One morning several years ago, I felt discouragement wrap itself around me, draining my enthusiasm and slowing my movements to a crawl.
My two sons, both of whom have developmental disabilities, were struggling. Their progress up to that point had been slow but steady, yet now it seemed to be at a standstill. Though in the past I had generally been able to meet such challenges with some level of optimism, on that morning I wasn’t sure I could. The specialists had always told me my sons needed a calm, patient, consistent mother who could provide structure and support coupled with lots of love. I was sure this wonderful woman existed somewhere, but at that moment I felt fairly confident she was not within the walls of my home.
As I passed the bathroom mirror, evidence of my defeat at the battle of the bulge assaulted my eyes. The cobwebs I found clinging in the corners of the hallway reconfirmed my assumption that I would most assuredly not receive the “Homemaker of the Year” award. Yes, I had given in to discouragement, and I was wallowing in it.
In the past I had found that vigorously doing some physical work helped to lift my spirits. So I set to work, stripping sheets off beds and cleaning the perpetual clutter in my sons’ room. But it didn’t seem to help. I didn’t feel better.
It was then that I felt compelled to pause for a moment and gaze out the window at our front yard. The broad branches of a towering juniper kept the corner of our house in quiet shade. Other spreading junipers provided abundant ground cover. Out of the corner of my eye I spotted a flash of yellow. Looking closer, I realized it was the last remnant of some daffodils I had planted years ago, before the encroaching junipers had dominated the limited supply of sunlight.
But this daffodil was different from others I had seen. Its stem was not straight and tall as might be expected but was bent in a unique way. Bursting from the ground, it had hit upon the branches of the abrasive junipers. But instead of shrinking and dying, it had found a way to bend and reach out around the ominous branches. It had found the light, and it had flourished!
This may seem like a simple experience, but for me at that moment, it was profound. How like that daffodil we all need to be! Experiences often confront us that seem insurmountable, that sap our energy and faith. We can allow ourselves to shrink and wither away, just as the other daffodils had done, or we can struggle and search out a way to find the light. The purest form of light is our Savior, Jesus Christ. He is the one real source of peace in our life, and in following Him we can find an abundance of light and joy.
I still get discouraged at times. But I find strength from a lesson taught by a victorious daffodil on an early spring day.