It was a long, cold, dark winter. One that she didn’t think would ever end. There was snow, rain, and sleet. A couple of times there was enough ice to nearly break the branches on the trees. The little girl held on. She waited for the warmer weather, the better times, the warmth of the sun. She knew it would come, it was just a matter of time. As she waited patiently, she would say her prayers, she would thank God for protecting her and her mommy and daddy during these cold, dark, winter nights.
Finally, the day had come. The first bud of spring appeared out of the ground. The bud peeked out of her shoot and could feel the warmth surround her. She was filled with so much joy that, at first, she didn’t notice she was the only bud sprouting. After basking in the warmth of the sunshine for a few minutes she looked around, startled that she was the only one. Where was everyone else? Was she going to be all alone? Did she come out too soon? Was colder weather coming back and she would die because of her eagerness to sprout? She was filled with fear and doubt but she stayed strong. She knew God had a plan for her. It was then that a little girl saw her and started yelling for her dad to come see the new flower. The little girl was so excited that the bud could not help but smile. Her excitement was contagious.
A little while later another bud awakened. He also took a moment to take in the warmth around him. He then looked to see if the others had awakened and that was when he saw her. She was within inches of him and he knew he would love her. It didn’t take long for her to notice him either, even though it took the help of a little girl yelling “Look, daddy, now there’s two!”
They welcomed the spring with all the other buds that started to awaken. With all the other flowers around them, they knew they were meant for each other. When the rains came, he would lean towards her to cover her petals. When the strong winds came they would lean into it together, holding stems. They were inseparable. When the bees came they opened their petals for them so they could spread their seeds to other lands where there were no flowers. They also knew that the bees relied on their pollen to take back to their hives for food. It was a beneficial relationship. Everything was new and exciting.
Then summer came. It was a scorching summer, one like they had never seen. There was no water. Many flowers died but not our couple. They shared what they had with each other. Every little drop of moisture was shared between them. Luckily, they were also planted where they had shade for part of the day. They counted the hours down together until they were cooled by the shade. Every once in awhile the little girl would come out with a can of water and water them, helping to keep them alive. They were often too tired to open their petals wide enough for the bees to come but they did their best. They knew the only way to survive this summer was with the help of others. They prayed their prayers for rain, for cooler temperatures but it was not to be. Sometimes in life, God doesn’t answer prayers and there are reasons only He knows why. They had reached a point in their relationship that they were still together, but they didn’t talk much. Too much too worry about, too much life got in the way. When was their next rain drop, how would they make it through another day without food, why couldn’t they be like they were in the spring? Did they waste this whole season of their life? They knew better because they still shared the little water they had, they still protected each other but the excitement was gone.
Before they knew it Autumn was here. They had made it through the difficult summer and were enjoying another season of their life. The rains came again, as well as cooler weather. When he looked at her she was still the most beautiful, most loving, most caring flower in the garden. When she looked at him he was still the bravest, strongest, most handsome flower this side of Eden. They held each other’s petals more each day, knowing that their days were winding down. They reflected on the spring and the summer. Days when their love was new and days when they didn’t know if they would make it. They thought of their seeds spread far and wide, soon to be new flowers that would spread their love and beauty around the world. It wasn’t easy, they had moments of doubt but they fought for each other, they fought for their love. They survived.
Soon the cold winds blew again. They held on for as long as they could but with each passing day, their petals would fall off. They knew it wouldn’t be long now but they held on for each struggling moment. Relying on each other to get by. Praying for just one more second. She was the first to go, as she was the first to sprout. He wasn’t far behind her.
The little girl, all bundled up from the cold, looked at her daddy and said, “Look, daddy, the first two here are the last two to leave. I wonder if they were happy here, I wonder if they were in love.”
“Now, now,” said the daddy, “we know flowers can’t fall in love but if they could, those two would definitely have been like me and your mom. Through all the seasons and all the weather, the rain, the sun, the cold, they were standing right beside each other. Holding petals all the while.”
The little girl giggled. Through the cold, dark, winter nights she was safe as she anxiously waited for the first bud of spring to blossom again.
I woke up Saturday morning with a bunch of clanging coming from the kitchen.
I walked downstairs and into the kitchen to quite a surprise.
“Umm, good morning hon, whatcha’ making?” I asked my wife.
“A cake,” she replied.
I looked at her kind of puzzled. “You don’t like cake. In all the years we have been together, you’ve never eaten a piece of cake.”
She looked at me and smiled. “But you know I love the icing.”
So I watched her make the cake, bake the cake, and I watched her let it cool. Then I watched her meticulously layer the icing just the way she wanted it.
She then looked at me as seriously as she ever had and said, “this is my cake. Do not touch it.”
Over the next week I watched her slowly but surely scrape the icing off the cake and eat it. Two scrapes on Saturday, three on Sunday, one on Monday etc. until the icing was all gone, all without touching one single crumb of the cake.
And then on Saturday of the next week I watched her put more icing on that same cake.
I looked at her puzzled and asked, “Isn’t that cake stale now?”
“It’s not about the cake. It’s the icing. “ she said.
And so we went through another week with her eating only the icing.
The next Saturday , I watched her as she started putting more icing on the two week old cake.
“Hon, that cake has to be hard as a rock and maybe a little moldy in spots. What are you doing ?”
“I like the icing,” she said, like she was stating a matter of fact.
“But babe, that’s not healthy. You can’t keep covering up the moldy, hard, stale cake by ignoring it’s not there. The icing may be good, but all you are doing is covering up something that is not good. Eventually, that mold is going to grow onto the icing. “
She then said,” If I keep covering the cake with the icing I like so well, I forget the cake is even there.“
She then looked at me for the briefest of seconds before she looked away. And in that briefest of seconds I saw something I had never seen before. She was scared, she was hurting, she was confused, she was lost, and she didn’t know what to do, except ignore the problem and keep on doing her best to breathe in her next breath. Hoping she could survive this. Hoping it would go away if she ignored it long enough.
I looked at her with tears in my eyes because I knew this wasn’t about the cake or the icing. This was about something deeper. This was about something inside of her. Something she couldn’t face. Something that was tearing her world apart but she felt as long as she had the icing, she could keep living.
I gently and softly grabbed her hands, put the icing knife down and told her it’s time to stop icing the cake. It’s time we started tearing the cake apart and finding out what exactly is inside it. It’s time to cut into this cake and piece by piece, start throwing it away.
It’s time to open those boxes of the past. It’s time for that darkness to see the light.
It’s time for you to heal.
Look What You’ve Done by Tasha Layton-
In Jesus Name ( God Of Possible) by Katy Nichole –
The thunder startled me awake early Saturday morning. I looked outside at the storm. The rain was coming down so hard I couldn’t see the neighbors house. Lightning and lightning followed by thunder and more thunder. I thought I’ll just crawl back under the blankets because there was no way I was going out there.
I watched the storm for a few more minutes when I heard the voice.
Go out into the storm.
Of course my answer was no. I am not going out there if you paid me to go out there. I am nice and warm and dry right where I am.
Go out into the storm.
No I said, not even sure why I replied.
Go out into the storm.
Why? I am just fine right here where I am.
I need you to go out into the storm.
For no sane reason I could possibly think of, I found myself at my front door putting on my raincoat and rain boots. If for some unknown reason I’m going out into this storm, I was going to protect myself the best I could. I grabbed my umbrella and opened the door.
I hadn’t gone more than fifteen feet when the wind ripped my umbrella apart. I thought this is one of the dumbest things I have ever done and started to turn around to go back inside.
Don’t turn around. Keep walking.
No, I replied. I am in control here and I do not want to be in this storm.
Don’t turn around. Keep walking.
Why? I do not want to be in this storm.
I need you to not turn around. Keep walking.
For another unknown reason, I walked.
Take off the raincoat and rain boots.
Seriously, no, no, and more no. If I am going to be in this storm, I am going to protect myself.
Take off the raincoat and rain boots.
Why? Why do I keep asking why? I should just go back inside. How’s that? I will take them off when I am inside nice and dry.
I need you to take off the raincoat and rain boots. I need you to be vulnerable. I need you to take off all those layers you have been building to protect the hurt and pain you have.
What are you talking about? I started thinking I am going crazy and I definitely knew if any neighbors were looking out the window they would call the mental institution. There’s my neighbor walking outside in the bare minimum talking to himself.
You have layers and layers of lies you have been piling onto yourself. I need you to take them off.
I have no idea what you are talking about.
Quit living in the past. Forgive yourself for the hurt you have caused. Take off that layer. Love yourself because I love you. Take off that layer of self loathing. Accept yourself for I have accepted you. Take off that layer of guilt, that layer of shame. Take off that layer that you are not good enough. Take off that layer that you are the lies you have told.
No. I said. They make me who I am. What am I without all those layers? Where were you when I was putting them on. Where were you when, where were you……..
And I fell to my knees in the pouring rain and yelled and cried and let the rain come down.
I have always been here. You have chosen to stop looking for me, stop listening for my voice. I was there asking you to stop. I was there, that tiny voice , telling you this is wrong what you are doing. I was there telling you that you are more than this, you are better than this. I made you and I know you are so much more. I was there when you cried yourself to sleep giving you comfort as you wept. I was there when they told you you weren’t good enough. I was there when they left you. I was there holding your heart, holding your hand. I was there leading you toward me and I was there when you pulled your hand away. And I was there still chasing you, still begging you to come to me. I was there waiting for you.
I was there in the storm. I was there in the pain. I was there in the hurt. And I am here now, asking you to trust in me, believe in my truths, let it all go. Surrender it all and give it to me. I will make you new. Turn away from your past and your mistakes. They are not who you are. They do not define you. Come, walk with me into the now, into the tomorrow. Be who I have made you to be. Love as I have loved you, forgive as I have forgiven you, forgive yourself. Accept me as I have accepted you. You are so much more than your past mistakes, you are deserving of a future that you can not comprehend. Grab my hand and walk with me. Do you want what I have for you? The choice is yours for I have always given you free will. Choose to stay in your past and the lies you believe about yourself or choose to walk with me, walk in the light, free yourself of all that weighs you down. Surrender it all, give it to me.
I let the tears fall and I somehow slowly started to release the layers I had built. And it was in that moment when the rain was pouring down and the lightning and thunder was all around me that I realized I am more.
And I let the rain come , I let the rain wash away that pain and I stood up and I laughed at the lightning.
And then the rain stopped. The clouds parted and the brightest rainbow appeared before me and I could smile again.