I love tulips. They are my favorite flower. They are beautiful in a simple yet bold way. Simple green stem, bold colored petals, not too frilly, just lovely. But what I love most about them is that even after they are cut they keep growing. It is miraculous really. And they always grow toward the light.
My husband bought me some tulips a few weeks ago. Two huge bunches. Beautiful, bold, lovely, hot pink tulips. He knows how much I love them. They sat on my mantel in a vase for a week, growing each day toward the sun that streamed through the living room window. And then one day I walked down stairs and saw that my beautiful tulips had slumped over and the petals were falling off onto the floor. I couldn't even bring myself to throw them away. I just left them like that. Eventually my husband cleaned them up and made room for a new bouquet of flowers on the mantel. But this time I put lilies and roses there. I didn't want to watch another bunch of tulips grow then wilt. The symbolism was too strong. It hurts my heart too much.
Tulips remind me of my little girls. Even after they were born they continued to grow. Their little bodies continued to develop. Something inside them continued to try. They did their best to thrive even though they were separated from me so early. It was amazing to me. Even though I was scared, I was amazed. I knew that although they were separated from me, the were not separated from God, who had a plan and purpose for their lives. And that gave me hope.
In the end my deepest fears came true. My amazement became disappointment and my hope to keep them faded as I watched my girls slip away from me. Their ability to overcome was limited. They would not be with me in this life. Like little tulips, they continued to grow for a while, then wilted. How quickly they bloomed and faded.
Yet unlike tulips, my girls have more to their story. Their bodies may have faded in this world, but were restored in heaven. Their temporary lives were so short, but they live eternally in the arms of their creator. They no longer struggle to reach toward the light, but exists in THE LIGHT, in the presence of the Almighty God, in perfection, in glory.
Now I strive to be more like a tulip, always growing toward THE LIGHT. And I have a new hope. The hope of seeing my girls again someday. My girls' deathes has instilled in me a deeper longing to know my God, to be sustained by Him, to be comforted by Him, to love Him, to wait on Him. I choose to stay attached to the vine despite my questions and the permanent ache in my heart. I choose to live, not just exist, as long as God allows. Like my girls, I desire to keep trying and to keep growing, all the days of my life. No matter how few or how many God grants me.
John 15:5 "I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing."