©Joy Dunlap https://joydunlap.com
Over the past year, my husband surprised and delighted me with more than 25 flower bouquets.
As I think back over that time, many of the actions he took reminded me of how God demonstrates His love for us and His presence with us.
Since we spent most of our time at home given the Covid situation, Charlie’s thoughtful gesture brightened our environment and boosted my spirits. In the delivery of each of the flower bouquets I felt his love.
God gives us unexpected delights in our days: a colorful rainbow, a pretty wildflower, a hopping bunny, swooping cardinals, a revived and blooming bush and so many others. Many arrive at just the perfect time. A friend’s cheery call, a sweet note in the mail, a surprise gift for no reason. A Bible verse that speaks directly to how we’re feeling. All provide encouragement and hugs for the heart.
Spending more time in each other’s company than we have in decades brought us even closer. On a nearby trail, he ran while I walked, and we rode to and from together. On the back deck and sunporch, we read, talked or sat quietly and watched as the sunlight streamed through the trees, the leaves danced, and the squirrels scampered. Walking in the garden together, we explored which new blooms emerged as the months went by.
And, we wrote our blogs – sometimes in the same room – and read and commented on the other’s.
Those flowers he brought home graced our table. As we ate meals, we enjoyed those as we gazed on the outdoor beauty and thanked God for our blessings.
The more time we spend with God, the more opportunities for delight and enjoyment in Him we discover. When we read His Word, share our days, and commune with Him at the spiritual table, we become more attuned to Him.
As a special COVID lockdown endeavor, Charlie and I planted two elephant ear bulbs. What a kick we got out of watching those plants with their heart-shaped leaves and others in our garden grow.
We also discussed and worked on other projects to touch the lives of others.
God desires for us to touch others with goodness, generosity, and the gospel. In giving to others, we obey God and walk in His way. Sometimes we are even fortunate enough to see or hear how others grow as a result.
When the pandemic shutdown started, my husband said he would do any shopping we needed so I wouldn’t have to potentially be exposed.
He took the risk in my place.
But I didn’t have to accept his offer. I could choose. (And, as you might imagine, a few times I chose to do it my way.)
Jesus took our place on the cross.
Sinless and God in human form, He paid the debt for our sin to make us soul-healthy, restore communion with our Heavenly Father, and provide us with the opportunity for eternal life if we choose to believe and follow Him.
A couple of the flower bouquets I received were in response to specific requests because I wanted to create a decorative table display which was pictured in 14 Ways to Heart-Happy.
All the rest he selected to surprise me at various times. My sweet husband treated me to flowers with various colors and textures, plus one batch of more than two dozen red roses. Whether the mixes included sunflowers, carnations, snapdragons, daisies, aster, bachelor’s button, Peruvian lilies, gladiolus, Oriental lilies, baby’s breath, roses or others, the unexpected treats brought much pleasure in the surprise, receipt and further discovery.
God always gives us what we need (and many times what we desire) which lets us know He hears us and cares about what we think, experience, dream and do. But thankfully God doesn’t restrict His giving to just our imaginations or requests. The Bible tells us God is able to do immeasurably more than we imagine or ask.
I hate to admit what I’m about to share, but you already know that I am oh-so-very human! Recently my husband brought home flowers we had agreed to take to a couple when visiting them outdoors. I hoped he would bring a bunch for me too.
But that time he didn’t.
So, can I just confess that I was disappointed?
Even though I’d already had more than 20 different beautiful batches given to me?
I expected. I hoped. I wanted. See all those Is?
Despite all that God gives us, we can focus on a time we don’t get what we hope to receive.
Instead, if we keep our gaze on the Giver, remember God’s faithfulness over the years, and the beautiful and unexpected delights He brings into our lives, the joy continues.
When Charlie brought home the flower bouquets, they were gathered in a bunch not artfully displayed. Packets of flower food packets accompanied the flowers. I could have left them as they were, but to keep them alive and extend their life, I chose to cut, design and place them in a vase with the water and floral food.
If I kept them out of water, they would quickly wither and die. By giving them nutrients, frequently cutting the stems, and putting them in fresh water, I helped maximize their longevity and beauty.
Arranging them into a display also gave me a lot of enjoyment and allowed each distinct flower to be seen as they came together to form a lovely group.
God gives each of us talents and gifts, but He desires for us to nourish and use them so that they best reflect His beauty, goodness and love.
How we use what God gives us reflects not only how much we value the gifts but also how much we cherish the Giver.
Even if Charlie hadn’t given me those flower bouquets, I would know he loves me because of his original commitment, his faithfulness and loyalty over the years. And, I know God loves me because of the gift of Jesus and the mercy and grace found through Him.
But, I delight in the unexpected presents and his presence!
Our lives are filled with a plethora of gifts God puts on our path.
Internal and External
Visible and Hidden
Promised and Unexpected
Let’s discover and delight in them and praise Him!
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of first fruits of all he created. James 1:17-18 NIV
- What fresh flower or plant arrangement do you remember the most? Why?
- When was the last time you gifted someone with flower bouquets or a plant?
- What is one unexpected delight God put in your path this past week?
- In what way can you better discover or use the gifts God has for you?
- Make a list of 12 delightful gifts God showed you since January.
And in their prayers for you their hearts will go out to you, because of the surpassing grace God has given you. Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift! 2 Corinthians 9:14-15 NIV
Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”
“Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his livestock?”
Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” John 4:10-14 NIV
Life is Better When It’s Full – Joy-full, Thank-full, Purpose-full and Friend-full! ™