Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas Cactus, 2011

Last year, I wrote about how God used a strange and beautiful flower to speak to me about His character. This year, when Michael and I got to my mother's house in South Carolina, we saw that same flower in the doorway. A friend of hers raises these flowers and had given her one as a Christmas gift.

As I've been enjoying her potted Christmas cactus in the doorway, I've been reminded of God's faithfulness in a specific way. Seeing the flower again- being given a picture of God's goodness again- has been timely, because this past week it seems that I've been learning some of the same lessons- again- that I thought I learned years ago. I've been amazed at God's patience with me. His kindness leads me to repentance- again and again and again. Not only does He tenderly shepherd my wandering heart and use my own sin to instruct and restore me, but He does so every time I falter and fall. There's no "three strike" mentality with my good Shepherd, with my loving Father, with my faithful bridegroom.

The cactus came to mind yesterday as I was journaling. I wrote, "You allow my rebellion to bear its own fruit and You let it sting me, but You never desert or reject me in the process, even though that's exactly what I deserve." I thought of the thorns on the cactus. And then I thought of the surprisingly beautiful bloom that emerges from the thorny stems and felt God's tender instruction, "And I can still bring beauty out of the worst of it."

This is my story- God allowing the thorns of my broken life to show, only to display the true wonder of His beauty in the midst of it all. My story is of God making a broken life beautiful.

To read what I wrote about the cactus last year, see here.

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