Written by Rachel Denison
So, I have these hydrangeas in front of my house. We moved into our new home last May and the plants outside were flourishing. This past spring in particular we received a lot of rain, much more than usual. When we moved in, the hydrangeas out front were spectacular-- unlike anything I'd ever seen! They were getting what they needed-- lots of shade and tons of water. As a result I didn't yet know how to care for them, and I certainly did not realize how much water they truly need.
During the first month for instance, I didn't even water them! I figured the sprinkler system twice a week was enough. And it certainly was, especially with the 2+ weeks of rain we were getting in the months of May and June. Like I said, very unusual. As the summer progressed, and the days grew hotter and hotter, I should have made an adjustment in the care of my hydrangeas. I still at this point had not realized what they needed.
What were once vibrant, lush, tall bushes had become droopy, thirsty and sad. I was beginning to see a noticeable difference, but still did not catch the signs they were throwing me! The bright pink blooms were turning green and brown. The thick, full foliage was floppy and falling flat. What was once sufficient water and care for them due to weather and the season was now simply not cutting it.
As the temperatures rose and sun exposure escalated quickly, this new season was forcing me to reassess their needs. Upon research and advice, I found out my precious hydrangeas were needing watering every day, instead of barely twice a week. To my horror, I thought I had killed them! Some dear friends reassured me, simply go out each day and be diligent to soak them thoroughly in water. They will have what they need and bounce right back. Cut off the dying or dead blooms and leaves-- prune away anything that is taking up the essential nutrients the plants need to thrive. As I was consistent in going out daily to prune and soak these hydrangeas in 100+ degree weather, they somehow made it through a Texas summer.
Yesterday evening, as I was preparing to go out and water, the Lord spoke to my Spirit. My mind was drifting to how there is a noticeable difference in the hydrangeas depending on if I watered them the day before. If they receive the water they need each evening by the next evening they still look good and healthy. If I forget to go out one night and they don’t get the water they need by the next evening they look dry, weary and neglected. The Lord spoke, “And so it is with your soul.”
Shocked at the parallel, I began to see the patterns in my own life of neglect and drought-- a lack of self-care and drinking deep of the water of life. I began to recognize the stark difference in my attitude, countenance and heart on the days I drink deep verses the days I run on yesterday's supply. Can you relate? By the end of today will you still look vibrant, healthy and strong? Or will you resemble my hydrangeas after a day without water—wilted, tired, weary?
You see, there are certain seasons in life where you need to run to the well of life to drink more deeply and regularly than others. There are seasons when 15-30 minutes a day simply isn’t enough. There are seasons you need to soak. When is the last time you soaked in the water of life? Right now is one of those seasons for me. I can't operate on yesterday’s devotional time. Each day demands me to drink deeply of the well of life and saturate myself in the presence and word of God.
Are you adapting with the season God has you in? Your soul needs it. It is important to recognize and correctly analyze what will bring you the most life in each season, and to be diligent to care for yourself accurately. Just as I needed to prune my hydrangeas, are there areas of life not bearing fruit you need to cut away? Self-care is important-- so, so important. But a massive part of self-care is putting yourself in the hands of God and caring deeply for the health of your own soul. So I invite you to ask God to reveal what kind of season you're in, what kind of care is best suited for your soul in this season, and ask him for the grace to be consistent and disciplined. May God bless you richly with his presence as you seek out such things.
“Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy? Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food.” -Isaiah 55:1-2
“O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water. So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary, beholding your power and glory. Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you. So I will bless you as long as I live; in your name I will lift up my hands. My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food, and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips, when I remember you upon my bed, and meditate on you in the watches of the night; for you have been my help, and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy. My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me.” -Psalm 63:1-8