Life Lessons From A Fern

I recently spent a long weekend with a friend in her new home. When I arrived I was thrilled to see all the beautiful trees and birds in her yard. Majestic live oaks and tall pine trees; cardinals and blue jays – I was in my element. I quickly spotted one of my favorite plants covering the sturdy branches of a very old live oak tree – the resurrection fern.  Recent rains had brought many of these little ferns back to life after a dry winter.

One of the reasons that I love this little fern is because it has an amazing ability to overcome the harsh, dry conditions of winter. How does it do that? It dies – or at least appears to be dead. The dry conditions desiccate the fronds of the fern and they shrivel and become brown, giving the appearance of death.

 

Appearances can be deceiving. To the untrained eye, these little plants appear to be dead; however, they are anything BUT that. Indeed, with just a little bit of rain or humidity, they spring forth from apparent death into refreshing life.

This little plant enamors me because it provides the perfect analogy of the difficult times in my life and my daily struggle with mental illness. Depression, anxiety and relentless mood swings easily overwhelm me and seem to suck the very life out of me. Much like those desiccated ferns, I feel that my hope has dried up; that I have become lifeless. The harsh conditions bring me to a place where all seems lost.

Through the lens of mental illness, death appears to be much more inviting than the pain of living through these hopeless dry seasons. Naturally, from that dry place of hopelessness, it is not difficult to come to a point of desiring nothing but death.

In Ezekiel 37, God brings the prophet to the Valley of Dry Bones – a place of death and complete hopelessness. The purpose of bringing him to such a place was so that God could show Ezekiel that even from such places of death and despair, life can be brought forth.  Even when all we see seems to be dead, like the resurrection fern, God has the power to raise new life from the most hopeless conditions.

The most difficult hurdle of mental illness is seeing outside of the mire that we are in – finding hope in the apparent hopelessness of our circumstances. Today, I am here, on the side of life, to encourage you that there IS hope. The power of healing rain is on the way and new life will spring forth for you.

Ezekiel 37:5 – “This is what the Sovereign Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life.”

www.theclinicalchristian.com


Raised in the Midwest, Molly Messer discovered writing as a way of coping with a tumultuous life resulting from an unstable family, sexual abuse and assault, trauma, and a genetic predisposition to mental illness. Molly has had extensive technical writing experience in the environmental field. However, her passion is to share relatable stories and information in ways that encourage and inspire others. Her insatiable desire to learn and teach combined with transparency and deep compassion for others, enables her to reach out in unique ways through the written word. She started her first blog in 2012 (www.godmycomfort.wordpress.com) with the desire to find joy in the midst of sorrow after her father’s diagnosis of terminal cancer. She recently started to write blogs for The Clinical Christian delving into the challenges of mental illness and stigma related to mental health both inside and outside the church.

 

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Molly Messer

Raised in the Midwest, Molly Messer discovered writing as a way of coping with a tumultuous life resulting from an unstable family, sexual abuse and assault, trauma, and a genetic predisposition to mental illness. Molly has had extensive technical writing experience in the environmental field. However, her passion is to share relatable stories and information in ways that encourage and inspire others. Her insatiable desire to learn and teach combined with transparency and deep compassion for others, enables her to reach out in unique ways through the written word. She started her first blog in 2012 (www.godmycomfort.wordpress.com) with the desire to find joy in the midst of sorrow after her father’s diagnosis of terminal cancer. She recently started to write blogs for The Clinical Christian delving into the challenges of mental illness and stigma related to mental health both inside and outside the church.


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