The Rose

The hot pink rose stood out among all the others. Had it been surrounded by blooms of the same color, it would have escaped my attention. But, there it was, standing proudly among so many “sisters,” all of whom were so pale pink that, at first glance, they appeared beige.

Later that evening, I returned to the deck in order to remove the blooms that had dried up during our five-day vacation. Once again, a smile tugged at the corners of my mouth as I saw the hot pink rose--smaller than a quarter, yet amazingly perfect--its vibrant color accentuated all
the more by the bush’s dark green foliage.

I whispered, “How did you get here?” That was a valid question since the bush had produced only the same “pinky-beige” blooms during the two years I’d carefully nurtured it. Fortunately for me, the rose didn’t answer; I probably would have passed out if it had. Yet, I knew the tiny
flower was intended just for me—as a beautiful reminder of the things I’d learned while vacationing on the Emerald Coast of Florida. While we were there my husband went deep-sea fishing and I spent wonderful hours alone, reading and relaxing. A book I’d bought while en route to Florida contained page after page of encouragement and instruction for living
authentically and abundantly. I read it carefully, thoughtfully, and meditatively as we traveled to our destination. I read it as the ocean breezes blew gently against my face. I read it in the quiet of the motel room. Each reading place felt like a sanctuary, so clearly did my
Heavenly Father speak to me.

While reading that book, I came to realize many things about myself, one of them being the need to live authentically. Another book I read urged me to accept myself as a wonderful creation of God. Then I can feel fully free to be who I am, without having to wonder constantly if I'm
good enough or pleasing enough. By accepting myself as a wonderful creation of God, I can delight in my uniqueness and feel truly glad that nobody can ever be me but me!

Both of the books encouraged me to be "me," but I knew that would be hard to do since, for more years than I care to admit, I’d tried to do whatever pleased other people. In the process, I’d just sorta muddled through life, doing those things I felt others expected me to do. Good
things. Honorable things. But not necessarily those special things God had gifted me to do during my sojourn on earth. And I’d known for a long time that I should learn to say “no” to people in order to be free to say “yes” to God. Yet, for many reasons, I had not done that.

During those hours of solitude, however, I began to envision myself becoming the “me” I was created to be. I felt excited, but scared, as I realized that, in order for it to happen, I'd have to learn to make different decisions and responses than those I'd made all my life. I
wanted to be transformed, but wondered if it were possible. Upon my return home, the sight of the rose filled me with joy. It showed me that I, too, could become more than just an ordinary garden-variety type!

Even though my experience was not identical to that of Moses as he looked upon the burning bush, my heart did hear my Heavenly Father whisper, “If you follow My plan for your life, I will transform your life into something extraordinary, into something as unique and as strikingly beautiful as the rose. Trust Me! Obey Me! Watch what happens!

©May 17, 1999, Johnnie Ann Gaskill. All Rights Reserved.



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