this is not a flower. (dandelion series: post 1).

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This is a weed. It looks like a flower. But it is technically a weed.

This very weed inspired me with hope. And following is the inspiration that came from what I believe is a sweet reminder from the Lord of how He is able to turn our pain into beauty.

“I have asked a thousand ways that You would take my pain away.” – JJ Heller, Your Hands

Over the past decade and counting, I have experienced chronic pain. Back pain. Stomach pain. Ceaseless, endless pain. The road has been long, clouded and uncertain. It has often felt like a bad dream from which I can’t seem to wake.

In short, my pain has felt like a weed in my life.

Weeds.

Weeds are ugly. Weeds are annoying. They take over and distract from the beauty of the other plants and flowers around them.

We are tempted to rip them up. To tear them out. To get rid of them completely. We want them gone. We don’t want to have to deal with them.

Similarly, we want the “weeds” in our lives gone. You know – our chronic pain, our illness or disease, our emotional traumas (or fill in the blank with your own version of weeds in your life.)

We don’t see any value in weeds.

But as I was informed that this flower – or what I thought was a flower – was, in fact, a weed, I was urged by a healty dose of skepticism to do some further research. And lo and behold, what I found confirmed that truth: this flower was technically a dandelion and actually a weed.

A weed that looks like a flower. Huh.

My mind turned and my heart softened as I was reminded that like a weed that produces from it this beautiful creation that so closely resembles a flower, God takes us – in all the ugliness and terribleness and annoyance of our brokenness, sin and pain – and He produces from us something beautiful.

“You make beautiful things out of us.” – Gungor, Beautiful Things

Let us be reminded by this sweet metaphor that the God of all Creation has the ability, power, and goodness to allow beauty to spring up from the places where we once only saw pain, loneliness, and heartache. He has the ability to grow flowers from weeds.

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a roadway in the desert and streams in the wasteland.” – Isaiah 43:18-19

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