“See the winter is past; the rains are over and gone. Flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing has come.” -Song of Solomon 2:11-12
When Michael and I got married nearly 14 years ago, we had dozens of tulips but we didn’t have a single flower girl in the ceremony. We just didn’t know any young girls of the proper age to assign that role, except one whose family wasn’t able to attend the event. So I felt a little sad not having a flower girl in my wedding, but it was just as well. God’s desire was to bless us far beyond getting someone else’s a little girl all dressed up to toss out a few petals and fidget for the rest of a 45-minute ceremony.
Yes, God’s blessed us far beyond our wildest imaginations. Today we have two flower girls, and cumulatively they have blessed us with 11 years worth of all things flowery, dressy and girly — and I have a feeling there are still many more years of that to come.
Since they were wee little ones, hardly able to walk, our daughters have been our flower girls, pondering many a petal and sniffing each bloom thoughtfully.
Linnea always has been the chief flower sniffer among us.
When she was small, Linnea demanded to sniff any real or fake flower within a 5-mile radius.
She gladly helped me plant Impatiens in the backyard, and she sniffed them plenty, too.
Just a few weeks ago, she confirmed that this lily smelled quite lovely indeed.
Now Laurel, on the other hand, always has been the chief caretaker of the flowers.
She’s always eager to relieve the Impatiens of their endless thirst.
And she’s always quick on the draw with a watering can.
Even the petunias wave in delight when Laurel comes share her sprinkles.
I’m sure my daughters’ flower sniffing and watering obsessions have nothing to do with the fact that both their names are also the names of flowers (Linnea is the national flower of Sweden, and the Mountain Laurel is the state flower of Pennsylvania and Connecticut.)
I’m sure it has more to do with the fact that God created in them a need to behold and connect with something beautiful, a need for Him. Flowers are His creation, His handiwork. And right now God’s handiwork is blooming all over the countryside, beautifully showing us just a glimpse of our Creator’s indescribable glory.
In Oregon earlier this month, the girls found flowers on a little nature walk we took in Lake Oswego.
Our stroll took us along part of this avenue of blooming crab apple trees.
Also, if you read this earlier post, you may recall the magnolia tree I mentioned was almost done blooming in the courtyard when we visited Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Portland. The blooms looked like this:
And beneath the tree, the girls scrambled to collect fistfuls of fallen blooms.
Surely by now you can imagine why we just had to take our flower girls to the tulip festival in Oregon.
With tulips in nearly every color of the rainbow, the festival was truly a tulip-lover’s paradise, a botanical feast for the eyes.
It wasn’t easy, but somehow our flower girls victoriously overcame the temptation to pick the tulips. We did buy a lovely bouquet of tulips for my aunt, which helped us not feel so empty-handed. I kept longing to bring some of the tulips home with us, but instead I brought home another treasure: this picture of our flower girls admiring the tulips.
I love that they are equipped with rubber boots and raincoats beneath a bright blue, sunshiny sky. The path was muddy and bumpy, and they splashed through dozens of puddles along the way. But the beauty around them made it all worthwhile.
I also love that this picture offers so much perspective on life. If I focus too much on my own two boots and the muddy trial I’m walking through, I get bogged down and discouraged. But if I look upward, I see the rain is over and gone. I see the Son shining down on me, lighting my path.
And if I look out beyond my path, I see fields of precious people, flowers quickly fading. They are here today, but many will be gone tomorrow. Some are ripe for harvest. Some have already turned toward the Light. Others will turn to Him eventually. And still others will never turn toward the Light of the World, Jesus. That’s a godly perspective of which I need to be constantly reminded. When I see those around me as flowers quickly fading — here today and gone tomorrow — I treat them differently. I am more loving, more patient, more heart-broken, and more passionate about sharing my faith in Christ Jesus.
So, because I love this picture and because I love our precious flower girls, and yes, because I love tulips — in case I left any doubt about that — the tulip festival leaves big shoes to fill on our next nature walk!
Wouldn’t you agree?