It was another wintry day. My pre-school-aged daughter and I were doing the grocery shopping. We had rushed into the store from the car to try to stay as warm as possible. Winter in the midwest was at its best. Snow swirling and temperatures dropping, it promised to be another frigid, gray day.
When we entered the store, I noticed immediately the beautiful display of African violets. All in full bloom in varying shades of pink, purple, and blue, they were breathtaking compared to the white outside.
It was at that moment that I started to pray for a violet. I have a very loving husband who goes the extra mile to help clean the house on Friday afternoons and helps out in many other ways throughout the week. But he's not usually one to buy flowers.
We had recently moved to a new district during the middle of the winter, so we had once again given all of my prized houseplants to neighbors and friends in the last district; now my kitchen was devoid of friendly, growing flowers. So when I saw the violets, I sighed a deep sigh. I wanted a violet very much!
I thought about the violet all week and even hinted at it to my husband, Then I outright told him that I'd really like a violet, to no avail. He had actually looked for them at the store but they were all gone! Somehow this wasn't the answer I had expected from God! I felt that He did want me to have those little flowers as a reminder of His great love for us!
The next week I had to return to the grocery store. I looked when I first came into the store and, sure enough, the display was gone. I went through the store putting things into my cart and crossing off the items on my list. Soon I was at the checkout stand, ready to pay for my purchases. I had prayed in the store that if God wanted me to have a violet, that I would have enough money after getting all the things on my list to buy one. There must be a violet somewhere in the store! I had also shared with my daughter that I was praying that we'd have enough money to buy a violet after we got our groceries. She too had seen the pretty flowers the week before and knew my love for plants.
Now these violets cost less than $2 and certainly wouldn't break the bank. But I had determined to only use the money in my wallet and not to charge things on my credit card, so I felt that God would honor that, if it was His will. I had felt a bit silly bothering God with a request for a little flower. That was rather selfish, wasn't it? Nevertheless, I still wanted a pretty flower to brighten up my kitchen in the winter. So I continued to pray as we filled our cart.
We checked out, and I was amazed at the total because the checker gave me $2.25 back! I was so excited I could hardly stand it! We pulled out of the checkout lane with our full cart of bagged groceries, and I told my daughter with tears in my eyes that Jesus wanted us to have a flower because He had made sure we would have enough money for a violet!
Now we started looking for a store employee who we could ask where to find the violets. The first employee told us that the violets were all gone and that they wouldn't have any more flowers until the garden center opened again in the spring. They were sorry.
I chose not to accept that answer because I had the money in my pocket to buy a violet—a direct answer, I felt, to my request from God! The second employee told us that the violets had been moved back by the greeting cards!
My daughter and I quickly pushed the cart over to the greeting card section and found a huge selection of beautiful African violets! They were gorgeous purple, blue, pink and white flowers. My heart was pounding as I thought about this answer to prayer. God is such a Master at creating beauty even on a wintry day! These flowers were so beautiful!
My daughter carefully picked out the perfect plant as we admired the vivid colors and diversity. We solemnly paid for our purchase and carefully protected the plant from the cold as we dashed out from the store to the car. My daughter held the answer to prayer on her lap all the way home and carefully carried it into the kitchen when we got home.
As I unloaded my groceries, I stared again at the beautiful deep purple flowers and thought, amazed, that I serve a God who is interested in a $2 little flower to make me happy! How much more is He ever willing to answer our prayers when they include life-changing issues or decisions or just wisdom for the day! So often I forget to ask Him for His guidance and help and then, of course, I miss His answers since I wasn't looking for them in the first place.
That evening at supper, I told my husband about my answer to prayer and how God had sent me flowers that day. While it sounded sort of silly, it had made such a huge impact on me that day! My husband didn't laugh, and we sat around the table and talked about the things that God was doing in our lives. Big things and little things!
So often we get so busy doing the good things that we do as pastors' wives. We get tired of sharing our lives with everyone else in the church and losing our privacy or our husbands. God knows the individual needs we have, and He has promised to give us "the desires of our hearts" (Psalm 37:4-6) when we commit our ways to Him. But sometimes I have a tendency to let the things that other people think of me take precedence over what God thinks of me. He values me so much more than rubies or diamonds, and yet I forget to ask Him daily to be a part of my life or I think that my life is insignificant to Him!
My little violet has finished blooming for now, but it sits on my kitchen counter as a daily reminder of how much God desires to be a part of my everyday life. He wants us to come to Him with even the seemingly insignificant things of life so that He can bless us beyond our wildest dreams!