Beautifully Imperfect

So much of my life has been about flowers.

Bleeding Heart
Creeping Phlox

I was raised with a great appreciation for the Lord's amazing creation. I stripped the lawn out of a 50+ square foot area of my parents' front yard in my late grade school years for the creation of a bulb and perennial garden. I worked with a landscape crew throughout my high school years. I then graduated college with a degree in Horticulture. Since then I've worked as a landscape crew member, Landscape Designer, gardening blogger, and a florists' assistant. 

And even though I no longer work directly with plants or flowers in my actual occupation anymore, I still think about flowers quite a lot. And this spring has been no exception.

I've always been so amazed at the intricacy and seemingly exactness of blooms and their petal patterns. I'm continually in awe of the way these flowers return year after year, even after harsh winters, extreme dry spells and all of the other cruel elements surrounding them. They emerge each year with the same beauty and grace out of what seems to be nothingness.

Forget-me-nots

Only this spring, I've been focusing more on a different aspect of them. Their imperfection.

Have you ever taken the time to really look at a flower or the flowering plant as a whole? I would challenge you to find one without a single flaw. There is not a flowering tree with an exact perfect branching structure or the exact same amount of flowers per limb. But yet they are beautiful -- one could even argue that it is their imperfection that makes them so.

Recurvus Daffodil
Dinnerplate Dahlia

Isn't it kind of the same way with our personalities and places in life? Do we have our faults and weaknesses? Of course. And while we continually strive to overcome these faults and purge our weaknesses, God continues to use us (and them!) for His glory and good. He has a plan and purpose for each of us that only each of us could fulfill -- together with all of our imperfections. 

Lily of the Valley

Maybe you tend to be a bit rash in your decision-making. But you also probably effectively get things done and keep conversations moving.

Maybe you obsess over cleanliness and organization. But I'll bet your household remains relatively healthy and that you can find anything your child needs to complete his science project.

Maybe you struggle with getting out of bed when your alarm tells you its time (me!). But perhaps this gives your child great delight when she gets to climb in bed with you for a few minutes before the race of the day begins.

Maybe you find yourself in frequent stages of depression or anxiety and wonder why you can't get your act together. But as a result, you are most likely more sensitive and aware of what others may be going through and can listen to a friend like no other.

And the list goes on.

Whatever you consider your "weaknesses" to be, each one can be a strength in raising your family, loving your spouse, encouraging a friend or reaching another for Christ. Our Heavenly Father working through and using our imperfections in personality may just be what breaks down the wall of resistance in someone's heart, encourages them in their walk with God or inspires them to live more fully without hiding behind a mask of someone they are not.

Double Daffodil

So maybe instead of constantly viewing our personality weaknesses in a negative light, perhaps we can see them as gifts. Gifts which God Himself chose for each of us.

And you know what else? No two flowers are exactly alike. Just like no two of us are the same. But together, we create a beautiful garden. His.

Flawless

I can be really self-conscious about my looks. But you know, you probably wouldn’t guess that with a quick glance my way. I can honestly count on one hand (if not one finger) how many times I’ve worn any amount of make-up in the past month. I don’t get manicures or pedicures. I only get my haircut when absolutely necessary because I’m concerned my spikes are blocking the view of people who happen to sit behind me. I tend to spend most of my days in yoga or work out pants paired with a comfy sweatshirt. Yet, how I look from this or that angle will and does cross my mind more frequently than I care to admit.

As a 24-year old, there are definitely certain “standards” of how someone should look and dress and that likely remains true for most ages. In my second and third year of college, I spent an embarrassing amount of time trying to get a coveted six-pack and had some pretty solid abdominal muscles because of it. I also happened to be ridiculously proud of my “runners legs” as I had completed my first half marathon in spring 2013 and planned to run a marathon later that summer.

While not biblical, I’m convinced God has a sense of humor. Thanks to a spinal cord injury, my legs haven’t moved under voluntary control for three years. Those once well-defined and rock-hard calves seem to have taken appearance advice from a wet noodle. When it comes to my completely useless abdominal muscles, I’m grateful for buttoned jeans that at least keep things (meaning my stomach) in the right place.

I think it’s easy to pick out flaws and imperfections when we look at ourselves in the mirror, at least I know it is for me. That’s a new wrinkle. Look at that, first gray hair. If I pull it out, at least I can fake bypass this aging process for a little while. I sure hope I’m not the only person that has ever thought or done that…

When I look at myself, I don’t see perfection. When God looks at me… He does. Thanks to his Son and my Savior, I am perfect. My “flaws,” physical and otherwise melt away into a robe of righteousness that no person, no injury, no health problem, no struggle could ever take away.

It’s not always easy to remember but we all are fearfully and wonderfully made children of an awesome Father. A Father who knows the number of hairs on our heads and loves each and every part of this body HE created.

And really, I have every reason to feel the exact same way.