Deceptively Fragile

Have you ever encountered something or someone who was deceptively fragile?

God revealed this concept to me in a unexpected and interesting way. I had created this beautiful flower arrangement a few weeks ago.

I knew it was starting to wilt and fade, because the white roses had taken on an undeniably brown tint around the edges and we’re curling in on themselves. The bright red “berries” were a darker shade and starting to deflate. Those were signs of obvious decay, and instantly revealed to me that they were fragile. I knew to handle them with care, lest I wanted to end up with rose petals and berries all over my house.

However, the daisies still looked pretty and the astorias looked perfect. So I thought I’d simply remove the roses and keep the remaining flowers to enjoy until they started to droop more. But the instant I touched the arrangement to try and remove the roses, the astorias started to explode all over the place. They began dropping petals, stamen, pollen, leaves and all, leaving only naked stems where there had been beautiful flowers seconds earlier.

I was in shock at how violently they burst apart at the slightest touch and what a giant mess they were making so quickly. So I decided, instead, to carry the whole vase outside to the garbage and pull just the daisies out to keep. Even that extremely gentle motion of picking up the vase caused more destruction.

Those astorias were so deceptively fragile that with each step they continued to drop their messy pieces all the way across my living room and entryway, down my sidewalk, and in my yard. Mind you, I was being extra steady handed and holding the vase very level as I walked slowly and deliberately to the trash can.

Once I got there, I pulled the entire arrangement out of the vase and started to separate the flowers from each other, but as I did, I noticed the daisies had big clumps of fuzzy white mold at the bases of their stems, and as the support of the other flowers was taken away, their stems began to collapse mid-way up, and the petals started to let go and drop. So the whole arrangement was deceptively fragile.

Aren’t we so like that as human beings??? Way to often we behave like cut flowers, putting up an appearance of “all is well” when in reality we are falling apart.

We find ourselves outside of daily fellowship with the Lord, our life giving source. Or excuse becomes that we are too busy or too stressed, and we try to hide the fact we are fragile due to lack of spiritual nourishment in our society and lives. We want to present a strong face to the world. We want to pretend we’ve got it all together and avoid looking like the fact we’ve been cut off from our source of life for weeks on end hasn’t affected us.

He is the vine and we are the branches, but if we are removed from the vine, we will start to wilt, no matter how much water is in our vase, because we have been cut off from the roots. And yes, flowers bloom in their season and fade, even on the living plant, but they are able to stay alive and re-bloom year after year if they remain connected to the source that gives them life.

Sometimes we are more like the roses. It’s obvious something isn’t right and everyone knows it. Perhaps we are living in blatant rebellion or sin and it’s taking its toll, or we’ve endured a massive tragedy and our pain can’t be contained so or brown edges are showing and our shoulders droop.

More often than not though, you’ll find people who are more like the astorias and daisies. Nobody could tell from their outward appearance, but if you bump them, or remove their support structure, watch out!

Here’s how you’ll know if you’re dealing with, or perhaps have become, a person who is deceptively fragile: They look whole and beautiful on the outside, but the second something touches them they don’t just crumble, they explode into tiny fragments and leave pieces of their devastation everywhere. Or they are strong as long as they are in their element or with their tribe, but if change comes their way and that support is removed it turns out they collapse and have big moldy spots at their base from being in stagnant waters for so long.

Unfortunately for my flower arrangement, there was no hope of fixing the issues, and the only solution was to throw them away and let them continue their path of decay. They will eventually return to dust, because there is no way to give them life again.

For us though, thankfully, we have the ability to be grafted back into the vine if we’ve been cut off for a while, and find new life again! We have the choice of turning back to the Lord and asking him to renew and refresh us. We get to become whole and healthy again. We become fresh and new once more!!!

We don’t have to live life fragile, deceptively or openly. We get to blossom in His strength and dignity, and have a healthy spiritual glow as often as we desire by communing with Him. What a beautiful thought! I’m so thankful that God’s mercies are new every morning and we are given the privilege of renewing our minds through Christ so our strength can rise as we wait upon Him.

You have a choice, dear one, to wilt and be deceptively fragile, or to graft yourself daily into the vine and remain vibrant and strong. I’m not saying you’ll never experienced difficult seasons of life, but if you have remained in Him and He in you, the next time life “bumps” you, you won’t have to completely fall apart. You can pray this scripture into your life each morning and know it will be done for you:

Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Psalm 51:10

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If you are in a place where even the steadiest of hands can’t help you keep it together, or where you are losing your support structure and don’t know how to hold yourself upright, or you have suffered to the point you feel withered, take heart. Know that your beauty is still apparent to the world, and that the Lord can and will help you regain your strength if only you will turn to Him for help. Cry out, then taste and know that He is good!

And if you are strong, but encounter someone who is deceptively fragile, show them grace and mercy. Don’t bump their vase. They are not a hot mess, they are His mess, just as each of us are, and they deserve your loving kindness.

We should fervently lift them in prayer, even if we cannot physically help. Don’t enable, but do stabilize. Be the one who waters them and tends to them if you are placed in their path. Pour out life giving truths in love, with delicate care. Don’t shake them (even though I know there are times we would all love to shake some sense into someone), love them in spite of themselves or their circumstances. Love them back to life by being the vehicle through which God reaches their tender hearts and minds. Help them find their way back onto the vine, and then allow them time to be renewed; it can be a slow process.

I hear those thoughts…But what if they are choosing to live as a victim? What if they like being fragile? What if they don’t WANT to be renewed.? Here’s the absolute truth of humanity: Some will, some won’t, but oh how important it is we don’t just say, “So what?”

I’m praying for each of you today, whether you are the fragile one or the one who needs to lend strength and hope to those who are wilting around you, that you will feel the Lord near in your life. I pray you will seek Him and find Him in this moment, that you can feel renewed and refreshed and ready for whatever life brings next. And I pray for blessings in your life, that you may know the goodness of the Lord all your days, and the world might see His beauty and strength in the perfect flower He created you to be!

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