Eight years ago, a co-worker took me to a lovely house in the country–a family I had seen around church but didn’t really know. She-Carol-wanted to thin her perennial beds and we–my co-worker and I–were the fortunate recipients of those thinnings. She showed us everything she wanted to thin and asked us what we wanted. I, knowing nearly nothing about gardening, was happy to bring home two overflowing boxes of transplants, most of whose lovely names I had forgotten as well as the careful instructions per their care and preferred environment. Except for the hosta. I recognized that one right away and had seen it growing well in shade so we divided it into four small pieces and planted it along our alley garage.
Sadly, the rest of our country transplants didn’t take well to city life. Or maybe it was my then black thumb. Or maybe it never rained. Or rained too much. I can’t remember, but it doesn’t matter. The next Spring, those four little hostas faithfully resurfaced, a tiny bit bigger. I did remember the old adage for perennials–sleep, creep, leap, so I was just excited to see something green sprouting where I had placed it. I’d like to say I faithfully weeded and cared for my little miracle plants. But, we had a new baby and the next summer another and so on. This Spring, when our ever-true hosta friends emerged from their winter slumber, I realized that they probably needed some thinning of their own. They, along with some other plants around the house (mostly hostas, now that I think about it!) have held their own through four babies, two or three dogs, the neighbor kids and alley cats, and our slow learning curve concerning the subject of gardening. Those four plants are now the same size as the original plant they came from! Amazing regeneration!
And then there’s Carol. She became a dear friend. A real sister and mentor in the Lord. She made a trip to Ukraine one Spring, her husband going with her about a year later. Soon after, they sold their house and packed up the two sons still living under their roof and moved to Ukrainian mission fields to establish Christian radio and share Jesus with anyone who would listen. This Spring, they returned to prepare for their next mission field–one so dangerous they can’t even tell us where they are going. But they are going. They left for Ukraine with four unmarried boys. They returned with their teenage son and left behind two sons and daughters’ in law. Their other son lives here and is married as well. More importantly, they left behind lives changed and hearts mended by the love and grace of Jesus Christ. They transplanted the love they themselves had been transformed by and have left behind a legacy of regeneration in Christ.
I’ve often thought of Carol and her family as I’ve walked past those hostas or stopped to admire their pretty purple flowers each August. I’ve thought of how much of her life has been dedicated to thinning her own spiritual stores to share and transplant with others. I have been the happy recipient of said wealth. I want to be like that, too. I want to share out of the abundance of my own heart. I want their to be an outpouring of redemption and victory and peace from my life. And then I want others to be equipped to do the same.
Thank You, Father for my friend Carol. Bless her and her family. And like You’ve done in her life, thin me, share me. Less of me, Lord Jesus and more of You. In Jesus, Name, Amen.