Growing In the Hard Places

Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. (Colossians 2:7 KJV)

Butterfly couple

I have lantana growing next to the deck surrounding my pool. Last month, I noticed a branch straining against the lattice.


Later, that same branch pushed its way through the opening in the lattice to enter the darkened world beneath the deck.

lantana 2

It remained hidden until last week when it popped its head up between the decking and the new multi-colored blooms burst forth in the sunlight.

Although it is now in the scorching heat of the last days of summer, I’m not worried about it. The roots run deep beneath a patch of shaded wet earth that shields it from drought. As you can see, it’s flourishing. I should cut it so I can paint/stain the deck, but I won’t because I know how hard it worked to reach the sunlight.

Sometimes we have to change positions to get where we’re going. We may have to stretch or even shrink to fulfill God’s purpose for our lives.

Either way, growth isn’t easy. To grow, we must choose. Do I stay in my comfort zone where I am secure, or do I brave the unknown and seek the treasure God has in store for me?

Perhaps you’re squashed against a boundary with nowhere to turn.  Maybe you’re facing dark nights of uncertainty with the hounds of hopelessness nipping at your heels. Perchance you’re reaching as far as you can reach in prayer, but still, you can’t feel the touch of the Master’s hand. Take courage, dear one.

You are stronger than you think for your strength comes from our Lord Jesus Christ. His power gives us the ability to endure everything.

Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.  I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. (Philippians 4:11-13 KJV)

I do not believe that we can learn contentment without experiencing growing pains. Therefore, I have to believe that we can grow in the hard places if our roots are clinging to the Rock of Ages. He is our Bread and Water supply.

So I encourage you, dear reader, keep reaching heavenward. Soon, the darkened valley will give way to an expanse suffused with sunlight. Then, the Lord will unveil your beautiful colors for His glory alone.

Click to Tweet: Sometimes we have to change positions to get where we’re going. We may have to stretch, or even shrink, to fulfill God’s purpose for our lives.

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29 thoughts on “Growing In the Hard Places

  1. Awww, Gail. So much wisdom in your post. I loved it. Growing in hard places is a deliberate choice, isn’t it? We can stay stuck and wishing things were different, or we can choose to nestle in close to God and let Him mold and shape our characters into more of who He intends us to be. And yes, often that growth comes about in/through the hard seasons.

    Love your photos, and your analogy.

    • Thank you, Jeanne. True. Growing is a deliberate choice. I love your word, nestle. Almost like snuggling down into a comfy couch. That’s what I like to do. Snuggle in His lap. It’s where I find peace as He molds and shapes me into
      His image. Thank you for your encouragement, Jeanne. Hugs and prayers, my friend.

  2. Thank you, Gail, for sharing this great encouragement! Well said, and so uplifting! It seems each word was so carefully chosen, and spoke directly to my heart. We really don’t like these hard places or the stretching that must take place, UNTIL we get to the other side and stand amazed at how wise & loving our Heavenly Father is towards us. Even our own children didn’t like the bumps & bruises of learning to walk, but oh the freedom they felt when they could easily walk where they needed or wanted to go. When I’m in the stretching phase, I often remind myself that it compares to a child growing & learning, and remember how necessary it is. Even if I don’t like it.

    I love Hebrews 12:11 “All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.”

  3. Love how you said: Sometimes we have to change positions to get where we’re going. We may have to stretch or even shrink to fulfill God’s purpose for our lives.

    Such great encouragement, here! Thank you, Gail! 🙂

    • Thanks, Stacey. You are an encouragement to me! I’m in a shoved-against-a-barrier season of stretching while swimming in a vast pond of unknowns. May we all pray for one another as God is refining us for the next level. Blessings, dear friend!

    • Thank you for that comment, Julie. Those hard places aren’t fun. Especially when we’re in the dark. Your poem was a balm to my soul this morning as I drank my coffee. Thank you for sharing it. Love and hugs, dear friend. May your day be filled with His peace. ❤

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