Roses In An Ugly Place

Often times I find myself wondering what in the world we are doing – raising 3 little girls in these city trenches. I mean, it’s like a wake-up call when your kids come running after hearing a noise outside asking if “those were gunshots mama?” That still persistent voice tortures me sometimes…what are you doing? No little kid should even know what gun-shots sound like. What if one of those shots came through their window? They shouldn’t be playing outside. Maybe you should think about moving somewhere safer. Then you won’t worry anymore.

Don’t get me wrong, we love it here, in this ugly place. It’s not as beautiful as the nice suburb neighborhoods we sometimes find ourselves wishing we lived in. Or…is it? Soda cans and chip bags often grace the top of our driveway. Fences are broken. Buildings are worn with time. People with shopping carts stumble over the broken, rooted sidewalks. The stench of poverty seems to be always dancing in the air.

And then I remember. I remember the roses. Not just the roses, but my roses. The ones God has so graced me with. The ones that stand out so beautifully in the ash heap. The ones that remind me that there is beauty in everything the grace of God touches.  I’ll never forget the prayer of a friend and neighbor that painted this picture forever etched in my mind, “Lord thank you for these 3 beautiful roses among such an ugly place.”  My eyes welled up with tears, and my heart was full with a remembered calling of why we moved here in the first place.

And so on the days when I can’t seem to muster up the courage to see the beautiful (because it is all around me even when I can’t ‘”see” it), I remember my roses full of bright color, beauty and life. And I remember that they are a gift, not my own, that I offer back to their Maker – for Him. For His purpose. Yes, even in the ugliest of places…

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