This year I’ve spent more hours than normal looking at dandelions. I have always loved them but lately felt drawn to them in all their various stages. And in my watching, God taught me a golden lesson: because sometimes He uses weeds.
Like many little kids, dandelions and violets were the first flowers I picked and gave to Mama. (I wrote about that here.) I was partial to the big yellow blossoms with the many petals. I picked bunches for her and can remember the smell of the green stains left on my sweaty little hands.
One summer day, Mama and Daddy told me to look at the big fluffy blossoms – the ones full of wishes. All I had to do was blow to set them free. I don’t remember all my dreams, but I nearly blew myself into hyperventilation giving those dream seeds air!
Delight filled my heart as I watched the wind carry them to God – because even before I was saved, I knew He was there and cared.
I do remember that every dream casting session involved these: To be married. To have babies. To write books. To have lots of friends. To be greatly loved by many people and at least a few animals in a Snow White sort of way, and I often hoped that fireflies were really little fairy friends and not brown bugs with rear-end lights. Yeah – I know.
Sometimes, I twirled holding out a bouquet of fluff believing if I put my dreams out there in big bunches, my chances of them coming true were greater.
I didn’t bother with the old blossom heads with only a few dream seeds left because they were almost done and they seemed so insignificant next to their fluffy neighbors.
As I grew up, I learned that I was reseeding weeds. That should have been enough to curtail my blossom blowing, but when no one was looking, I still sent those seeds soaring to the One, who heard my prayers and knew all about my wishes.
This year, I started seeing the dandelions with fewer seeds differently. Walking through the grass and looking at those thinning and sometimes bare blossom heads I felt sadness tinged with panic. They reminded me of me.
They looked fragile and spent and old, and I saw them as the end of dreams. For the first time since I was a little girl, I hesitated to set any seed prayers free. Instead, I wanted to hold on to my dreams – to keep them close so I’d still have them.
Those old dandelion heads symbolized my new now and the lateness of life.
Drinking coffee later, I pondered my old dreams cast out into the world fifty-plus years ago. A few died along the way. Others linger but are less important than before. And still others are more important than ever. Those memories carried with them my failures – the times I’d worked so hard for all the wrong reasons. Like when I’d tried to make my dreams fit the dreams others had for me. Those false dreams were my desperate attempts to please others and to do something successful. They felt thin and brittle like old shellac.
But as a little girl and a woman my recipe was: please and succeed.
Of course, the result was always the same: I let those I cared about down and no matter how hard I tried to make them fit me, even after striving, I failed.
Those times were like weed killer sprayed all over my dream blossoms.
My coffee got cold as I shared all those old failures with God and sadly added yet another dead dream and more withered wishes to the list. And I thought I was bad – shameful bad. Again.
I needed a blessing!
When the dogs asked me to go for a walk, I was more than ready to get away from my thoughts. Except everywhere we went there were dandelions. At one pit-stop, I looked down at an empty blossom head standing next to a new blossom and saw that they were part of the same plant and there were more new dandelions on their way. One or more spent blossoms was nowhere near the end for the plant.
Or for me.
When we resumed our walk, I continued to ponder knowing there was more in the lesson for me. Nearly an hour later, I realized that even after all my errors, failures, and wasted time, He gave me the talents that match my most important dreams. And I felt His mercy wash over me.
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. Lamentation 3:22-23 (ESV)
Even without my blowing, the wind did its work, and when I saw a loose seed floating across the yard, it stopped me in my tracks, and gratitude rose up.
That day the wind also carried my hope-filled laughter and my prayer of thanksgiving along with a few seeds that I joyfully blew into its warm embrace.
And everywhere we went I saw dandelion seeds.
Caught in the silk of a spider.
In a beautiful blossom.
A bunch tangled in the grass.
All on their way to the place God has for them to grow.
Now, in the quiet moments when I hesitate, and the fear of failure rises up to nag me, I realize my longing to live my dreams for Him and for others and for myself is from Him. Because He is the One who put each desire on my heart. And I am grateful.
Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desires. Psalm 37:4 (NLT)
Until Next Time,