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Well, I have had one interesting week, to say the least. But during the course of this week, I was reminded, gently, to put my complete trust in God. I think that from time to time, even the most devout Christians will forget that God is in control. It is human nature to forget that God is in charge as we try to control the events in our lives. This is especially true when faced with difficulties.
Earlier this week, I was made aware of some financial issues within a non-profit organization. Without getting into too much detail, I was disturbed to find out the details from a very dear friend, and I felt it was my responsibility to report the possible money mismanagement. At first, I really didn’t want to get involved, but as I thought more about it, I knew it was the right thing to do. So, four of us wrote a letter detailing our concerns.
While we were dealing with this issue, my mom came to visit. We had such a wonderful time together, as we always do, but I felt guilty leaving her alone for periods of time while I continued to deal with this issue. My mom is very understanding, and she told me that it didn’t bother her one bit that I had to go to my office and work for a while. However, I still felt torn. I wanted to just have fun with her and not worry about the problem for a while, but I also wanted to do the right thing and help those out who had been mistreated in the organization.
On Tuesday, I sat down to pray as I always do. I was very stressed and exhausted. As I closed my eyes, I just sat there quietly for a few minutes before I began to say my prayers. An image of Jesus came to my mind, and he was standing on water. He asked me to come toward him as He stretched out his arm. I was in a boat, and I began to walk on water toward him, just as the disciple Peter did. He told me very clearly to trust in Him and to get rid of my doubt. I began to pray. I told him all of my concerns and about all the stress that I was under regarding this problem with the 501(c)3. He repeatedly told me to trust Him. After praying, I opened my Bible and continued to read where I had left off. I was stunned when I read the following verse:
“But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.” James 1:6
I knew at that moment that Jesus was right there with me. I continued to read.
“But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but DOING it – he will be blessed in what he does.” James 1:25
I knew that I was doing the right thing. I was standing up for those who had been mistreated. I went away feeling much better that morning.
As the week went on, the 501(c)3 began to fall apart because the issues were being openly discussed. This bothered me somewhat since this organization had done some amazing things in the past. It was sad to see things fall apart because of bad management, and I began to believe that the organization would not be able to be saved.
This morning, I attended church with a friend of mine. The topic, unbelievably, was about trust in God! Several statements really affected me and almost brought me to tears.
One point was to tune out bad advice that others want to give to us during difficult times. The pastor brought up the story of Jairus and how Jesus ignored comments made when Jairus’ daughter died. Jesus told Jairus to trust Him, and the little girl was healed.
“While Jesus was still speaking, some men came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue ruler. ‘Your daughter is dead,’ they said. ‘Why bother the teacher anymore?’ Ignoring what they said, Jesus told the synagogue ruler, ‘Don’t be afraid; just believe.'” Mark 5:35-36
“After he put them all out, he took the child’s father and mother and the disciples who were with him and went into where the child was. He took her by the hand and said to her, ‘Talitha koum!’ (which means ‘Little girl, I say to you, get up!’). Immediately the girl stood up and walked around…” Mark 5:40-41
When I heard this, I realized that nothing is impossible with God. Could this organization be saved? Will a better organization come out of all this mess? Maybe so. With God’s help, anything can happen.
The pastor then talked a little bit on interruptions. He conveyed a detailed story about how an interruption can actually be all part of God’s plan. I immediately thought about the past week as it was full of interruptions during my mom’s visit. I realized that these interruptions had a purpose, and it was well worth my time to address them.
The final point that the pastor made was to realize that challenges are a part of the process.
“Remember those earlier days after you had received the light, when you stood your ground in a great contest in the face of suffering. Sometimes you were publicly exposed to insult and persecution; at other times you stood side by side with those who were so treated. You sympathized with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions. So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what He has promised.” Hebrews 10:32-36
No matter how difficult life may become, put your complete trust in God. Things may not always make sense at the time, but always remember that God is in control. Stay the course, and be strong in the Lord. God will never betray your trust, and He will never let you down!
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”