Why Struggle is Necessary for Growth "(Of Sprouts and Cocoons)".


"The tiny seed knew that in order to grow it needed to be dropped in dirt, covered in darkness, and struggle to reach the light." -Unknown  


Have you ever witnessed a freshly-formed butterfly emerge from its cocoon? I have. It's beautifully frustrating.  


To be audience to that kind of struggle, my instinct was to just reach out to help. It took forever. And I knew if I helped, the helping would equal a sure death sentence for the metamorphed creature. 



It made me realize that the metamorphosis that it went thru for several weeks was the "easy part", breaking free from its prison, however, was not. But, in case you weren't aware, those are the very moments where the butterfly gathers all of the strength it needs to face its new life.  



Another example would be the tiny sprout. So fragile, and yet entirely strong as it pushes through the blanket of soil that once covered it. 


Three years ago, my husband and I started our first modest garden. We had little clue as to what we were doing and made some huge novice mistakes. 



I recall my husband staring at these seeds the size of a sentence period and realizing that you must need to put 3-4 seeds per hole for there to be any chance of a decent harvest.  


Little did he know that our tiny 3x5 foot garden would yield over three hundred tomatoes that summer. We couldn't pick them or consume them fast enough. We gave so many away, it was hilarious. 


We surely won't ever make that mistake again. One seed per hole. One. That's all it takes for a tiny speck of potential to turn into a bountiful harvest. 



It's not without growing pains, though. The struggle, the fragility, the dependence on the roots, the soil, the water, the air, the sunlight. All of these things must be in place or the harvest will never come.  


Some of us are in that time of struggle right now. Desperately trying to remove ourselves from a time of change. Desperate to escape and fly onward. But the change must occur, the struggle to be free must take place or we won't have the strength to keep going. 



Others of us are in that growth phase, completely reliant on the pouring into that may come from others. Some of us are just waiting to be fully ripe so that we can nurture and sustain others on their journey. And it will come. 


It will come.  


Its no wonder that the process of life always, always follows the struggle. Butterflies, babies, fruit: all emerge after a period of rapid growth, change, and lastly, the struggle of their lives. 


Wherever you find yourself in your journey, may you seek to find the beauty in the struggle, because it's there and its there to make you stronger.  💗


Love, Alicia  





Craft Day: A Year in the Making

Exactly one year ago today, I took my five little children to Michael's craft store to make good on a promise I made earlier that week.  


I won't rehash all of the details, as I've already blogged about it before, but, to refresh your memory, I didn't make it through the checkout that day.  


Instead, I ended up in the hospital for four days.  


The days that followed were frustrating, at best.  


Check outs? I've learned to HATE them all.  

I've fled the scene a few times in the past 365 days leaving items and bolting to the car for some sort of "pseudo-respite". 


But today, I didn't allow the growing giant of fear and anxiety to keep me in my personal quicksand pit. I had a mission: 


to finish the craft day that never really began. 


As I pulled into the Michael's parking lot today, I barely flinched. I felt confident. I felt the Greater in me cheering me forward.  


The logistics of the trip greatly mirrored the previous one: the way I organized the children in two separate buggies, the clear instructions given to "follow me closely, not to dawdle, and to not pick up a thousand things".  The only difference was they are all one year bigger than before. Oh, how slowly and rapidly time passes.

The very spot where it all fell apart and came back together.

The very spot where it all fell apart and came back together.

We may have only been inside for ten minutes total, and I may not have been mentally calculating to see if our purchases leveled with our budget, but we checked-out this time.  

...aaaaaaannnnndddd, I may have broke down a bit while we were driving away. I wish you could've been inside my head for the past 365 days. You'd understand my emotion. I've left myself with a sort of precarious mine field. But today, for some odd reason, I danced around all of the mines almost with an eerie intuition. 



Craft day was about to commence. One year later.


We even threw in a picnic and a park trip before heading all the way home. For children that no longer take outings with mommy for granted, this was a busy day for us. Although, the amount of busy we used to tackle, before last years Michael's trip, was infinitely more so. 



No matter. What's past is past.  

What matters now is that I keep moving forward, toward Christ and freedom and away from Satan and fear.  


What matters is that I keep talking about my struggles because they may help you or them or someone.



What matters is that I continue to acknowledge the fact that no matter how tough life gets or seems to appear, that the God I serve doesn't ever leave me. He doesn't cease to be good, and He always, always sees me. My frustration. My tears. My exhaustion. My giving up time and struggling forward times.  


I owe it all to Him.

I owe it to my husband, who I never imagined I could love like I do right now.

I owe it to my children. The grace that radiates from those five precious lives is intoxicating.

I owe it to my parents, my siblings, my extended family.

And, of course, the friends that God served up on a silver platter and, in exchange, became family.  


Thank you. Thank you so much.  


And so, we just now swept all of the scraps and crafting excess away and are left with the day I meant to create for my children one year ago. Memories. Love. Laughter. And a mother just a little bit stronger and more brave than yesterday. And that makes everyday worth creating.

Love, A.