Growing Miss Azalea – An Introduction

A clearance sale!  Yes!

I walked over to the temporary shelves placed in the front of our grocery store.  I can’t pass up a good buy so I headed over, examining what fantastic buy I could find.

While perusing the make-up, she caught my eye.  I assumed she was artificial because I had never seen a live plant on clearance.  But I went over to check her out.  White blooms covered the tops of her boughs but the brown and crumpled edges gave her away.  She was real!

I pitied her.  This once beautiful plant that had been shoved into tight shelves, emblazoned with an obnoxious orange and yellow “Manager’s Special” sticker.  It seemed like a politically correct way to say she was past her prime, unwanted, overlooked and not worth your time or money.

Manager's Special

My heart did a little pitter-patter, the kind that happens when God wants me to pay attention.  And then I knew… she was there for me.  She was meant for me to take home, to care for, to heal and tend.

Just three days prior I was taking a closer look at my house plants at home.  Most of them straggly with a lot of dead shoots and leaves were a reminder of my neglect. In that moment God gently whispered,

“You take care of your plants the way you take care of you.  Just enough care to survive, but nowhere near what is needed to thrive”

House Plant 1

House plant 2

Even as I walked across my bedroom, my eyes dropped.  Of course he was right.  I learned early the sickened dance of prioritizing other people’s happiness and desires in order to keep the abuse at bay.  At 16 I had an injury to my back, and I never healed.  I ignored the pain on some levels, managed my involvement in sports due to my weaknesses, barely kept myself together through intermittent yoga and consistent chiropractic visits.  Until last May.

I spiraled into chronic elevated back pain and could find no way out.  Interestingly, it was around the time I began having flash-backs to sexual abuse from my childhood.

I have spent a life time neglecting the needs of my soul and body because they were sacrificed to the abusers.  Couple the effects of abuse with the scriptural teachings on “taking up your cross” daily and “he that will be first in the kingdom of God will be last” and I found myself believing and living out that my needs were not what was important; to myself, to my family, to the church… or to God.  I was last.

Apparently, God feels it is time for me to learn what self-care is like.  He wants me to understand that self-care is not selfishness.

Hence, I’m Growing Miss Azalea!

Miss Azalea - original

As God teaches me how to care for Miss Azalea I know he will be teaching me how to care for me, the soul that was marked “Manager’s Special” at the age of four.

I hope you will enter this quirky and fun adventure with me.  And maybe, along the way, God might give you a plant, or pet, or friend that will help you learn how to care for your own soul.

I would love to hear of the unusual ways God is teaching you to partner with him for your healing.  Got a story? A blog post?  Share it with us!

4 responses to “Growing Miss Azalea – An Introduction

  1. You did want a comment on EVERY post, right?
    Way to grow Miss Azalea – and what a beautiful analogy to the care that our souls need!
    My favorite self-care is my prayer journal. It has taken me from “bleh” to “yeah!” in a very short…4 years. Ha! Is 4 years short? Some may say that I am just journaling, but everything is laid down before God. And looking through my journal I see how resolution has come to situations; I can see my HUGE emotions become smaller or more fine tuned; I can see anger giving way to forgiveness and bitterness becoming empathy. I can see the healing of my sick kids, lost items being found, the meaning of dreams being revealed.
    By the way – I will be your personal advertisement telling everyone to come to Twin Lakes Bible Camp in September. First women’s retreat for me and first time I have EVER wanted to go!

    • Rachel!!! You are cracking me up! Comment away friend! Journaling has been a huge part of my healing as well. God is so creative in the process and I am grateful that he doesn’t expect us to live by formula but by faith. Though more challenging – it is way more exciting!

      P.S. I’m excited that YOU are excited about the retreat! I am placing it before God to keep walking me through his message for that weekend. Glad to know you will be there!

  2. Pingback: Neglect – My Primary Offense | Wounded ~ Healer ~ Warrior·

  3. Pingback: Reconciling the Oxymorons of Faith and Fact | Wounded ~ Healer ~ Warrior·

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