Joy Upsprings

 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?— Isaiah 43:18-19

New life sprang forth as certain as a sapling sprouts up from the ground. She grew within me strong with vitality, like a bulb that lies beneath the earth during the long months of germination.

Leaving the nest to cleave to the man with whom I pledged love for a lifetime, we were both filled with many hopes and expectations. Our union was blessed. We talked a lot about our dreams and the legacy that we wanted to establish in our home.
Only four years married, grief entered. Suddenly and tragically, the darling young brother of my groom had gone to the grave. Stepping forward in our grief, we began to foster dreams of new life. My husband and I bought our first home, adopted a dog, and planned to grow our family.

When all the furniture had been moved into our first home, the walls were filled with boxes of belongings brought together in our union. Things of remembrance, pictures that cement moments in time, memories of the yesterdays so newly past, leaving sensory impressions on our souls. Objects signifying vows, accomplishments, permanence. The walls filled with expectation.

Friends and family poured into our home to fill it with gifts and blessings. Prayers poured out that He would fill us with blessing upon blessing, for years with purpose and lives worthy of His glory.

Bulbs of calla lilies lined up in pots on our back patio, waiting to be planted in the garden, like the hopes aligned upon our hearts.

Lilies. They were pinned in the lapels of my groom and his gentlemen on our wedding day. Lilies pure white with peace. My groom’s young brother wore one there upon his breast.

Then the flowers lined his processional in memorium. Lilies deep red like the blood that ran still in his veins. And like the blood that ran down from the Cross of Calvary. Pure red that cleanses like snow.

For nearly three years our hopes deferred. Ten weeks my womb carried hope without a heart beat. A dream implanted, not viable for life. Despair cast long shadows across the days.

We were weak and weary with grief. Our souls wore grief like a cloak, draped heavily over the shoulders. Our Savior wore it too, draped like dead weight upon his back, the sins of man. Suffering of the world worn upon those bleeding scars.

Together we had petitioned the Lord in prayer that he would breath life into in my womb. The anointing oil was upon our brows. Oil poured out and tears poured down as an offering.

The voice of our faithful Lover of the soul spoke in a word: Joy.

The oil of joy instead of mourning
A garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair
A planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor.

That spring we planted the bulbs in our garden and waited in hopeful expectation. Spring rains watered and faithful sun gave life. Then erupting from the soil faith and love upspring.

For as the soil makes the sprout come up and a garden causes seeds to grow, so the Sovereign Lord will make righteousness and praise spring up…

Isaiah 61:11

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