A rose is unfolding in a garden of buds and thorns, and I nearly missed it.
My God-sister got married this weekend, and this wedding, which was months in the making, came together beautifully, a masterpiece lovingly crafted by the bride and her mother and sisters, and all the women in our little community — mothers, sisters, friends, wives.
But I was complaining and grumpy. So stressed about my own part in the ceremony. So focused on how awkward I felt talking to people from high school that I haven't seen in five years. So trapped in thought spirals about how I looked in my dress.
And I almost missed this. The once-in-a-lifetime celebration of my very first friend. The welcoming of God's people into the church, His sheep back into the fold — many of whom may never set a foot in a church for any other reason.
A rose is blooming.
A bell is ringing.
God's children are coming home.
I loved this prayer from the blog of a family friend, Emily, which is worth reading in full:
"Father, forgive us for our often complaining, ungrateful hearts. Thank You that Your thoughts and ways and plans are infinitely far above ours. Thank You that even we grumble, You shower us with Your grace. Thank You that You are always working and moving in a million different ways that we cannot see and do not know. Give us eyes to see, minds to trust, and hearts to thank. And when we forget, point us to the cross...the terrible, wonderful cross. You truly turn ashes to beauty. We love You, Lord."