"For the sake of your name, O Lord, forgive my iniquity, though it is great." (NIV) Psalm 25:11
Who would have thought, that daffodils would be the source of the forgiveness I so desperately needed? A simple flower, a sign of spring, brought the tears I needed to shed. It had been a difficult week, full of heightened emotions that ranged from excitement to disappointment, from jubilation to heartache, from hope to desperation. When that much emotion consumes me, it is hard for me to do anything except to focus - focus on what needs to get done. Lists at work and at home had me checking things off, ensuring that I was productive. I was productive! If I look over the past week, there was much work accomplished. Yet, it came at a price - my price.
I knew that as I worked more and more on getting done what needed to get done, I was becoming the person I didn't want to be. I knew better; I prayed harder. Yet, my emotions consumed me. The more the week continued, the worst it got. I prayed harder. I literally had a very short - yet direct - conversation with Satan telling him to go away. My heart ached. I know I'm not alone in these emotions. I am sure that there have been times when your life has felt overwhelming and there was no immediate relief in sight.
The thing was that I knew I was wrong for how I was feeling and I wanted forgiveness. I wanted to feel Jesus saying to me, "You are forgiven, my child." I needed to feel that forgiveness - for the self-pity, for the anguish, for the doubt, for all the feelings I had. For some reason, the forgiveness didn't seem close by. So Saturday started like any other Saturday - 7AM - grocery store. As I went up and down the aisles, a sense of joy surrounded me. Yes, joy in the grocery store. I stopped and chatted with a wonderful elderly couple. I assisted a woman in pushing a cart loaded with groceries. The more I did, the better I felt. Yes, joy in the grocery store.
At the end of the store is the flower area. Many beautiful fresh cut flowers and plants adorn this area. There, right around the corner, was my forgiveness - daffodils. I thought, "Do I spend the extra few dollars on a bunch of daffodils?" With spring seeming like it may take forever to reach New England, they provided the hope I needed. Next stop, cashier!!
It was there that Jesus was with me. He told me, "Give some of your joy to the cashier." As she checked out the last of my "load", the final item of the daffodils was rung in. She looked at me and said, "Do you want to hold them or shall I package them up?" "I'll hold them," I responded. She handed back to me my credit card and I handed to her a bunch of daffodils. "For you," I said, "Spring is right around the corner." Her smile and eyes were shared in her words, "Thank you -- that was so nice of you. I will wrap them up for later. Thank you!" I smiled, took my groceries and got into the car with a lighter step.
As my husband unloaded the groceries when we got home, I told him of my experiences at the grocery store. Then, right there in the middle of our kitchen, tears of forgiveness flowed. He had been living my emotional week with me, and I shared with him how I needed forgiveness, the forgiveness I received in my daffodils. After a good cry and lots of hugs from Juan, our day continued. My load had been lifted - I felt Jesus' forgiveness in daffodils.
During Lent, we focus on the forgiveness our Lord gave to us - so willingly - on that cross. Unconditionally he gave his life for the sins we commit every day. When we go to him in repentance, He washes all of those sins away from us - total forgiveness. This Lenten season may find us making the steps we need to make to forgive others, taking our bag of emotions (frustration, anger, resentment, etc.) and giving it to God. Maybe, as I realized, the forgiveness needs to be for ourselves. That bag of emotions is very heavy. When we give it to God, our load is lightened and we become joyful. I encourage you to reflect on who needs to receive forgiveness in your life (maybe it is you)! Let go and let God . . . and relieve your heart from the bitterness. Jesus is waiting to take it all from us. When you do - celebrate with daffodils!! My world has been forever changed by a beautiful yellow flower.
May your Lenten season bring you the joy of forgiveness - knowing the depths Jesus went to in order to bring us everlasting forgiveness. Blessings to all.