Farewell to the Lilacs

swallowtail on lilacs / rejoicing hillsThe lilacs are turning brown around the edges and fading away, and all the yellow swallowtail butterflies that have been flitting happily about them for the last couple weeks have gone away, too.  Bless the farmer or farmer’s wife who planted a small spindly seedling in our yard some 100 years ago!  Did they ever envision how splendid it would become, this massive bank of lavender every spring that wafts its heady fragrance on the winds to our porch?

lilac bush / rejoicing hills lilacs / rejoicing hills

How grateful I am for their foresight!  Those people are long dead and gone, but their vision of beauty continues to live on in our front yard for our benefit and enjoyment.  As I savored the last remnants of perfume from my porch today, I was reminded of Someone else who envisioned and planned something beautiful long before I was born, stunningly, and very intentionally, with me in mind.  Actually, as long ago as before the world began.

“God…hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began.”  (2 Timothy 1:9)lilacs / rejoicing hills IMG_6648

Not only that, but there’s more to come:

“For…eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.”  (1 Corinthians 2:9)

I am so grateful!

The Gift of Violets

purple violet / rejoicing hillsFor years, it’s been my personal goal every spring to find every color of violet native to our area.  (There are actually up to 17 species, but I limit my goal to the four colors—lavender, purple, yellow and white.)  Some years, I have time to actually go search the woods for them, some years, I don’t—and this has been one of the latter.  So you can imagine my delight when, over the last couple weeks, I stumbled—sometimes literally—across every single one without even trying!

purple violet / rejoicing hillsblue violets / rejoicing hillsyellow violet / rejoicing hillsI was the most excited, however, when I happened upon the sweet tiny white violets, which have always been the hardest for me to find.  They are the smallest of the violet family, and the least showy—often their humble little faces are sweetly inclined toward the earth, hiding their purple-streaked hearts until you get down very low.  They are so diminutive and unassuming, it’s easy to walk right past them, or even step on them without realizing it.  But that makes them all the sweeter to me—and they’ve become my personal favorites.single white violet / rejoicing hillsAren’t they exquisite?

To me, the discovery of each of these little blossoms was a gift.  A gift from a loving heavenly Father who knows the desires of my heart, even the small ones, and delights to give His children good things.  I think He knew that all-four-colors-of violets were just what I needed to lift my spirits this spring.  Whether He caused them to grow just where I would look, or guided my footsteps and eyes to just the right place at just the right time, I don’t know.  But I do know that they caused me to smile and remember His lovingkindness as I knelt low to take their portraits.

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights…”  (James 1:17)

What gifts has He given you lately to remind you that He loves you?