Barb, an amazing woman I met through blogging has asked the question, "What is your blog title all about?" I am hesitant to share mine because it is a long story, but one that is so treasured to me. Here it goes in it's entirety:The Carnation Story
This is a heart felt story I wrote after an experience I had about a year ago. My hope is that it blesses the reader in some way. My senior pastor’s wife had a dinner/fellowship at her home with all the pastor’s wives at my church. There were 7 ladies in attendance and each one came for a night of relaxation, good conversation and encouragement. The hostess did an amazing job pampering us and lifting us up with her words. If I would have left before the game portion of the night, I think I may have missed one of the most important realizations of my life. Dramatic as I make it sound, the game was harmless to most of the women sharing with me. The hostess began the game with bringing out a beautiful bouquet of 7 flowers arranged in a glass vase. I knew she was up to something special. Being that all of the pastor’s wives have close relationships with one another, she had each lady identify all 6 flowers as one of the ladies in the room. The flowers were a rose, a carnation, a lily, a sunflower, a pompom, and a gerber daisy. We could use a flower more than once, but she really stressed to try to keep one flower for each person. She added that we needed to explain why we matched the flower with the person. Immediately one of the ladies said, “We’ll I don’t want to be the carnation. I used to work in a flower shop and that was the flower that everyone bought when they didn’t have enough money for a real floral arrangement.” With that being said I thought silently to myself, “Please, Lord don’t let them pick me as the carnation. I don’t want to be just that flower that people have to settle with.” As we began writing our picks down, I easily matched my friends. Each lady there did remind me of a certain flower. Now the fun began; sharing aloud. As we went around the room heaping compliment upon compliment on one another my heart began to beat so fast and I could just feel the tears beginning to well up inside. The ladies, my so-called friends, almost unanimously picked me as the carnation. If only one or two would have come to the same conclusion I would have said, “Nice game, how clever !” Nope, I sat there stunned! Don’t get me wrong, I heard nice words like, “Susie, whenever there is a need you are always there. You’re like a filler who never minds helping out or pitching in.” I also heard something about how carnations are pretty and sweet with ruffled edges. I do like ruffles. I heard something about being natural and simple. Is that a supposed to be a compliment? All I know is I went home that night and cried for a solid 2 hours. I had my prayer journal out and boy did I let God know how upset I was. I finally fell asleep on the couch of my living room, too ashamed to show my face to my husband who had earlier said, “Now, what about this flower game.” I love him more than life itself, but he is my “Wild at Heart” man, and I knew that this was way out of his league of understanding. The next morning I tried to recount the previous evening. I remembered that I had said such lovely things to our pure, holy lily friend. I had also encouraged my spunky, fun loving pom-pom friend. Even more I gave the sunflower title to 2 ladies that were surely more carnation like than me. I am laughing at myself right now that I got into such a tizzy over this silly game. God was probably laughing at me too, because he didn’t let the story end there.
I went to work out that morning at my all girls circuit club when I was greeted at the door with a flower. You guessed it a carnation. You have got to be kidding I thought. It was an anniversary of their opening and they were making sure each one of us felt special. (I guess they were on a tight budget too.) I left the club forgetting my carnation, and one of the workers brought it to my car. Okay God, I get the message you want me to take this flower home with me. When I brought the flower in I put it in a small vase and just stared at it for a minute. What is it that I hate about this flower? It is pink, my favorite color after all. Here go the tears again. Why do I have to be so plain, and simple and sweet? I want to be more like my friends I prayed. They are somebody. They have real dreams, real ministry work, eloquent words, great senses of style and the list went on in my mind. It seemed God was not speaking to me. He just let me vent and question my purpose for even being on this earth. What if, just what if I really am just filler for the bouquet of life? I do know I am a loving and supportive wife to my very creative husband, a loveable, huggable mom and a friend many count on for a listening ear. But what if that is it? God, how can I be your child and truly have nothing to show others of your magnificence? After 2 weeks went by, I finally got my answer. It wasn’t what I hoped for, but it was exactly what I needed. Do you know after 14 days that carnation did not have a single brown spot and still smelled as pretty as if it had just been picked? I almost screamed as it finally hit me. “I get it! I am a carnation. A simple, yet beautiful in God’s eye carnation! Maybe people do look to me as a source of stability, someone who is always there for them. I wasted 2 weeks of my life worrying, but I gained years of self esteem with this simple game. I thank you God that I am who I am. Since my experience God has confirmed to me in so many ways how a behind the scenes, no flash person like me can be so important and so needed. It is almost my mission now to find others like me. I want to encourage them to be proud of what God had created them to be. If you are a lily, rejoice and be glad you are a lily. If you are a rose, be proud. And if you are a carnation like me, stand strong and never fear. God sees you and loves you and your purpose is just as important as anyone else’s. And besides, you smell good and last for weeks.