The Rose of Sharon

The Rose of Sharon
The Rose of Sharon

“I am the rose of Sharon, The lily of the valleys.”Song of Solomon 2:1 NASB

I haven’t spent much time in The Song of Solomon, but God used a beautiful flower to draw my attention to chapter two today. Solomon’s open intimacy always makes me blush because I feel as if I’m reading someone else’s love letter or spying on two lovers.

After studying hard all morning, I went to the garden to relax for a moment. The warm sun and gentle breeze embraced me as I talked to God about things that were on my heart.

I’ve always been close to God, but His presence was more powerful than ever as I looked at the rose of Sharon bushes blowing in the breeze and listened to the water flowing in the fountain. He took my breath away!

It reminded me of a time decades ago when our love was brand new. God made it clear that He missed the intimacy we once shared. I wasn’t sure what to think about that, but I couldn’t turn away.

Christ is the rose of Sharon and loves me more than I can begin to imagine. The image of God wanting and waiting for me was embarrassing. How in the world could my Creator be enamored with me? He didn’t let up, so I simply sat in awe of His majesty and soaked in His love.

When I came home, I went to The Song of Solomon and read chapter two hoping to recreate the feeling I had in the garden. It was embarrassing. Again, how could God love me that way? I read it until I believed the beautiful song was meant for me.

Solomon knew God’s love, and his father David was a man after God’s own heart. Both men understood the intimacy God desires, and both describe that love in their songs. I went away from the garden with an exquisite sense of love that Solomon captures beautifully in his song. The level of intimacy he describes takes my heart out of its comfort zone because the level of love God desires does just that.

God wants me to understand the depth of His love, and Solomon’s image of a bride and groom admiring one another did that for me today. Christ loves like a groom longing for His bride. Like any groom, He hopes His bride will feel the same way about Him.

The beauty of my time in the garden with God today was being as vulnerable as I’ve ever been in my life. In that moment of openness, I knew I was loved and cherished as only a bride can be. I finally saw myself as the bride God bids me to be. There aren’t words to describe how that affected my heart. Suffice it to say that I’m not who I was, but I am who God created me to be. I’m thankful I was in that beautiful moment long enough to know that I can never settle for less again.

I took a bloom from that Rose of Sharon bush and decided to press it so I could keep it as a reminder of God’s lessons today. I opened the heavy Impressionist art book by my television and had to laugh out loud when I saw my baby picture smiling up at me. I put it in the book because, like my heart, it needed a little smoothing out.

I marvel at God’s ways and love the how He uses images to get His lessons across to me. The smiling baby me was a powerful image that reminded me God has always loved me and always will. I pray my love for Him will always be like the bride in The Song of Solomon. He deserves the very best when it comes to love, and so do I 🙂

Baby Gigi

Transparency Makes Me Vulnerable

The vulnerability honesty creates is humbling, but the freedom that results can only come from the humility true honesty and love make possible. It’s the kind of honesty and love God desires and opens me in ways I am only just learning to appreciate. Honesty and love have always gone together. When I love honestly, I become transparent and open to those I love. People are not always going to accept that love, and transparency isn’t for everyone. But it’s worth the risk of not being loved to find the kind of love that comes when you find someone who hears and understands your heart. The beauty of loving God is that He has always loved me and is simply waiting for me to accept that love. His love is deeper than my heart can understand on its own, but Christ bridges that gap and allows me to experience God’s love and walk in His kingdom now.

To prepare me for the level of love He desires, God first shows me the deepest part of my own heart and allows me to see what He sees. That includes all that is keeping me from loving Him and others as He desires as well as all that He created me to be. Seeing and understanding His love for me fills me with hope and grounds my heart so I am able to experience the fullness and the cleansing that creates the transparency that comes when I let go of myself and praise Him. That praise releases my spirit and allows it to flow with His.

The plate God fashions in my heart is clean and clear and ready to hold His fare and not my own. The transparent nature of love lets me, God, and others see me more clearly. It’s what being known is all about, and I must come to that place before I am able to truly know God. Knowing He is God is the point of the journey because when I know Him, I cannot help but love Him. The same is true as I come to truly know myself and others through honest communion which makes walking in His kingdom possible now. I am perfected by His love as He becomes closer than my very breath and understands me as none other.

The beauty of God is that He knows me completely and still loves me completely. The same is true of friends with whom I share honest communion and transparent love. I can relax in His presence and in theirs. Why God, the Creator, would care whether or not I love Him is the biggest mystery of this journey. I know He does, and that changes everything. Can I even begin to walk in God’s kingdom in the presence of such love. Of course I can’t, not alone. The amazing news is that I can walk in it with the help of the Holy Spirit. God’s love for me, Christ’s amazing grace, and the Spirit’s loving presence enable me to not only live and walk in God’s kingdom now, but to also love in it.

I wish I could say that I stay on the right path all the time, but I can’t. I fall victim to fear’s tight clasp far too often, and worries fuel fear’s fires and leave me consumed at times. I can say honesty that I’m getting better at recognizing that fear is fake and of my own design while God is real and causes fear to flee. In the presence of God’s love, it has no choice but to do so. Christ purchased my inheritance at a very high price, and it cannot be taken from me. I can, however, forget that I have it.

I cannot get where God desires for me to be as long as I fall victim to fear and allow my insecurity to block the path. I must remember that I’m not alone on this journey. Christ is always waiting with arms extended and ready to love honestly and help me do the same. Transparency makes me vulnerable, but it brings me near to One who transforms vulnerability into the openness that gives God free reign with my heart.