been married to her husband, Corey, for18 years and is a Proverbs 27:17 woman, iron sharpening iron and a friend who sharpens my countenance.
Huffing and puffing up the hill from the beach to the street above, cliffs crawling with the most brilliant red blooms, my friend, Jill, spotted a lavender flower, stunning in its stark contrast to its rocky background and all by itself, growing up an impossible incline.
Surrounded by a sea of crimson flowers, this single purple blossom existed in isolation.
Can you see it, at the very bottom, resting on the rock?
Traveling with another mom, Kelly Rubio, we were in Southern California for a Mom’s Heart Conference (www.wholeheart.org). Our sweet families not only let us go for the conference but a few extra days to relax, refresh, and play. This was one of those days.
The overarching theme of the conference was developing and holding fast to biblical ideals as Christian moms and the way our relationships, homes, schedules, and commitments should reflect those ideals. Even if they are unpopular. Even if you or your kids are the only ones. Even when people don’t like or agree with them and might reject you or your kids because if them.
It was about being a purple flower when all the rest are red.
Being the one who stands alone and stands out.
Crawling up a cliff, because nothing worthwhile is done easily.
Because up is God’s way when everyone else is lost in the crowd. Because being a Christian is often an uphill battle taken alone.
How does this little purple flower survive and even flourish in such hard conditions? It has deep roots rooted in the nutritious soil below. The soil is its home; it’s what sustains it even though it grows up.
The same is true for us and our children. We will only survive and thrive when our roots reach deep into the soil of the cross, when we abide in Christ, our vine, who explains:
I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing (John 15:1-5).
When we as moms abide in the vine, we are able to cultivate good soil for our children. They learn what it means to abide in the vine. They learn what good fruit looks and tastes like. They learn that they, too, can do nothing apart from Christ. And as God grafts them into the vine, they, too, bear much fruit.
As we continued our hike up the steep hill, we encountered other purple flowers.
Leaning in for a closer look, we discovered scores of long, intimidating thorns.
To the extent that the lavender lured us, the thorns threatened to cut, harm, and destroy, dangerous like the sin that often entices us to be part of the crowd. It is deceivingly attractive, but always leads to destruction. To reach in and touch one of these flowers would surely have drawn blood. In the same way, when we as Christians foolishly reach in to touch “attractive” sin, or when we allow our children to do so, we risk being harmed in the process.
Life comes with thorns. They are the “cares, riches, and pleasures of life” (Luke 8:14). They choke the life-giving truth of God and jeopardize a believer’s maturity.
And it’s in the thick of the crowd, when we want to fit in and do what everyone else is doing, that the thorns are the mightiest and most.
Interestingly, our solitary purple flower is not surrounded by any thorns. It is even more beautiful because it’s different, refreshing in its uniqueness. It stopped us in our tracks.
Are we blooms desperately searching for hope in the multitude among the thorns?
People need to see us as different, even if the cost is isolation.
As we flourish on the vine, willing to be the only one crawling up a rocky incline, we might just be the bloom that stops someone else in their tracks and causes them to ask, ” What is so different about this one, unique, beautiful (in Christ) flower? ”
Then we can share how our roots are strong because we planted ourselves in His vine. We can give an answer for the hope that is in us (I Peter 3:15).
Be brave! Stand out from the crowd by living life God’s way. Be a lone lavender bloom living in a rocky, dry place called culture, climbing upwards, facing the Son, and flourishing in His glory, a site that attracts others who have never seen something quite so beautiful.
Lord, give us courage to flourish in rocky, solitary places, bearing fruit and exuding Your beauty as we become wholly Yours today.