How To Plant Tulips

“…In warmer climates, plant bulbs deeper than 10 inches; the deeper you plant a tulip, the tougher it will be. Tulips planted deeper have thicker stems to withstand wind/rain and fall over less often.”

The other day I was making my way through a gardening catalog, thinking about what bulbs I need to plant this fall so we can enjoy beautiful blooms next spring. As I was reading, I skimmed across the planting guide quoted above. I was immediately struck by the parallel to what James writes at the beginning of his letter.

“Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.” James 1:2-4

For a freshly sprouted tulip, the challenge of making its way up through a significant amount of soil is critical to its overall health and success. Planting a tulip bulb too close to the surface doesn’t do it any favors and actually weakens the most important structure of the flower.

As a mom, I relate to these ideas on a practical level. It pains me to see my boys struggle, but I also want them to grow up to be competent and independent adults. That outcome requires learning through problem solving and trial and error. I can teach them and guide them through, but I also need to step back and allow them to grow their confidence so they aren’t afraid to try and fail on their own. The developmentally appropriate struggle grows them up, teaches them and shapes them into the people I want them to be. Just like the tulips, an easy path to maturity doesn’t produce the beauty I am wanting to see in the future.

I’ve experienced this in my life as well. The things I really had to work for or overcome are the things that have grown me the most as a person. The seasons where I have struggled and suffered have also been some of the greatest catalysts for deepening my faith and reliance on God. With the benefit of hindsight and experience, I can now look back on some of those times with joy and thankfulness for where they’ve brought me.

Wherever you are today, whatever your trouble or trial, I pray that God makes himself known to you. That he comforts your aching heart. Encourages your weary soul. And I thank God that he will use this time to fulfill his promise to never leave you or forsake you. I thank Him for his faithfulness to you in this season and pray that it strengthens your faith in Him so you, like a tulip, can weather the wind and rain.

Molly Holmes