I’m surprised how much joy the broken rose brought me.
My husband, Jeff, had brought home a dozen pink (my favorite) roses to me for Valentine’s Day. As I unwrapped them to arrange them in a vase I found one of the stems was broken, and the flower hung as if on a hinge, pointing down.
Jeff said, “Oh that’s sad.” And then he turned around and took a delicate glass bowl out of the china hutch and said , “Sometimes you put a flower bud in this. You could do that with the broken rose.”
And so I did. I cut off what remained of the stem and floated the rose in the small bowl of water. I arranged the rest of the roses in a vase that I put on the piano. They were beautiful!
But I was absolutely enamored with the broken rose that I kept on my desk. As the morning sun came in my window I was drawn to take pictures of it in the varying angles of light. I took more than a dozen photos! And one of them is my cover photo for this blog.
And here’s why… I feel like that broken rose is symbolic of the grace of God in a life of struggles. Life is “supposed” to be perfect and long-stemmed and strong, right? But it seldom, if ever, is perfect. Life has brokenness and imperfections. It usually has challenges and struggles.
It’s natural to want to wish the problems away. It’s normal to want everything to be healthy and….well, normal. But, as they say, “life ain’t like that”.
And it’s a blessing that it isn’t. Because there are lessons we learn, and character and faith that grow, only in the hard stuff of life.
And it’s in those times of brokenness that faith is stretched, love is grown, and mercies are realized. It’s in those times of challenge that our hearts are bared to the richness of God’s grace and softened to receive His love and truth in ever deeper ways.
I read an article about Anne Graham Lotz about two years ago when I first found out I needed surgery to remove cancer. She was dealing with breast cancer herself and said, “…I wrote a list of about two dozen things that cancer can do. It increases your joy. It develops your friendships. It develops your prayer life. We just need to look for the blessings.”Decision, June 2019
Her perspective encouraged me, and I found truth in it. I reached out to friends who covered me in prayer and I felt closer to them. I spent more time seeking God and praying myself, and learned to depend more and more on the comforting presence of my Abba Father.
And now I continue to seek His presence as I deal with ongoing chapters in a different cancer story. We don’t know how any given story will play out or end. But we know the Author is with us. We know He loves us and “that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose…” (Romans 8:28, NLT). We know there are blessings to be found in the brokenness of life.
And so I’m reminded, by the photos of my broken rose, to look at struggles in the light of God’s perspective. His love shines brighter rays in the challenges and shadows of life, and reveals depths of blessings not found other places.
Brokenness has its own song of grace and beauty. Let’s take that song and glorify God with it as we trust and worship Him.