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This past Christmas may have just been the most special of my life, and it all centers around one single yellow rose.
The past five years for me have been tough. I’ve endured three back surgeries, a coiled brain aneurysm, a divorce, and the loss of my father to cancer. During this time, I turned to God for help, and my strong faith in Jesus Christ sustained me. I have received many signs from God during this time, but none were quite as special as a single yellow rose that I received early in December.
My mom was visiting me, and we decided to go to a book signing that my friend, Belinda, was holding at a flower gallery near my home. The store was beautifully decorated for Christmas, and it was crammed with people feverishly looking for Christmas gifts and decorations. After visiting with Belinda, we made our way to the front of the store to leave. As we walked out, two men stood there with armfuls of roses. They were giving roses to each customer as he/she left. I was handed a yellow rose, and my mom was given a purple one. It was such a pleasant surprise and really made our day.
When we arrived home, I cut the stems of the two roses and put them into a vase. Both roses clearly had been freshly picked as they hadn’t opened yet. The next morning, both roses had completely opened up, and both were beautiful, but the yellow one was incredible. It was loaded with petals, more than I had ever seen on a rose. We remarked on the beauty of the yellow rose but didn’t think much more about it.
Later that week, my mom returned home. The purple rose started to wither at around day 5, and I tossed it at about day 7. However, the yellow rose stayed alive and beautiful for weeks! It didn’t begin to wither at all until about 3 weeks had passed. I was amazed at the beauty and health of this single yellow rose.
I wondered if this yellow rose was some kind of sign. I had never seen anything like it, so I looked up information about yellow roses. They are associated with the sun and convey feelings of warmth, happiness, springtime, platonic love, and devotion. First discovered in the 18th century, they can symbolize renewal…a time of starting fresh. I wondered if this was my sign that things would begin to improve for me. When the rose started to wilt, I took 4 of its petals and placed them inside my Bible to keep to remember this special flower.
On December 30, a friend of mine posted the above photo on facebook. I was stunned when I saw it was a yellow rose! I knew that God had sent that rose to me as a sign that He was right there with me. I knew that this was going to be the subject of my next blog. As I thought about writing the blog, I kept thinking about the song, “Lo How a Rose E’er Blooming.” I hadn’t sung this song in years, and I kept wondering why that song was stuck in my head. I kept thinking I should look up the words, but I never did. Then, on January 1, my mom and I attended a Catholic mass. The song after communion was “Lo How a Rose E’er Blooming”! I closely listened to the words, and the message became clear to me.
God’s gift to me this Christmas was a single yellow rose that signifies renewal, starting fresh, and comfort. He is walking right beside me. He has dispelled darkness and shares the load that I carry. He will care for me always and will supply my every need. Praise be to Lord Jesus Christ, my savior and king!
“O Flower whose fragrance tender, with sweetness fills the air, dispel with glorious splendor, the darkness everywhere. True man, yet very God, from sin and death now save us and share our every load.” Verse 3, “Lo How a Rose E’er Blooming”
“When the night has been too lonely and the road has been too long, and you think that love is only for the lucky and the strong, just remember in the winter far beneath the bitter snow lies the seed that with the sun’s love in the spring becomes the rose.” Bette Midler, “The Rose”
“Humility is perfect quietness of heart, It is to expect nothing, to wonder at nothing that is done to me, to feel nothing done against me. It is to be at rest when nobody praises me, and when I am blamed or despised. It is to have a blessed home in the Lord, where I can go in and shut the door, and kneel to my Father in secret, and am at peace as in a deep sea of calmness, when all around and above is trouble.”
Footprints In The Sand
One night a man had a dream. He dreamed
he was walking along the beach with the LORD. Across the sky flashed scenes from his life. For each scene he noticed two sets of footprints in the sand: one belonging to him, and the other to the LORD.
When the last scene of his life flashed before him,
he looked back at the footprints in the sand. He noticed that many times along the path of his life there was only one set of footprints. He also noticed that it happened at the very lowest and saddest times in his life. This really bothered him and he questioned the LORD about it.
“LORD, you said that once I decided to follow
you, you’d walk with me all the way.
But I have noticed that during the most
troublesome times in my life,
there is only one set of footprints.
I don’t understand why when
I needed you most you would leave me.”
The LORD replied:
“My son, my precious child,
I love you and I would never leave you.
During your times of trial and suffering,
when you see only one set of footprints,
it was then that I carried you.”
Author: Mary Stevenson Zangare
The first few months of 2012 were probably the worst in my life. First of all, I was facing my third back surgery. My first two spinal fusions had failed and resulted in several broken screws. My third surgery was going to be performed by a different surgeon – one that came highly recommended for complex spinal cases. I was trying to remain optimistic, but just thinking about it created tremendous stress for me.
Secondly, I was still recovering from a coil and stent procedure for a brain aneurysm that was found just by chance during the treatment for my back condition. When the aneurysm was found, my back problems had to be put on hold as the aneurysm took priority. After that surgery, I was put on Plavix (blood thinner) for three months, and I was unable to have surgery of any kind until I was off that medication.
Finally, I found out about a month before my back surgery that my husband wanted a divorce. Also, I had been struggling with some of the behavior of my husband’s family. We clearly had differing moral values, and I struggled with this tremendously. I tried to make a difference, but everything I said fell on deaf ears. Divorce was never an option for me as I made an oath before God, but I was finally set free when my husband decided to become involved with another woman.
As you can imagine, I was a complete mess. However, my faith in God remained, and I prayed more during these few months than I had ever prayed in my life.
One night as I was crying myself to sleep, I had a dream that Jesus picked me up and was carrying me. When I woke up, I remembered that beautiful poem, “Footprints”, and I knew deep in my heart that He was carrying me through this deep valley in my life. I hung on to my faith for dear life and constantly asked God for His strength to get me through this terrible time. I knew I couldn’t do it by myself.
Several weeks before my third surgery, I went to a Catholic church near my house and asked to receive the sacrament of “Anointing of the Sick”. The priest talked to me a bit, and then stood up next to me, anointed my head with oil and prayed for my healing, both emotional and physical. I felt a sense of peace come over me, and I knew that God had heard the prayer.
That night, I opened my Bible and read this verse in Psalms:
For surely your enemies, O Lord, surely your enemies will perish; all evildoers will be scattered. You have exalted my strength like that of a wild ox; fine oils have been poured upon me. My eyes have seen the defeat of my adversaries; my ears have heard the rout of my wicked foes. Psalm 92:9-11
A few weeks later, I was having a particularly bad day. I prayed fervently to God and asked him to speak specifically to me through His word. I opened the Bible and read this passage from Mark:
“Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.” Mark 5:34
The doctors were very optimistic that the third back surgery would result in fusion……and it did! Eight months after the spinal fusion, an x-ray of my back confirmed that the fusion did in fact take place, and my back was now stable! A few weeks after learning that the fusion had taken place, I opened my Bible and read the following passage…..a well-known one from Psalms, but it now has a special meaning to me after having that dream and being anointed with oil.
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul. He guides me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. Psalm 23
The very next day, I opened the Bible again to this verse, also in Psalms:
I will exalt you, O Lord, for you lifted me out of the depths and did not let my enemies gloat over me. O Lord my God, I called to you for help and you healed me. O Lord, you brought me up from the grave; you spared me from going down into the pit. Psalm 30:1-3
Clearly, God was directly involved in my healing, both emotionally and physically. He removed the damaging people from my life and brought new and wonderful people to me that have helped tremendously in my healing process. This truly was a miraculous healing! Put all your faith and trust in Him and He will always bring you through the deepest valleys of your life!