Divorce, Grief, Seasons of Life, TRIALS AND TRIBULATIONS, Widowhood

FLOWERS ARE A BLESSING ON YOUR HEAD

“Blessings reaching to the utmost bounds of the everlasting hills”

I don’t know about you, but my favorite time of the year is when the flower growing season is at its height.  The diversity of plants and flowers has fascinated me since I was a child as we eagerly looked for flame lilies (our national flower) and ground orchids in the veld, around Christmas time, and we would fill a big copper bowl with our findings!  I was looking for a verse that would describe the joy I felt in flowers, and I came across this verse in Genesis “blessings of the grain and flowers, blessings reaching to the utmost bounds of the everlasting hills. These shall be the blessings upon the head of Joseph who was exiled from his brothers.”  O wow!  That really spoke to me about God’s provision of blessing in flowers when we are feel low.  Have you ever looked across the hillsides when the hills are alive with yellow and purple flowers? Absolute glory!

Joseph had been sold off into slavery by his brothers as a young boy.  He must have felt so alone, and yet here God said the flowers will be a blessing on his head!  After I had been divorced and felt rejected, feeling like a slave with the hard grind of making ends meet after living in a beautiful home with gardens.  I was living in a small upstairs apartment with no garden at the time but was able to turn this around when I could walk around the local parks filled with beautiful rose gardens and enjoy them as if they were mine. The huge benefit of this was I did not have to be responsible to watering them, pruning or feeding them. I could just enjoy them!  This is surely what God meant about the blessing of the flowers, they are just there to be enjoyed.

When I was widowed, people kindly sent me flowers. The flowers at my late husband’s funeral were a beautiful symbol of his life and the colors of his Dutch background with huge orange day lilies. Flowers have a language of their own and the type and color can be symbols for feelings.  Red roses for love, white for a wedding, white lilies for death.  Nations have their own national flower; it is like a banner that rallies you. When you experience grief through the loss of a significant person in your life, flowers help to comfort and cheer you through the dark days. Elton John rewrote the words of” Candle in the Wind” to sing at Princess Diana’s funeral, he said ‘Goodbye England’s rose”, what a comfort that was to the English people as they mourned her loss.

As an artist, I have painted or photographed many a flower and they are still one of my favorite subjects. Flowers are used as decoration in so many places, they are architectural features on buildings and play a part in rituals and ceremonies.   The lampstands and decorations for the Israelites Tabernacle and Temple had almond flowers, rosebuds and open flowers and palm tree carved into the cedar panels, these were often covered in gold leaf. Some of the most beautiful classical gardens are drawn with small green hedges or borders and different colored flower panels in the spaces.  Cities sometimes use flowers to decorate a garden crest motif at the entrance of the city.

When you are going through times of grief and tears, when you are feeling shunned and sent away.  When you are feeling alone, go and find a garden, look at the flowers, enjoy them and meditate on them, remember God gave us flowers as a blessing. There is an old hymn about Jesus walking and talking in the garden while the dew was still on the roses. Look at those flowers and see if you can meet with Jesus and talk out your grief with him.         

Divorce, Grief, Transitions, Uncategorized, Widowhood

Align Yourself with Your Season in Life

There is something special about Spring, it is the signal that a new season has begun.  When you are going through transitions in your life, it is a time when you see the first glimpse of your new life emerging. It could be the day you wake up and feel alive and happy for the first time after being widowed or divorced.  Or it could be that you no longer worry about the future but just know that all will be well.

It is very comforting to know that as long as the earth remains there will be seasons and if you align yourself with the seasons of your life and know which season you are in, it makes it much easier to navigate your life and transition. It would be difficult to bloom and flourish in the winter when you are meant to rest. Likewise, it would be hard to rest when the world around you is active in summer.  Accept the season you are now in, knowing it will pass.

After a long dark winter, the spring winds blow bringing rain to wet the earth and set in motion the cycle of new growth, seeds sprouting, trees budding, and flowers beginning to blossom.  Birds begin to sing and instead of the frozen fields, green pastures emerge ready to support the flocks.

You may not even have been aware of it, but while you were going through your period of grief and despair, new seeds were being planted in the recesses of your heart. Seeds of compassion, empathy, affinity, insight, sympathy and tenderheartedness. When eventually your Spring breaks through, you will experience that inner peace and joy and know you are through the worst of it, you will find that those seeds grow so that you will be able to empathize and help others when they are going through the winter in their life.

After I had healed from my divorce, I found that I could empathize with others who were going through the same experience and give them the comfort and encouragement they needed. After I had been through caregiving and the death of my late husband who had dementia, I was able to help and have compassion for families who were going through similar circumstances.

Napoleon Hill said, “look for the seed of good in something bad, nurture it until it grows into something good”, the Bible also says something similar, “All things work together for good to those who love God and are called according to His purpose.” That is the reason, I am here today, to help others who are going through difficult life transitions.  Let me help you plant the seeds of good in what you are going through today, so when your Spring comes, they will burst forth with joy!