Sun Blessed

I meant to share this last week, but have been too busy to sit down and write this.

In the Spring of 2013, after we lost our little boy, Blaise, who we were trying to adopt from the Congo, our friend Karen gave us a beautiful gift. She gave us a yellow rose bush that was called “Sun Blessed”. This was the perfect way for us to honor and remember the little boy that was so briefly in our life in pictures, but forever in our hearts as a son. We planted the rose bush and enjoyed it’s beautiful yellow blooms for the past two summers.

This winter we had several hard freezes and many of our plants looked like they were struggling. A friend’s parents stopped by one day. They both happen to have very green thumbs and were surveying the yard, letting us know which plants were well and which ones were dead. One plant that I had given up hope on, they proclaimed would be just fine. However, our beloved yellow, Sun Blessed, rose bush, they pronounced dead. They had no idea how much it meant to us and said we should go ahead and tear it out and plant something else.

Both Roger and I were heartsick. We had cherished this gift and felt terrible that it was no longer alive.

For the next couple of weeks, I decided that I was going to continue watering it. I did it out of habit, not giving it much thought. Then, the week before last, as I was enjoying the few minutes of quiet that I get while watering my plants, I started praying and asking God if He would be so kind as to bring that plant back from the dead: to make it bloom again. I know God has much more important things to concern Himself with, but I’ve learned in recent years that He cares about the big and the small. He wants to hear from us.

So I kept on praying and asking God if He would bring that plant back to life. One day, I was even so bold as to ask if He did bring it back, would it please be a sign that Daniel was coming home soon. Now I don’t want to make God out to be a liar, by putting ultimatums out there, but I thought it couldn’t hurt to ask.

So last week as I was watering and praying, I looked down at the rose bush and low and behold, there were the tiniest green leaves sprouting from the base of the bush.

It’s alive! I know it may seem silly to some people, but this answered prayer brought me more joy and renewed hope than I can describe. God was reminding me that He brings dead things back to life. He makes beauty from ashes.

We have mourned the loss of Blaise, and all of the children who have died senselessly because of poverty and disease. But God is doing a new thing. He’s brining another little boy home to our family.

And who knows? Maybe God will answer that second prayer and bring Daniel home as the bush is blooming. But even if He doesn’t, I’m so grateful for a God that cares about the details and answers prayers so specifically and beautifully, and who brings beauty from ashes.

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Blooming in Exile

Today was my last MOPS (Moms of Preschoolers) Bible Study. Becky Rutland has been an amazing leader who has unfolded God’s word in amazing ways over the past year.

Today, she had us go through an exercise that involved examining our fears. She had us write down the things we are currently fearful about: relationships, money, children, life situations, etc. Then she told us to ask ourselves “What lie has the enemy, Satan, spoken to you about this fear? After we identified the lie, we wrote the truth, God’s Truth, about the situation.

MY FEAR: I’m afraid that Daniel won’t be home for months or even years.

Of course it seems natural that any mother would fear time away from her son. But, I knew deep down that there was more to it than that. I was really struggling with the lie behind this fear. And then, I realized that what I’m really afraid of, is that life will be on hold, that the goodness that lies ahead will not come into my life until Daniel is finally home.

Then God did something really wonderful. He reminded me of a scripture that I heard years ago.

Jeremiah 29:4-7

“This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: “Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease. Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.”

THE TRUTH: God can help me bloom and prosper, even while I’m living in exhile.

Since January, God has been doing something so amazing and definitely supernatural in me. He has given me a peace in the midst of my waiting. I desperately want my son home, but I’m not hopeless, in despair and struggling. He’s been showing me that that He’s given me a life and it’s right in front of me, right now with an amazing husband, the three beautiful kids I have at home and with one extraordinary little boy on the other side of the world.

Little by little, I’m learning to be content in my current situation. But, I think God is calling me, and all of us to something greater than just contentment. I think He wants us to prosper and thrive, even in the hard times.

So whatever type of exhile you’re living in, whether it’s unemployment, the death of a loved one, the unfaithfulness of a spouse, the ridicule or cruelty of your peers, relational conflict, the uncertainty of illness, parenting a wayward child, the reality of unfulfilled dreams, struggling through addiction, or waiting for your child to come home from the Congo, I think God is calling us to PROSPER, to wait well, to live well and to plant gardens in our city and watch them BLOOM.