I was experiencing transition blues. We had sold our home, packed up and moved to Fort Worth, Texas where my husband became a seminary student.
On Sunday morning, I went to church in need of a bit of encouragement. I missed friends and family and the beautiful rolling hills of Pennsylvania.
I walked into my Sunday School class with a smile on my face. After all I was the teacher and needed to set a good example to the young seminary wives in my class, whether I felt like it or not.
A moment later, a friend walked up and handed me a beautiful rose.
“I took a walk in my garden this morning and found my roses had bloomed. I felt impressed to give you the first one.”
I was speechless. Tears came. How could she have known how much I needed to be encouraged.
I confess I don’t remember any of the hymns or the sermon that morning. My eyes and heart were captivated by the beauty and sweet fragrance of the rose I held in my hand.
Somewhere in the middle of the service, a song popped into my mind.
‘Little flowers never worry, when the winds begin to blow. And they never ever cry
when the rains begin to fall. Oh I think I know the secret, only little flowers know.
If it never ever rained, then the flowers wouldn’t grow.’ (author unknown)
Had God seen my bottled up tears and was this His way of letting me know He cared about my tears?
I think so.
A few days later, I drove to Houston to spend some time with a child-hood friend. Little did I expect the surprise awaiting me. When I arrived, Norma greeted me with a hug and welcomed me into her home.
“You will never guess what Lisa painted for you! Come and see. It’s here in the dining room.“
Once more I was unable to speak. Tears poured as my eyes fell upon the framed portrait. An exact replica of the rose given me a few days before. Short stem and all!
How could she have known?
Now there was no doubt. I knew God was in this. One rose would have been enough. I was already encouraged. Maybe the Lord wanted me to have the framed rose as a life-time reminder.
God sees and knows all about us and knows when we need to be encouraged.
Was I encouraged? You better believe it!
My friends were the sunshine and rain of God’s love pouring over me that day.
The word encourage means to give active help and support, so someone can continue to function and persevere during a challenging or difficult time.
That pretty much explains what my friends did for me. Their tangible gift of the rose encouraged and strengthened my resolve to make the challenging transition of that season of my life.
What tangible gift can you give to cheer someone up today? Maybe you could visit a friend. Send a card, note or letter. Email, facebook, etc.
You might even want to give the gift of a rose.
Be encouraged and pass the gift along.
A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity. (Proverbs s 17:17 NIV).
*Portrait of the Rose by Lisa Pritchett