Perfectly Imperfect

A Spiritual Journey: Learning How God Paints Us Beautiful

Concrete, Succulents, and Rose Trees

Posted by Kristy Lahoda

Faith arrived in a different part of the country—a foreign land—the day before. She’d been to that town before—three years earlier—and looked forward to re-exploring the place that would be her home for four and a half days. The next morning, she ventured out in her running shoes.

As she moved her feet, sometimes with hurried stride and other times slow in step, she scanned her surroundings. Cute little cottages—the classic architecture of Craftsman homes—surrounded her. West Coast homes were nothing like Midwestern homes. That neighborhood’s houses were mostly stuccoed exteriors as opposed to the paneling she knew. Their garages were detached—they weren’t the Welcome-to-My-Garage homes which characterized many a Midwestern plot in her town. The houses had a way of flowing into the landscaping, or did the landscaping flow into the houses? Nearly every lawn appeared to be professionally manicured and meticulously pruned.

And the Rose Trees—oh the Rose Trees. Until three years ago, she’d never seen anything like them.

But there were things she didn’t like. She was originally from a small Midwestern town in a state full of wide-open spaces. The yards in this city and neighborhood were small, and some yards were even concrete. It seemed appropriate for a place in which she had a liking yet had values that didn’t match her own. Concrete values of hard workers, impervious to failure, led to concrete success and concrete wealth aplenty. But concrete wealth can lead to a concrete soul.

What did those who were so driven as money-makers gain in the end? They couldn’t take it with them. Sure, they could be buried with it, but it would stay with their shells that would soon decompose. And money decomposed too. Were they able to enjoy their lives, or were they too busy with long hours and hectic schedules that left little time for living?

Faith was a swimmer, and the ocean felt like home to her. And she experienced God in nature, so the mountains felt like home to her too. But the vegetation in the Valley reminded her of a place half way around the world. She’d enjoyed her time there too but was ready to leave after a few days. For some reason, some of the vegetation of that climate and this oppressed her. Succulents reminded her of a desert. And most life doesn’t thrive well in deserts.

For the umpteenth time, she contemplated why she was there. She’d be headed to a Mountains soon to try to sell herself. Not her body, but her mind and creativity. And it wasn’t her—it wasn’t who she was. She wanted to be good at what she did, but that also included having a Platform. In the three years she’d been trying, she still had no stage upon which to stand. Promoting herself seemed contrary to her beliefs. And it reminded her of the concrete success sought after in Silicon Valley through which she now moved her feet.

Mountain view of Standford University down in Silicon Valley.

God quickly reminded her why she was there. She was there for Him. She was there because His agenda was always different than her own, and He’d proven the other two times she’d gone to that Mountain that He moved in amazing ways. She was reminded that if she grew closer to God while she was there, she’d be richer than she would be if she returned to the Midwest having only sold herself to an Agent or Editor without giving herself to the Lover of her soul.

Just like the succulents, which were sterile-looking but held a reservoir of water allowing them to be full of life on the inside, she may feel beaten down by falling short in the realm of worldly success, but Holy Spirit God was her life source inside her. And like the rose bush that had been grafted onto another stalk in order to grow into a Rose Tree, she’d been grafted onto the Tree of Life to grow into a Woman of God. Could the world define her success? Did she have concrete feet?

She would be a Rose Tree one day.

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