“We will always stop for beauty, in whatever form it takes.
“These arose old memories of how God intended it to be. It is true that we can become accustomed to everything being out of kilter. Children come to believe that parental violence or abusive discipline is normal, but they still have hope for something else. We recognize the vestiges of what is right in our world, and we intuitively know when something isn’t. We might not know how to make it right, but we know the things that disrupt peace.”—from Running Scared: Fear, Worry, and the God of Rest by Edward Welch
As I read these words, I immediately pictured in my mind a field of poppies, an image a friend had given me as she prayed for me a few nights ago–
I saw a picture with your hair down in a beautiful field of poppies at sunset, stopping to take time to smell and enjoy them. You were alone, but it was a beautiful picture. I think the Father is so happy you take time to notice and enjoy His beauty.
And with this passage, I see that this is how it was meant to be. It was meant to be beautiful.
A few months ago He said to me, You can let down your hair with me. He was asking me to trust Him, to be present and vulnerable with Him, an invitation deeper trust and commitment to what He’s called me to here, as well as what He is calling me into later down the line, after this season. I want to be all in, but not as a bull in a china shop—as that little girl, her hair down, relaxed, smelling the poppies and taking in the beauty of Him who made them…and her. He made me to walk here, now, slowly, deliberately, honestly, writing and smiling and singing even when storms come. That’s what He has done with the past year being here. He’s brought me to these poppy fields by bringing me through this place in a much different form—like Flanders Fields. Where the poppies grow, but also where the fiercest battles of WWI took place.
In order for poppies to grow, the ground that bears their dispersed seeds must be disturbed. They will lie dormant for years, until the ground is moved around enough to allow them to germinate. The trenches of WWI devastated the French countryside; but after the battles ceased, the poppies began to grow. This resilient flower was only able to flourish after the battles had shifted the soil they were laying in.
And I’m sitting here and realizing that I’m in the poppy fields, this place of beauty, abundance, and joy, not because of the victory but because of the battles. So much soil had to be shifted. These are the same fields I’ve been in, always, but I thought that I had to work the soil to bring the beauty. I toiled and tilled and tried my best—but only came up tired. Not awed. Not satisfied. Not seeing much fruit.
And those symptoms were only the beginning of the battles that this past year has raged.
But now, there are flowers around me.
And this, this is how it was always meant to be.
I came in with grand ideas full of perfection—perfection in language, in culture, in work. Perfection in growing, in relationships, in faith. Perfection in this dream come true.
But God wanted poppies. Not perfection. Beauty, not bliss.
Perfection says, battles can’t progress things.
Poppies show that battles can change things.
And that’s what I needed. Change. Not perfection. Not progress. But radical, life-giving, soil-shifting change.