Bed Bugs and Ant Plants

This morning was not beautiful.

Here’s some context: Over the past week and a half, James and I have been finding random bites all over our body, polka dotted right in a row in various places that don’t hurt, but are just strange altogether. Of course, I am the woman who has cried, “bed bugs!” multiple times over, with no bites before to claim, which makes this whole ordeal much worse.

Another plot to consider: I put my heart and soul into these houseplants of mine, something which is a fairly new hobby and maybe trendy, but something I enjoy. Although I have been placed on a plant buying hiatus until my upcoming birthday, James surprised me on our trip to Traverse City by purchasing an “ant plant” (or a myrmecodia as its latin identifier) for me. I was ecstatic, and before leaving Traverse City, we left this new friend in the car with the windows all the way up and it responded exactly how most anyone would when trapped in a car with no air and the sun beaming: wilting. This was unfortunate, but both James and I were certain that we would be able to nurse this treasure back to health as soon as we got home.

Ridiculous side-note aside, after a day and a half of being home, more bug bites showing up on our skin, and little baby plant with worsening conditions, I had chosen my attitude. It wasn’t a good one.

After what wasn’t the most holy of talks between James and I after he had noticed my attitude, I had realized quickly how circumstantial my heart was. I let the things around me rule the day instead of what never passes away or wilts. My feelings had become my god.

Your feelings come from where you find your hope. Where is your happiness and significance?
— Timothy Keller

I had been noticing this pest in my heart these past few weeks, struggling to even write about it because I didn’t know how to nicely package the story of how I had bravely ignored my feelings and remained wholly steadfast and unshaken. It doesn’t help that as I was trying to write about that, this episode with the unfound bed bugs and the needing-an-ambulance plant came about and showed me exactly still where I stood.

Let Thy goodness like a fetter bind my wandering heart to Thee. Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it; Prone to leave the God I love.

Later on in the day, I began to prune the ant plant down to it’s barest of bones. When we had bought it from the floral boutique, it had low hanging vines, beautiful and cascading. Most of those vines were now yellow, sick from the horrible heat and direct sunlight, not willing to return back to its former glory. My attitude felt the same as those dead vines. I needed pruning too.

I know it’s silly, but if I can be taken down in one simple shot of a few bites and a dying plant, my hopes are tossed up in an endless ocean of worries and cares, none too small to send me deep into a riptide. I needed to once again find myself in the arms of God, of Jesus, who cares about these fickle things but not enough to leave me there. He wants restoration. He wants resurrection. My hopes in these simple things are bound to futility, but a hope found in Jesus Christ is everlasting and sure.

The plant looks healthy, with a few half-wilted leaves here and there, but better. The pruning cut away all of the death on it, which I long to see restored, and maybe even better than it was before.

There are constant deaths to die, but in that, new life that can be born again. Today, I’m thankful for a God who knows exactly what to rid me of. I’m thankful for a God who brings new life. I’m thankful for a God who loves me even when I run to a hope that may die tomorrow.

Here’s my heart, Lord, take and seal it, seal it for Thy courts above.