Finding beauty in the valleys
You see these flowers? I took this picture 4 years ago today – the first time (and I think the only time) that I cried over flowers. (ok – maybe I literally cried ‘over/above’ them at a funeral or something – but this time it was ‘over/about’ them) You see, I had never before been able to grow anything outside because we spent so much time on the road that everything would die. That was not a negative, because we loved the life the Lord had given us, just a fact of life. One time a sweet couple even planted us a garden as a gift, and everything died. I felt so guilty. It was just impossible to keep up with.
But, these roses were planted the summer the Lord planted us firmly at home. Scott was sick and I couldn’t even leave the house for anything longer than short periods of time. Even in mowing the lawn at home, I’d have to run inside several times to check on him. That was the summer that I didn’t know if it would be the last summer I’d get to spend with him. That was the summer the kids felt the weight of not knowing if their daddy would be around for long. That was the summer our strong, fearless daughter would cry and be afraid when her dad would not be able to communicate and have that helpless look on his face. That was the summer our son would feel the weight and burden of trying to be the ‘man’ of the house. That was the summer of loneliness for me like I’d never before experienced. That was the summer of heavy burdens and long-lasting trials.
But that was also the summer we learned so many lessons. That was the summer we clung to the Lord and to each other. That was the summer we prayed together and cried together, and felt guilt over enjoying a unique family time because of dad’s sickness. And that was the summer I planted a rose bush. The one and only time I ever had.
Yup, and on this day, 4 years, ago, I cried some ugly tears over those stupid beautiful roses. Well – scratch that comment above about the ‘only time’ because I’m sitting here crying again thinking about it. Because that day these beautiful flowers blossomed, it was the first time ever I’d grown anything. And God showed me just another glimpse of the beauty that He was working despite our difficult trials.
Isn’t it just like God to be SO kind and graciously loving that He will send us sweet little reminders of His goodness?
These flowers are not only a reminder to me that God chose to keep my husband alive for the time being, but also that I need to remember to look around and see the reminders He is sending me when I am struggling. His grace is real, His support is strong, He brings beauty out of ashes. He causes flowers to grow where they shouldn’t (yeah, because I totally planted them in the wrong place and they should have never bloomed. They never did again.)
Friends, if you are struggling today, can you look around and find a ‘flower’ that God is sending you? Because I know He is. I know that He wants you to be encouraged. He wants to love on you. He wants to remind you that He makes all things beautiful in His time. You can trust Him. You can cling to Him. You can cry those ugly tears if you need to – and He will give you help and grace and strength.
But You, Lord, are compassionate and gracious… abounding in love and faithfulness. Psalm 86:15