Pressed Roses

“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

John 16:33, ESV

This world is not our friend. And then we often face issues that create ugly things–  a fight with a spouse, poor choices, money problems– a lengthy list that seems that we’re always adding new entries. And as we each of us work through our tears, as we face sickness, loneliness, fear and misunderstanding.

In this world of woe and trouble, we discover that life is itself often brutal. Myself, I must deal with clinical depression, paranoia and physical pain. It is constant, a barrage of challenging things. Sometimes they swallow me up, and I lose my way.

I was thinking this morning, of a recent find in the pages of an old book– pressed rose petals! The book had been many years on the shelf. When I opened the book they I found them.  Typically, they are fairly well preserved. They still have color and shape. And most of all, they still have a fragrance.

I really don’t know what I’m supposed to do when this happens. Do I just “read” around them, or do I physically remove them? I almost feel that they are sacred or something. Do I find an old jar and store them? But no matter what I do, I always pause and think. Sometimes though, I can even remember the incident that they were given. An anniversary or a birthday maybe? Or sometimes they are given, “just because.”

Two distinct thoughts work in me. I look at the hard, hard things that I have had to process through my past, and present, and most likely, my future. I have to believe, from all that I have read and the preaching I have heard over the years that my pain gets turned into gold (or into roses!) This is exclusively a work of God. The second thought is a little bit harder to think through. But Jesus is the rose. He is the beauty and the fragrance of heaven come to earth.

There is an old fable kept by the believers of the first century; it was said that wherever Jesus stepped while on earth, roses would spring up in His footprints. This is only a legend of course, but that doesn’t mean that it is all false. Some of these stories have more truth in them than we think.

 

Coming to Him is such pleasant thing. It shouldn’t be an agonizing ordeal. It is not a painful or real sacrifice. After all, He is the rose. Roses are beautiful, they have a definite fragrance. There is a symmetry to them, and they are special, people will cultivate them for their beauty. Roses are never a hassle, for some reason we can never send or get too many.

“I am the rose of Sharon, a lily of the valleys.”

Songs 2:1, ESV

“A discipleship without flowers, probably isn’t worth having.”

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Just One Step Ahead

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“Life here feels like you were just left off here one day, with no instruction manual, and no idea of what you were supposed to do; how to fit in; how to find a day’s relief from the anxiety, how to keep your beloved alive; how to stay one step ahead of abyss.”

Anne Lamott

The reality is this: so much happens that we’re not in control of. Many deluded souls think they have it by the handle; that they have it figured out. But not me. They say that some circus performers are routinely automatic when walking the tightrope. All though I can recognize the skill, I am terribly afraid of heights.

Life comes at us so fast, racing at us relentlessly. And it is never linear or methodical, there are bumps and curves that must be navigated.

I believe that the Bible– God’s very word, has impressive, supernatural power. It guides me when all other ‘influences’ fail and falter.

“Your word is a lamp to guide my feet
    and a light for my path.”

Psalm 119:105

I live for, and love, the guidance He gives. There is so much adventure to it all. To be in harmony with  Him (and His Will) is a wonderful thing. I don’t pretend that I’m walking alone. A solitary mouse moving through the intricate maze. Rather, I seek the direction of the One who is my Companion. (He knows the way.) And He loves me!

“Who is that coming up from the wilderness,
    leaning on her beloved?”

Song of Solomon 8:5

He is with you in this wilderness.

Being mentally disabled isn’t easy, but who says it should be? Whatever wilderness we find ourselves in is punctuated by His presence. He is there, and He can be leaned on. There are no quick fixes; there is only His strong presence. He is with you in this wilderness.

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