How blessed we are to have friends who lift us up, who speak truth to us, who listen, give advice, encouragement and their constant prayers. This is richness; this is true treasure to have such wonderful women in your life.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Lessons From Wildflowers

Four months in and already this year has been an eclectic mixture of joy and sorrow…of the Lord’s supreme beauty and the crushing ugliness of living in an imperfect, fallen world.  But right now…at this moment, the Lord has been absolutely ridiculous about His show of beauty in this desert. 
The wildflowers, especially the poppies, have been beyond spectacular.  One week ago people were saying this was close to the most beautiful showing of wildflowers this valley had ever seen.  Just as the show began to ebb, we had a small rainstorm and the valley rebloomed with more orange and then just to show off, He added purple and blue and shades and shades of yellow.  I told you He was ridiculous this year.  Here’s the wonder…in January the talk was all about the poor showing the wildflowers would make this season and then He brought the rain…again and again.  We can talk and predict all we want but in the end, He gets to do what He wants. 

I posted pictures of the wildflowers on Facebook.  Honestly, it was just too beautiful not to share.  Peter and I would look around our hilltop home the Lord so graciously provided for us, and we would stand in awe of the gorgeous sight.  We took picture after picture because to NOT share felt like we were “hogging” this spectacular beauty for ourselves.  One day I was surprised to see a comment made by a friend of a friend… "Too bad it’s all going to be brown and ugly in a week.
He spoke the truth.  All this beauty and vibrant, living color will be gone in a few short weeks.  Poppies will recede back into the earth and this year will only be a memory of what once was, and in future years the “2014 wildflowers” will be talked of and used as the new standard of flowering beauty.  I know someday there will be a better year because that’s the way our God is…He likes to outdo Himself just to bless us and prove that He can.

I’ve been thinking a lot of about the flowers that surround me this year, and I don’t think it has been a coincidence that the year they are at their most beautiful, I have lost dearly loved women in my life.  Over the months on this blog, I have introduced you to two of them: my Aunt Delores and my friend, Elaine.  Then recently another beloved friend left us…sweet Tara, who was a faithful morning Bible study girl for years.  None of these three had “charmed” lives, in fact, each one endured difficulties that were painful physically and emotionally.  My Aunt Delores in her lifetime grieved the loss of two of her children, her sister, a daughter-in-law and her husband.  Elaine and Tara endured chronic and painful illnesses for years.  And yet, when I look at their lives, I see great beauty.  I witnessed it.  Each wore their suffering and pain with grace, faith, kindness and selfless love.  Others say the very same thing about these three: they left a legacy of beauty behind. 

Let me tell you a little something about poppies I learned from a wise, old rancher who lives up the road from me.  Mr. Barnes has lived in this valley his entire life.  His family homesteaded the property he lives on to this day and he has seen many, many wildflower seasons.  Some decades back, there was a decision made to create a Poppy Reserve at the west end of the valley, so they fenced off a fair amount of land to protect and preserve the poppies for future generations.  Mr. Barnes made an effort to tell the Poppy Reserve people that though it sounded like a great idea, poppy seeds need stressful, adverse conditions in order to bloom to their best potential.  I don’t know when shepherds began grazing their sheep across the valley floor, but they have for as long as I can remember and evidentially for as long as Mr. Barnes can remember as well, because he told them there is a reason why poppies bloom best where the sheep are allowed to graze.  The seeds are mashed up between sheep teeth and then conveniently “exit” the sheep complete with fertilizer just waiting to be watered the next year.  To this day, the most beautiful poppy fields are the ones where the sheep are allowed to graze.  Probably the most convincing sight I saw this year of this truth was the patch of poppies growing under an electric power line that had been erected in the past few years.  All that movement to set the tower created stress on those seeds and though not many poppies grew in the field around the tower, it bloomed like a garden underneath.
My friends, Tara and Elaine and my aunt lived the life of a poppy field.  They endured pain, more pain than most, but they had spirits that overflowed with loving-kindness, selflessness and more than anything else, humility.  The seeds of their lives have blown into mine…they have blown into yours as you read this.  They just keep blooming on in bigger and better displays of beauty because that's the way it works with lives like theirs....they multiply and magnify.

My brother told me this year he had a pilot flying over the valley who came back and told him she wished everyone could view the valley from her vantage point.  She was in awe of the sight below her that was beyond description.  From above she could see the entire vista of what those spring rains had brought to the valley.   I believe that is the view God has of our own lives.  We see the here and now of our lives as we go through the joys and sorrows, as we endure the difficulties, as we choose His way rather than our own.  He knows what we can’t see, that the future is transformed into beauty because of a life lived well in the midst of an imperfect, and many times, painful world.

Many people think of death much like the person who posted the comment on my pictures of wildflowers…a beautiful life is lived and then death shrivels it up and it is swept away in the months and years that follow by the winds of forgetfulness that blow across our lives.   If that were it, ALL we could feel is sadness at the loss of something so beautiful.  But then there is Jesus who visited this fallen world with a perfect life and He changed everything by living and dieing and then living True, human lives might be “grass that withers and flowers that fall,” but for faithful servants of the Lord, the beauty of their lives keeps on producing...keeps on living in those of us who remain and we, as good stewards of such preciousness, have the opportunity to add to the beauty with our own lives.  

Remembering the beauty...with love,



  1. Yay! I look forward to joining your online blog study this summer! ~ Packi

    1. I can't tell you how excited I am to have you join us this summer!!!! You are such a blessing and encouragement to me!


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