Do you need a little encouragement today? This is for you.
Two days ago a serious thunderstorm roared through Grace Acres with a vengeance. As we stood at the kitchen door, we could hear branches crackling as powerful winds bent and broke a few along its path. I never gave thought to my beautiful peony bush protected only by a sweet picket fence in the garden.
This was its most beautiful year ever with humongous buds full of promise and potential. Michael had staked it up for me one day when I wasn't home because the buds were so heavy, their weight pulling them toward the earth below. I thought the staking would insure the longest and most spectacular display of pink flowers this bush had ever seen.
I was busy when the buds began to open and barely noticed them from my car as I drove in and out of the driveway several times... that is, until the morning after the storm. The careful staking had not braced them against the fury of the winds and rain. They had not bowed down on their own but most were bent or broken, most touching the muddy soil with their exquisite beauty. My heart broke as I gazed with sorrow from afar.
Last night, with a slight mist of rain filling the air, I donned my rubber boots and headed for the garden on a rescue mission... to seek and save what had been lost... if at all possible. As I lifted their heads, weighted down with water and mud, I was filled with hope that not all was lost. I gathered up more than twenty stems laden with blossoms and buds and brought them into the house. After spraying the mud from their petals, my sorrow was turned to joy to discover that none were lost but instead I was able to fill two large vases with beautiful bouquets... one to love and enjoy... the other to give away.
God used this experience, as He often does, to remind me of the beauty and blessings He promises to us. Oftentimes the fury of the winds and rain of this world leave us broken and bent over with great heaviness and sorrow. Our eyes become downcast, our heads... our minds become muddied with thoughts of despair, depression, or discontentment and we lose hope as we are not able to lift ourselves up and out of the pit we're in. But there is hope... there is always hope as we call out to our Savior God. When we put our hope back in Him, as the Lover of our souls and the Master Gardener of our hearts and lives, He reaches down from heaven and gently, lovingly lifts up our heads, washes us with His Holy Spirit and Truth, and He carefully places us in a vase with other broken people... church bouquets... for our own blessing and to be given away... giving ourselves to the world who needs to see what great things God has done for us... in His love and for His glory!
Thanks for letting me share this with you... it truly ministered to my heart and I hope it has for you as well.
I will turn their mourning into gladness;
I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow.
Thank You Father for being the Lifter of our heads... for turning our mourning into gladness... and our sorrow into joy... the joy of knowing, loving and trusting You. And thank You for using my broken peonies to paint such a beautiful picture for us to see. Amen.