Blessed Virgin Mary with Roses (detail)
Artwork © by Jef Murray

I wasn’t looking for anything—not a sign from God, anyway. Long before that moment, I had abandoned asking God for signs. Maybe it was that it seemed superstitious or petulant or…maybe it was my lack of faith. I didn’t really believe God was speaking to me through such simple acts of providence each day—signs.

But my oldest, Felicity, so gingerly uprooted that little yellow rose, a dwarf volunteer plant it seemed, from the midst of weeds and bush brambles. The landscaping surrounding that lone rose was inconsistent with its presence, however unnoticeable it was to me at the time.

But Felicity, in childlike wonder, gleefully handed me the delicate bloom. “Mommy, this is for you,” she proudly stated, then skipped off to explore the vast tapestry of nature somewhere else in our yard.

I’d heard of people receiving roses or other flowers as signs of answered prayer or divine consolations. But wasn’t that typically the result of praying a novena to St. Therese of Lisieux? I hadn’t completed that novena recently. In fact, my daily prayers were comprised of pleas of desperation for more sleep in between deep yawns as I soothed our newborn daughter.

No, it couldn’t be a sign for me. Or maybe it wasn’t a divine signal so much as it was a nudge from God. Maybe even a consolation in the form of a gift I might have otherwise dismissed as “just part of the yard.”

Roses have always been among my favorite flowers because of their sweet fragrance, intricate blossoms, and symbolic representation of beauty mingling with tragedy— “a rose among the thorns.” As I cradled the little yellow blossom in my hand and watched my older two girls frolic from afar, I noticed its presence was somewhat of a minor miracle.

The only blooming rose around was this one, plucked with love from the earth and handed to me unknowingly, unpretentiously by my innocent child who has not lose her sense of wonder in God’s creation.

In the middle of nowhere, so out of place, a rose unfurled its petals in hopes of pleasing God by its seemingly insignificant presence and placement. And God tugged on my heart as I stooped over the ground where it had only recently been firmly rooted in the fertile earth.

I am that rose. I am small but mighty. God has planted me among great people, accomplished people who do great things. I don’t fit in with the landscape of “greats,” but in my littleness, in my desire to please God, I become a hidden treasure somehow nestled among those who are well known and well respected. It is my hiddenness, my simple act of existing for the sake of love, that glorifies God. So the gift in the rose was really a reminder that my life, my entire messy life, is my gift to God.

And I am treasured.

Text © Jeannie Ewing 2017, all rights reserved.

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