Flowers for the Living by Catherine Hershberger

“For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God .And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore encourage one another with these words.” 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 (ESV)

Picture courtesy of Pixabay

When my mother was alive we always went down to Kentucky on Memorial Day, May 31st, and visited the family graveyard where we put flowers on the graves of her brothers, parents, cousins, and any other graves that had been forgotten by their family members. Every year she’d walk around and point out the gravestones and tell us stories about the people who’d passed beyond the pale existence of this earth. Every year she’d admonish our young daughter not to step on the graves, like she’d warned me when I was a child. Every year she’d weep for those who had left this world before her.

Mom was raised in the church, and knew she’d see those faithful souls in her family when Christ came again as promised, but she never failed to weep at the graves of her family. It pained me to see her cry and it confused me, especially as an adult who’d made a conscious decision to celebrate the lives of my Christian family and friends when they left this world. After all, I knew without a doubt that I’d see them again when God calls us all home. The Bible tells me so.

Remembering our loved ones who have died has a place in our lives, but remembering them while they are here is even more important. Years ago I wrote a poem called Flowers for the Living. I’d like to share the poem with you today.

Flowers For the Living

They asked for flowers in their lives,

and so I gave them all the ruby roses

they could hold, surrounding

them with lives of lasting love.

They asked for flowers in their lives,

and so I gave them daffodils

and golden tulips, harbingers

of hope and new beginnings.

They asked for flowers in their lives,

and so I gave them sunny fields

of daisies, faces turned toward

the sun reflecting back life’s glow.

They asked for flowers in their lives,

and so I gave them baby’s breath

bound in pastel ribbons, tiny

bouquets of joy from Heaven’s womb.

picture courtesy of Pixabay

They asked for flowers in their lives,

and so I gave them all I had

of happiness and love—then laid a

single tear-stained rose on granite.

(© Catherine Hershberger 10/16/93)

I’m not in any way suggesting we forget those who’ve gone before us. The concept of Memorial Day, or Decoration Day as my mother called it, is specifically meant to remember the dead—especially the soldiers who have died in wars helping to keep America a free nation. However, I do feel when we give everything to those we love while they are here on earth we have more peace in our hearts when they’re gone.

I also understand the need to mourn. I mourned those loved ones in my life who die. I mourned because they were physically gone from my presence. I mourned because I was sad for my loss. Do I miss them? Not as much as I used to, but I have fond memories of them that keep them alive in my heart. Am I assured that I’ll see them all again? Absolutely!

Revelation 14:15 says “Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord…” This assurance is one of the great blessings my faith offers me.  Knowing, that as Christians, I and my loved ones will be caught up into Heaven on judgment day and reunited gives me peace.

This year, on Memorial Day, I hope this understanding gives you comfort as you remember your loved ones who’ve gone before you. And if you don’t have this peace, I’d encourage you to seek out Christ. He’s the one who will give you blessings beyond this world and this life.

Flowers for the Living (© Catherine Hershberger 5/19/21)

About the Author:

Catherine is a member of Greendale First Church of Christ. She is also an award-winning author of sweet and inspirational romance under the pen name of Catherine Castle. Many of her devotions have appeared on various places on the internet. You can find her books on her Amazon Author page or at Barnes and Noble.

Women’s Devotions, Memorial Day, 2nd Coming of Christ, Death, Judgement day, Everlasting life, Blessings, Poetry, Faith,

Be a Blessing to Someone Every Day by Barb Witt

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you all. 2 Corinthians 13:14 (NASB)

Edna sat rocking in her chair. Eyes closed. A smile on her face. She was reliving her grandson’s graduation. He was only allowed two guests, and her daughter-in-law had generously opted to let Edna go in her place. She said she could watch it on TV. They were airing the graduation on YouTube, whatever that was. Edna had taken many pictures of him with her phone. She couldn’t wait to show Bonnie and Caroline. Preston had looked so handsome in his cap and gown. He had the most precious smile.

As Edna flipped through the pictures on her phone, a knock sounded on her door. The familiar “Ready or not, here we come” sounded from the other side. Then the door burst open to smiles and laughter of her dear friends, Bonnie and Caroline. She laughed as they both tried to wedge through the door at the same time, got stuck, had to back out and argue about who was going in first. Then Bonnie stuck her head in the door as Edna’s laughter caused tears to roll down her face.

“Uh oh,” Bonnie said. “What’s wrong? Are you upset?” That made Edna laugh even harder and she couldn’t talk.

Caroline came in behind Bonnie, and said, “What happened? You okay?”

 Finally, Edna got control of herself and said, as clearly as she could while still laughing, “Yes, I’m fine. You two just crack me up.” Another gale of laughter filled the room.

Bonnie and Caroline plunked down on Edna’s bed and watched her for a minute, then started giggling and then burst out into roars of laughter right along with her.

When everyone had settled down and stopped laughing long enough to form words clearly, Edna said, “Hello, my friends. It’s wonderful to see you both today.”

“Well, it’s good to be seen,” Bonnie replied.

 “It’s very nice to see you, too, Edna. And I’m happy you get to see me as well.”  Caroline glanced mischievously at Edna, which made her laugh again, causing the cycle of laughter to start up all over again.

The nurse stuck her head in the door and asked, “Is everything all right in here?” Which caused more laughter. As the nurse watched them, she said, “Um, I think you all are having way too much fun in here. I’m going back to my station now. Don’t hurt anything, okay?”

They finally all calmed down. Edna passed bottles of water to her friends and took one for herself, then she waved her phone in the air. “I went to my grandson, Preston’s, graduation last night. I have pictures!”

“We want to see!” Bonnie and Caroline said, in unison. They pulled two chairs from the tiny dining room table and sat on either side of Edna’s rocking chair.

 “Oh, look at him,” Bonnie said. “He’s so handsome.”

Caroline nodded in agreement. “Don’t they always look so nice in caps and gowns?”

“School wasn’t easy for him, but he made it. He wants to be a mechanic and work on engines, not just cars, all kinds of engines and motors. He works for a shop now, and they are teaching him a lot, and he’s going to a trade school to learn the things his boss can’t teach him. He wants to own his own shop one day. We’re very proud of him.”

“That’s a great profession. People always need auto mechanics,” Bonnie said.

 “Is he interested in working on train engines?” Caroline asked. “And airplanes. To me those would be fascinating.”

Edna shrugged, “Well, I’m not sure if he’ll specialize in one thing. I think he wants to leave his options open, at least for a while.”

“Now that’s smart,” Bonnie said. Caroline nodded in agreement.

Edna put her phone away and stood up, “Well, girls, I believe it’s almost lunch time. Let’s walk down to the cafeteria for a bite, then play a couple of hands of cards. Sound good?”

Bonnie and Caroline jumped up and slid their chairs back under the table. Edna grabbed her walker and they all exited, single file, out the door. As they strolled toward the cafeteria, Edna said, “You know, I sure am glad God brought you both into my life. I don’t know what I’d have done without you.”

Caroline nudged her shoulder. “Aww, we’re glad He brought you to us, too. We have a lot of fun together.”

“Yeah, you’d probably just be sitting all by yourself in your room, wishing you had two beautiful and glamorous old ladies to hang out with.” Bonnie fluffed her hair and grinned at Edna and Caroline.

The pair looked at each other and started laughing. Again. The three of them laughed all the way to the cafeteria.

(© Barb Witt 6/6/2020)

And now, we pray…

Lord, having friends to fellowship with and to spend time with is a blessing, indeed. We thank You for that blessing. Allow us to always have good friends and be good friends, sharing Your love and, yes, laughter, with those we come in contact with. You are amazing and we thank You for everything. In Jesus’ name we pray. AMEN!

About the Author:

Barb Witt is a Christian wife, mother and grandmother who loves gardening, quilting, crafting, writing poetry and devotions, and is working on a children’s book. She has created an email devotional and prayer warrior ministry that she sends out daily. If you’re interested in being added to her email list let us know.

Women’s Devotions, friendship, family, love, blessings