Welcome to the 12 Pearls of Christmas blog series!
My friend and Pearl Girls Founder, Margaret McSweeney, has once again provided a series of inspirational posts that I’ll be sharing with our Setting Boundaries Books blog community over the next 12 day Countdown to Christmas.
I hope you enjoy these Christmas “Pearls of Wisdom” from 12 authors who were so kind to donate their time and talents! If you miss a few posts, you’ll be able go back through and read them on this blog throughout the next few days.
The Pearl Girls are giving away a pearl necklace in celebration of the holidays, as well as some items from the contributors! Enter now below. The winner will be announced on January 2, 2014, at the Pearl Girls blog.
If you are unfamiliar with Pearl Girls™, please visit www.pearlgirls.info and see what they’re all about. In short, they exist to support the work of charities that help women and children in the US and around the globe. Consider purchasing a copy of Mother of Pearl, Pearl Girls: Encountering Grit, Experiencing Grace, or one of the Pearl Girls products (all GREAT gifts!) to help support Pearl Girls.
Without further ado, let the countdown to Christmas begin!
God bless and keep you this Christmas and always.
Day 12 (12/14)
A Hibiscus “Hug from Heaven”
by: Margaret McSweeney
The flurry of festivities during Thanksgiving weekend came to an abrupt halt as I began the first week of December 2013 with an empty nest. My husband was back at work. My daughters were back at college. And my brother, Claude, and niece, Mary, were back in Alabama and Tennessee.
Bare branches accentuated the overcast gloom in the Chicago suburbs on what marked the third anniversary of my brother Randy’s passing. Randy had been feeding a stray cat on his deck when the fatal heart attack struck.
Walking downstairs, I whispered a prayer. “Lord, I am feeling really sad right now. Please help me experience your joy.” As I walked into the family room, my heart smiled. The pruned hibiscus plant balanced a solitary flower that had blossomed overnight! This was truly a hibiscus “hug from heaven.”
In her book <em>When Grief Is Your Constant Companion</em>, my late mother shared her poignant poem about a hibiscus plant. She wrote this following poem several years after losing my dad to a sudden heart attack while he was in Paris on a business trip.
TEARDROPS: EVERLASTING JOY
By Carolyn Rhea
My love, how can it be
That I no longer think of you
Almost every waking moment
And grieve for your loving presence?
There are small spaces of time
When my life is so absorbed in present living
That you are not in my thoughts at all.
How sad that I should forget you even for an hour!
But I have not forgotten you, my dear.
You are forever a part of me.
You helped God shape my life
Into my present self.
I carry your love in my heart.
I miss you so very much and always will.
But now I’m caught up in trying to reconstruct
With God’s guidance
A meaningful life for myself.
One in which I can help,
Serve, share, love, grow.
I remember the hibiscus plant
We bought at the annual show.
It was called Teardrops,
For several perfectly-shaped white teardrops
Spattered the broad expanse
Of its gorgeous pink blooms.
How we loved it!
Then later, after it had grown much taller,
We saw a different kind of bloom:
Multitudes of small, sturdy, happy pink blossoms
Swaying merrily in the Florida breeze!
Teardrops had been grafted onto a stronger plant!
We named it Everlasting Joy.
Teardrops still bloomed at the lower level,
But as the plant grew ever upward and outward,
Everlasting Joy bloomed in profusion!
Lord Jesus, when teardrops fall,
Help me remember that through faith
I have been grafted in You –
You, the vine;
I, a branch –
Eternally secure in God’s love through Thee!
Blessed with Thy fullness of joy on earth
And the promise of everlasting joy in heaven!
Thank you, dear Father for sharing your everlasting joy with me today in my solitude. We are not alone in our grief. You are with us.
“Ye shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy.” John 16:20