I am a friend of the weeds. I know that weeds, when being used as metaphors for life, are always referred to negatively—whether it be the negative thoughts we let take root in our minds, or the negative people we let remain planted in our lives—weeds are rarely referred to as a good thing.
But I want to change that.
I’m the daughter of two gardeners. Not only are they gardeners, but they are dreamers. I have heard a lot about weeds during my 22 years of life, and, well, a lot about every plant, for that matter. But what I find fascinating, time and time again, is the positivity that escapes the lips of my parents when they reference the unwanted flowers. Yes, I called them unwanted flowers, not weeds.
Because it is important to remember that what we think is ugly has the potential to be beautiful, too. It just may not be the beauty we had expected.
The term unwanted flower means so much more to me than the term weed. Here’s why: when I think of the “weeds of life,” I think of the plans that have been shattered, the dreams that did not come true, and the heartbreak that was experienced. When I think of these things as weeds, the story ends there. No beauty, no redemption, no restoration, no life. Only shattered plans, lost dreams, and broken hearts. When I think of these things as unwanted flowers, I am reminded that there is still beauty to be found in them. I am reminded that though I did not want to experience them, they were necessary. Because of them, new things bloomed: beauty, redemption, restoration, life. Were they unwanted? Yes. But did they still matter, and did something beautiful still come from them? Yes.
An unwanted flower.
The heartbeat of nature is only a whisper. A gentle reminder that the things untouched by the world are not in a hurry. And I would go as far as to say that the weeds are the strongest voices of that whisper. When nature is loud, we run. When nature is loud, we hide. When a storm is brewing, we take cover in our basements and hope it will go quiet. When the rain falls, we flee from it and create a safe haven within the corners of our home. We flee to find some form of peace in the midst of the storm—to find any ounce of quiet. When the sun shines once more and we leave our homes to survey the aftermath of the storm, what do we see? The beautiful flowers we planted in our pots and in our gardens have been tipped over and uprooted. But the weeds? There they stand, tall, proud, and beautiful. The flowers we plant can’t always handle the rain when it comes. The weeds are smart enough to know that the rain is their friend. And they continue to bloom with this wisdom.
When I make plans for my life, I often get too obsessed with them. I start to plant them in pretty pots and display them for all to see. I walk around my garden and point out the beautiful plans I have planted. “Look at that one, that’s me five years from now. Isn’t she lovely? Or look over there, that’s me in a few months, isn’t that exciting?”
But sometimes, the rain comes. And sometimes, we have to surrender our plans to the storm. And I’m sorry to say this, but sometimes, God allows our gardens to be destroyed. Not because He doesn’t love us, but because He is the Perfect Gardener. And I promise you, He has something much more beautiful in mind.
Jesus used the most unlikely people to do the most extraordinary things. He didn’t call the kings, the leaders, and the fancy officials to follow Him. No, He called the fishermen. He called the tax collector—a man who was hated by everyone. He called a man He knew would ultimately betray Him. And if Jesus did all these things, what makes you think He will not make something out of the weeds He has allowed to grow in your garden? Because it is true, the weeds were not what you expected. The weeds were not what you had planned. But Jesus likes to do things differently.
From my experience, His vision for my garden has always been more beautiful than mine. His choice in weeds and flowers and greenery has been better than what I originally planted there.
The unwanted flowers survive the storm. And even though we would have never thought to intentionally plant a weed in our garden, I promise you that Jesus has placed them there for a divine purpose. To protect our hearts, to redirect our steps, to open our eyes to beauty we never would have seen in our own strength… the possibilities are endless.
The more time I spend in the garden, and the more time I spend around the two gardeners who raised me, the more I am reminded of the beauty of the unwanted flowers. And when I am reminded of these things on Earth, I am reminded of how much greater God’s plans are for my garden of life. I am reminded that He loves the unwanted flowers. I am reminded that He has placed them there with beauty in mind. Because even though I never imagined my garden would look like this, I cannot escape the realization that even here, in the aftermath of the storm, it is still beautiful.
Here’s to embracing the unexpected. Here’s to welcoming the weeds as friends.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” – Isaiah 55:8-9, ESV
“For you shall go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and the hills before you shall break forth into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress; instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle; it shall make a name for the Lord, an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.” – Isaiah 55:12-13, ESV