Monday, February 15, 2016

Living by the Law of Mae’s Green Thumb

I was thinking about my grandmother, Marece Wall. Her birthday was yesterday, February 15. I wanted to honor her in remembering her birthday. So let me tell you about my grandmother.

You see, she could grow anything. She could literally pinch a shoot off a plant she liked. Then, she would place that bud in water where it would grow spindly roots like hundreds of white pieces of thread under her watchful eye. When it was ready, she would take this delicate new sprout and push it down into nutrient-rich soil. With her gentle care, she tended this young plant until it thrived.  

My grandmother understood that growth is a process. It doesn’t happen all at once, but is a natural occurrence characterized by gradual, yet continuing, changes. I learned a lot from my grandmother. I’m condensing those lessons in a six steps to help you. Think of the acronym GROWTH.  

First, give of yourself.  Many times when we want to see change, we look to our spouse and say, “If only he would do this or that” or we look at our children and think “If they only behaved this way.” Then what? The answer is we assume we would be happier or our lives would be less stressful.

In order to see growth in others, we have to start with ourselves. It may mean making changes in our attitudes, behaviors, or expectations. In some cases, it may actually mean giving more of our time to invest in our families.

Second, replenish your body and spirit. We can never have enough to give to others without taking time to replenish ourselves. That means taking time to replenish your energy, to revitalize your body, and regenerate your spirit. My friend Christina calls that self-care.

You can only be your best when you take time out each day for yourself. You have to designate time for yourself. Whether it’s a half-hour to read a book, take a bubble bath, go for a walk, even watch your favorite TV show, take time for something that personally brings you joy. It is a time to unwind and gear up for another day. Take time to meditate, write in a journal, spend time in prayer or reading your Bible to renew your Spirit.

These are ways to refill your tank so that you have more of yourself to give. None of us are at our best when we are burned out, stressed out, have not had enough sleep, or sometimes didn’t have time to eat. Take care of yourself so that you can take care of those you love.

Then, open your mind. Many of us get into a rut with our relationships. Break out of the box. Listen to new ideas. Consult friends who have older children to see what methods may have worked for them. Talk to women who have been married for some time. Subscribe to magazines that will give you parenting tips, ideas for meals, other suggestions. Use discernment. Evaluate what will work for you. Be willing to try some new things, even if you find they need to be tweaked. Since Ecclesiastes says “there is nothing new under the sun,” you may be surprised to find the timely advice that God provides if you will take the time to read His Word.

Equally important is weathering the difficult times that come with transitional periods. It is said, “A gem cannot be polished without friction.” In all relationships there are difficult times. Trials and tribulations can be the doorway that takes you to the next level in your faith, in your love, or in the development of your own character or that of those you love. Learn to weather the storm together.

Develop life strategies that allow your family to support and encourage one another during your most difficult times. That does not mean denying problems, or turning a blind eye to things that are wrong. It does mean showing your love even more when it would be easier to walk away.

Next, teach what you have learned. We grow when each of us learns to invest our lives into someone else’s. Like my grandmother, I have committed to pass on my knowledge, wisdom, and experiences and entrusting them to my children to reach future generations. Another part of this principle is gleaning from your elders. Take time out  to really spend time with your grandparents, parents, aunts and uncles, and other older members of your family. Don’t forget older people in your neighborhood that can also be a source of wisdom.

Finally, heal your heart. To see real growth in yourself and those around you, you need to heal: get rid of bitterness, deal with past hurts, forgive those who have wronged you, release the anger that can linger after you have been hurt or perceived that you have been hurt.

Bitterness, resentment, unforgiveness, anger are all negative emotions. They can eat away at you when you harbor these emotions instead of hurting those whom the emotions are toward. In essence, holding on to these kinds of feelings does more damage to you. This is especially true within your household
Remember the definition of growth: it’s a process, a natural phenomenon marked by gradual changes that lead toward a particular result or a natural continuing activity or function. The result you are looking for is to be whole, to be the best you, to have each member of your family to be their best.

My grandmother understood these principles when it came to providing love and support to a budding plant, but even more when it came to our family. “Let this mind be in you,” says Philippians 2:5 and see what takes root.  

Happy Birthday Mae!

No comments:

Post a Comment