Tending to Our Flowers
by Katherine Craddock
"All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field.” Isaiah 40:6
By Christmastime last year, I was sure my 10 month old son was well on his way to being an early walker. No one who saw him could ignore his enormous size — his body seemingly chiseled out of pure muscle.
But as his birthday neared, and the other children his age began toddling around on two legs, my son began to “walk” in his own way … on his knees. He was lightning fast, but his odd behavior was painfully awkward to watch and impossible for friends, family, and even strangers to ignore.
Deep, deep inside, I knew that if I was patient, one day this powerhouse would not just walk, but run, and perhaps one day become the consummate athlete. But day to day, the nagging doubts attacked my belief in my son’s abilities. The constant pressure and endless comparisons from other moms chipped away at my resolve.
So there were blood tests and doctor’s visits, neurological referrals and endless amateur home occupational therapy sessions. The entire “village” turned out to pray and teach my son to walk. And then, one day — deep in the summer months — he did it. All on his own. My half-crippled son walked on his feet. And not just walked, but ran.
In God’s perfect timing, the beauty of my son’s athleticism finally and joyously blossomed (and with the help of more than a few gardeners along the way!). And so it is with all of our children — their glory is like the flowers of the field.
For each generation, God has prepared an entire garden of flowers. Some, like tiny crocuses, tulips, and hyacinths, bloom early in their lives. Their soft beauty, strong resilience, and beautiful fragrance give us a reminder of hope and resurrection — then sweetly melt away.
Other children burst forth with wild, exuberant colors in their elementary and teen years. Some will blossom and bear fruit later, in the middle of their lives. Other cut flowers fill our homes with color and fragrance and life until they are suddenly gone.
There are loud, attractive summer sun flowers like echinacea, Russian sage, daisies, and black-eyed Susans. There are thorny briers that burst into rose blooms, and quieter shade plants like hosta and hydrenga who bring beauty and peace to the darkness.
And last of all, there are the plants that have been patiently and steadily growing all along, looking like nothing much. Entire seasons of life can pass before these flowers find their voice. But when they do, the asters and sedums, chrysanthemums and hollies remind us of the beauty that was, and is to come.
Who can say which has more beauty or value — the crocus or the rose? Each, when lovingly tended, is unique in its own strength, and has no need to be compared. So whether your daughter walks at 9 months or 19 months, or whether your wild son behaves as early as Pre-school or not until after College, be encouraged every child — “gifted”, “disabled”, or “normal” — will bloom with great beauty in the Gardeners’ time.
Katherine Craddock is a writer and pastor’s wife who is the oldest of nine children and mother to one Kindergartner and two preschoolers of her own. She lives in Chantilly, Virginia and is part of The King’s Chapel MOPS.