Even the damaged can be renewed

©Joy Dunlap  https://joydunlap.com

Damaged doesn’t have to mean defunct.

The once lively and flourishing leaves of the hydrangeas now hung brown and brittle. Just days before, I had been rejoicing in the healthy, lush leaves and the multitude of tiny buds all over, confident they would produce lovely blooms.

Then the unexpected, harsh winter blast hit in April.

Battered and seemingly defeated by the hard frost, they languished in the garden, ugly and unfinished.

I should have covered them, protected them like the experts recommended.  But I didn’t use the safeguards.

“Don’t expect anything from the hydrangeas now.  They likely won’t bloom this year due to the frost,” said an arborist company tech.

“But, did you treat them anyway?” I asked, unwilling to accept that the winter blast would prevent their blossoming.  Yes, the expert confirmed he had boosted the two bushes with a special treatment.

“Cut them back,” said a neighbor and friend knowledgeable about plants as she looked at the sad specimens marring our garden a week or so later.

“Don’t the blossoms only grow on old wood though?” I asked.  I had learned that lesson the hard way as I pruned them too low one year.

“That’s right,” she said, “but this is so damaged by the frost, it won’t bloom. You might as well cut…”  Abruptly she stopped. 

Holding the deteriorated and droopy leaves in her hands, she exclaimed, “Wait. Look. Here’s the beginning of a bud.  And another.”

So, I kept that disappointing display with its frost-damaged leaves.  Still hopeful.

Watering. Feeding.  Nourishing.

And God sent refreshing rain and the bright sunshine.

Then one day in May, buds emerged.  Shooting out new growth to overtake the damaged.

Vibrant green leaves.  A plethora of tiny bud clusters.  The emergence of color – lavender and pink.

The promise of new beginnings.

Have you ever felt frozen in place? Has your core grown cold because personal or world events are turning you away from fully trusting in the Lord?

Is your life (or a portion of it) so battered and damaged that you struggle to feel lovely or loved?

Do you feel as if your growth, your joy, or your vibrancy are stymied by circumstances that delivered a hard hit to you?

God wants to nourish our souls and give us nutrients to grow and blossom even if we feel cold-hearted, have been struck by a storm, or feel too damaged for joy to burst through. 

We are not beyond God’s capability to revive us and allow us to bloom anew. God has the power to pour new life in us.   To infuse us with His love and care so we will bloom beautifully. 

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. Colossians 2:6-7 NIV

  • What flowering plant is your favorite?
  • How are you nurturing and nourishing your soul in 2021?
  • In what ways would you like God to revive and renew your life?
  • What is blossoming in your life right now?

Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.  Matthew 24:12-13 NIV

For this is what the high and exalted One says—

    he who lives forever, whose name is holy:

“I live in a high and holy place,

    but also with the one who is contrite and lowly in spirit,

to revive the spirit of the lowly

    and to revive the heart of the contrite.

Isaiah 57:15 NIV


Life is Better When It’s Full – Joy-full, Thank-full, Purpose-full and Friend-full! ™


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