- Dogwood blossom 2. Bloodstain mark on dogwood. 3. Apple blossoms
Mother’s Day 2017
I asked my husband today, “What would you like me to write about this week in our Linville Counseling Services blog?” He replied that Mother’s Day is coming up and he would like to read something about that on the blog. So, I paused and prayed and asked God what he would like me to write about. God brought to my mind’s eye some scenes and words he’s been highlighting for me this spring.
Well, if you know my mother, you know she is a teacher by trade and a lover of nature. She often spoke to me in poetry and nursery rhymes when I was little and she often pointed out the beauty of God’s creation. Here’s a poem she often quoted, all the while teaching me the names of trees and other plants.
By Joyce Kilmer
I think that I shall never see
A poem as lovely as a tree.
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the earth’s sweet flowing breast;
A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;
A tree that may in summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;
Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.
Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.
Mom taught me the legend of the Dogwood tree. We had a dogwood tree in the front yard of the last house I lived in with her and Dad. It was a beautiful white Dogwood tree. Mom would carefully show me the blossoms and teach me the Easter story as she talked about each part.
Four petals are on each blossom and if you turn the blossom like the picture above, it takes on the shape of the cross. Four torn edges at the tips of each petal remind us of the holes left in Jesus’ hands and feet when he was pierced by nails on the cross as He was crucified
Mom would gently turn one petal up to reveal that God had even marked each hole on this blossom with what looks like a blood stain. Then she would have me look at the center of the blossom and say this part of the flower reminds us of the crown of thorns that Christ wore on his head the day he was crucified. Mom would then remind me that in the winter the Dogwood tree would look like it was dead, signifying Jesus dying for our sins. And then, in the spring, new life returns in glorious, flowering color just like Jesus returning to life after defeating death.
Mom gave me lots of good gifts in life, especially her love. However, she is a human being like I am and like you are. Sometimes I hesitate to tell the good stories about my family because hurting people that I work with tell me they wish they could have a family like mine. I, my mother and my family are real. That means we have good, bad, ugly and glorious moments. We live in a broken world where perfection is not possible. But God, my Heavenly Father, is in the restoration business of bringing good out of things that are bad or hurtful. “God is able to make all things work together for good,” says Romans 8:28.
Here’s another story about my Mom and trees that I felt hurt by (unbeknownst to my mom) and how God healed and restored a lie I believed about myself. The lie was, “I am not important. If there is a break in a relationship, the other person will not come find me and work it out.” One day that lie got triggered when I had an argument with my husband. I chose to engage in Transformation Prayer Ministry (formerly called Theophostic Prayer), to ask God to replace the lie I believed with his truth. As I was praying, the Lord reminded me of an Easter when I was 5 or 6 years old. My family was visiting my mother’s parents for the holiday. This memory could signify many times when I would believe, “I am not important.” My father usually bought corsages for us girls and Mom to wear on Easter Sunday. Such a lovely tradition, but I digress…. That year he did not buy corsages because we were away from home.
Mom and I were walking among Granny’s apple trees. They were blooming in all their pink and white beauty. I excitedly said, “Mom, look, I could wear one of these blossoms for Easter!” My mom, being considerate of someone else’s property, said something like, “Oh, no. You can’t do that because that would be one less apple that Granny will have in the fall.” I was crestfallen. The blossoms were so beautiful and I really wanted to wear one, but sadly accepted her instruction. I didn’t let mom know I was sad, but I believed I was not as important as one apple. Fast-forward to prayer time with Jesus. Jesus entered that memory, picked me up and told me I was his girl and that he loved me very much. Then he picked me up and tossed me up and down like my dad used to play with me. Jesus turned me away from him, facing one large blossoming apple tree. He lifted me high, right next to the sweet smelling blossoms and said, “See this tree? I made the whole tree just for you.” Those words broke the lie and made me feel special, known and loved by God. So, now, anytime I see apple blossoms my heart is filled with joy as I remember that special healing prayer time.
The cool thing about being real as a Mom is that, with God, no matter if you are doing well or are missing the mark, God is able to work all things together for good. He redeems what I mess up with my kids if they will let him. He redeems my parents’ imperfections when I bring my heart to him. I know some of you have mothers who died or who were abusive or absent and this has caused your heart pain. God is a redeeming parent who picks up where our parents left off. I’ve seen him provide spiritual family for clients who have been hurt. I’ve seen him heal places that have been harmed by others. I’m so thankful for God. I’m praying you will let God redeem your hurts and acknowledge the good gifts he provides.
To read more about Transformation Prayer Ministry, you can go here: www.transformationprayer.org
Another interactive prayer is called Immanuel Prayer and you can learn more about that here:
Immanuel Prayer pdf
April Linville at Linville Counseling Services offers these types of interactive prayer in therapy sessions if clients request it.