The Miracle of the Azaleas

My dad planted azaleas before I was born. And each year those beautiful plants, over 3 feet high, bloom spectacularly in purples and pinks. Normally, I’d just trim the tops when they looked straggly. But last year in late autumn, after painting the porch and the shed and washing down the side of the house, I just kept going… I decided to cut those azaleas back and shape them, thinking I was doing something really good for their well-being. I gave them a great trimmed-back style, so much that you could see the branches underneath. I just knew they’d produce even more blooms in the spring. This spring.

Now I know that when the calendar says it’s springtime, all the plants don’t automatically pop open. But I watched and waited. And waited some more. And then I found out: You’re only supposed to trim azaleas immediately after they stop blooming; otherwise, you risk cutting away all the new growth – the growth that produces the blooms the following year. I was heartbroken.

This would be the first year with no blooming azaleas. And it was all my fault. Flowers are healing, like the sunshine and music and comedy. They would’ve been great for my mom to look at, maybe even enticing her to get outside.

“Oh God,” I said, “I know this is a pretty small request, but I also know that nothing’s too difficult for you, and they’re your plants anyway, but if you could please make these azaleas bloom this year, that would be so wonderful…”

And I waited. And saw nothing. In fact, one of the plants looked like it was in jeopardy of dying; I figured that had to do with the unusually cold, snowy winter we had. So I just had to let it go. They were “just” plants, right? Still, it bothered me. I couldn’t even look over at them much anymore, as guilt started creeping around.

My lesson was that there are always consequences. Even if my intentions were good. It would’ve been so easy to research when to trim azaleas. But I didn’t do it. And now there would be no blooms this spring; there would be no blooms in time for Easter.

Or so I thought.

After running this morning, I had a strong urge to go over and take a close look at the azaleas. So I did…

And what I found is what I’ll now call “the Miracle of the Azaleas.” They’re all in bloom! Every one of them! Amazingly, they all are about to bloom in full force! Yes, some black spots are on the leaves, but I will go to the garden center and find out what to do about that; I’ll do it right this time. I am so thrilled that God answered this little prayer… Still not sure why He doesn’t answer some of the big ones ; )  … but this small answer to prayer brings such joy and hope … and all in time for Easter… And what’s even more wonderful to me is that even when we make not-so-bright decisions, sometimes He overrides the consequences anyway and defies all laws of nature and reason, which I think constitutes a miracle… Like grace…

Thank you, God!!! : )

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6 thoughts on “The Miracle of the Azaleas

  1. Great post. I do believe that there is nothing too small or too big for God to handle. Just remember that he answers all prayers…. Just sometimes not the answer we want. As you pass those blooms each day , enjoy and remember they are God’s greeting to a special person!

  2. Sandy, this is very interesting. I did’t know about cutting them back either. I know that Mom will love seeing them. As we all know God can do anything.

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