If you’ve spent any time pulling weeds, you know it is back breaking labor. And, doesn’t it seem like they just pop right back up the next day? Admittedly my landscape is usually an overgrown tangle of weeds and what used to be plants. It’s a little embarrassing but at this point it is so far down on my list of priorities that it really doesn’t get much attention. Of course, the longer I leave it, the more work it will take to get it back looking nice again.
On one rare occasion that I was actually pulling weeds, it occurred to me how much my adopted children are like a garden. It seemed like weeds would “pop” out of nowhere and require pulling. It was hard work and sometimes it seems like those weeds were sprouting up faster than I could pull them. It got hard at times to see the true beauty of the “flower” because they were hidden and choked out by the “weeds” of their former abuse and neglect.
The truth is in today’s world of divorce and hurting families, these kinds of weeds are not exclusive to foster or adopted children. Families are hurting and children are dealing with feelings of rejection, abandonment, and even neglect.
Just like my flower garden, which after some reasonably good effort on my part still looked pathetic, these kinds of weeds are not simply exterminated overnight. It takes years of patient pulling and pruning before the fullest extent of beauty will be again unveiled.
One of my daughters was so shy when she came to me at 9 years old that it was debilitating. When the door bell rang, she would hide under her bed to avoid whoever had come to the door. When we were out in public she held onto the back of my shirt so she could hide behind me. She would refuse any offers that required social interaction or would draw any kind of attention to her.
Patiently I pulled those weeds (and watered and nurtured) discovering the fears and anxieties that drove her “weedy” behavior. I learned that she was afraid of the doorbell and strangers because she was afraid that they were coming to take her away to live somewhere else. Over the past 9 years I have watched my shy, scared choked out flower bloom into the strong, beautiful young woman she is today. Turns out she wasn’t shy by nature at all. In fact, she is the social butterfly of my entire garden. Just a week ago I hugged her goodbye on the campus of the missionary school she will be attending the next three years… 600 miles from home. I am so proud of the way she has chosen to follow God’s call to serve orphans around the world.
It’s easy to become discouraged, especially if there are many weeds in your garden. I would encourage you to be patient. Keep pulling those weeds, little-by-little each day, and soon you will look back and realize a beautiful transformation has taken place. I did.