Poison Ivy and Mother’s Day

Some days you just need to get outside and soak in a little bit of God’s goodness. And, at this time of the year, evidence of God’s goodness is all around me! Everywhere I look, I can see God’s creativity and I’m jealous because He must have a box of crayons way bigger and better than the box of 64 Crayola Crayons that I loved so much as a little girl. Ok. I still love them as a big girl, too, but I’m sure that doesn’t surprise anyone.

Several weeks ago, I followed my usual routine and grabbed my camera as I headed out the door. Many times I don’t take a single picture, but I like having my camera close by just in case. My photography skills don’t do justice to God’s handiwork, so you’ll just have to trust me when I tell you it was a b-e-a-utiful day. Everything in my yard was blooming…except the plumbago. They are a little tardy this year for some reason.

Gorgeous butterfly
Guara…one of my new favorites. Hummingbirds love it, too.
Confetti lantana…probably not the real name, but I think it should be.
Star jasmine…smells so yummy!

A mott of oak trees

But, amidst all the beauty in my yard… in the very mott of oak tress above… I also found this.

Yep. You guessed it. Poison ivy! I start itching just looking at the picture!
Before we moved to our current house, I’d never seen poison ivy. I didn’t have the slightest clue what it looked like, and since I’m allergic to anything that might cause me to itch, I wanted to make certain I never got anywhere near it.
So, that being the case, I asked Brad to give me a lesson in spotting poison ivy. We loaded up in the Gator and headed out to the pasture. He pulled up by some trees and pointed out some poison ivy. He showed me how it always has three leaves in each grouping. Then we drove around, with him stopping periodically and pointing to some green, leafy, vine thing. “Is this poison ivy?” he would ask. 

And, I’d be all proud and say, “Yes, that’s poison ivy. Three leaves. Got it.”

Except it’s not. It’s just some other green, leafy, vine thing that just also happens to have three-leaf groupings. Brad said the pointy leaves are a clue it’s not the real thing.

Anyway, all of this pointing and guessing got me to itching and thinking…

There are things in life that are a lot like poison ivy. They can blend right in and look mostly innocent, but if we’re not careful, they’ll wreak havoc in our lives, growing rapidly, and overtaking everything.

One thing in my life that’s a lot like poison ivy is selfishness. I had a good dose of it earlier this week. Actually, the selfishness had taken root and growing rampantly for several weeks, creeping into my thoughts and even my words as Mother’s Day got closer and closer. My mom will be gone two years this December, and my precious Granny has been gone for a year and two months. It’s painful. It still hurts. Some days way worse than others. Mother’s Day is one of them. I don’t have a mom any more. No one to celebrate. No one to buy a gift for. Poor me. Me, me, me.

And then yesterday it hit me like a ton of bricks. I had a mom and a grandmother for 43 years. 43 years! So many people can’t say that. And, even worse, some children have never known their mother at all. There are orphanages all over the world with children just begging for someone to call mommy. And, as if that’s not enough, I’ve been blessed with being a mommy to the two best boys in the whole world. Logan and Cameron have been the light of my life for over 22 years.

How is it possible that I could be sad after the abundant blessings I’ve had? It’s not, unless I let selfishness move right into my heart, take root and take over, strangling the love and joy that should be there. As quickly as it hit me, I snatched that ugly vine of selfishness right out. I do have something to celebrate, and I can give a gift in honor of my mother and granny and all they meant to me.

I immediately knew just the right gift – a donation to Love Without Boundaries Foundation, a worldwide group of volunteers dedicated to improving the lives of impoverished and orphaned children in China. A Mother’s Day gift I pray will help bring mommies to the children they serve. A gift I pray will keep me mindful that it’s not about me. It’s about what God can do through me if I’ll root out the selfishness in my heart.

Father God, thank you for being the master gardener of my heart. May Your love be what grows there. Amen.

Special Note: I learned about Love Without Boundaries several weeks ago in one of my favorite blogs, Under the Sycamore. Ashley Ann is a beautiful example of what one person can do when she lives out 1 Peter 4:10. Thank you, Ashley, for shining your light for Him!

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