Flowers from God

December 2021

Selling Our House

In the weeks before Christmas 2021, the Lord placed an urgency in my heart to sell our beautiful home in New Zealand (NZ) and to go back to the UK to be with our families. Covid-19 had spread throughout the world, vaccine mandates were becoming the norm for everyday life in NZ, protests and natural disasters were increasing in various places. It was becoming more and more important to be near our families, so that we can support one another through these challenging end-time events.



We hired an estate agent to sell our house with the strategy of having “Open Home” viewings for the public over two Sundays, and a deadline sale (for any offers) slated for 21 December 2021. This plan was all swiftly put into place by our assertive agent.

The first “Open Home” attracted eleven groups of people which was far more than we had anticipated, and gave us much optimism.


A Magical Christmas Service

During the time of selling our house, we were fortunate enough to have a Christmas service at church despite Covid restrictions. We had only been going to this church for the past year, so this was our first Christmas with them.

For many years, I had dreamt of a magical Christmas service with a Christmas tree up the front, singing carols, a great sermon, and a feeling of belonging to a church family. Sadly, in all the years that I had been in various churches, Christmas services seemed to be just “normal”, so I had no reason to be expecting anything different this time.

We were late for the service, and by the time we arrived, all the carol singing had finished. Feeling somewhat flustered, my mind and heart had forgotten about my dream Christmas service. But as I entered the church, I was struck by the presence of a Christmas tree at the front of the auditorium, with children singing beautiful songs as they perform a nativity play.

Soon after settling down, I was surprised to see that everyone was given a candle each. The pastor lit his candle and went to light the candle of the person nearest to him, and that person lit the candle of the person next to him, and so on. Before long, the whole place was filled with lit candles, singing “Silent Night” together like one big family. Then, for the very first time in my life, I felt a sense of belonging that I had never felt before. I realised, at that moment, that my dream of having a magical Christmas service was coming true right before my eyes!

But there was more….

Candle-Lit Christmas Service Photo by Elma Larsen


The sermon was exceptional, nothing like I could ever hope to hear. The pastor said,

We have a Christmas tree at Christmas, but what has the Christmas tree got to do with Christmas or with Jesus? The Bible never mentioned such a tree to celebrate Christmas with!”


He then continued,

But there is another tree associated with Jesus' story – it is the CROSS.

The Cross is a tree


He explained by giving the following scriptures:

Acts 5:30

The God of our fathers raised up Jesus whom you murdered by hanging on a tree.

1 Peter 2:24

He Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness …

In conclusion, he said,

“There is no salvation without the cross; no cross without a manger. Jesus is not part of the Christmas story, but rather Christmas is part of Jesus' story.

He then switched off the Christmas tree lights, and beckoned a few strong men to carry a huge wooden cross into the church and erected it. After this, he invited everyone to come to the front to take communion – to eat bread and drink wine; the bread representing the body of Jesus broken for us, and the wine representing the blood Jesus shed for the forgiveness of our sins when we repent.

As I walked to the front, I had a strong urge just to touch the wooden cross. And as I did so, I felt an overwhelming love for Jesus, so much that I started to tear profusely. He sacrificed so much for me – His body broken for me, His blood shed for me – how could I ever repay Him? - other than to give Him my heart and my tears of gratitude. The bread and wine had a profound effect on me that day, more than ever before.


Flowers for Open Home Viewing


In the week following, before the second “Open Home”, an idea came into my head to buy flowers to display on the dining table. Of course, flowers would not sell a house, but it would add to the presentation of the house. So, I planned to buy a bunch at my next visit to the supermarket.

As I entered the supermarket, I was excited to see many beautiful flowers on display. However, no sooner did I start to browse, did I also become horrified by their price tags! I recalled earlier in my life, soon after I moved to NZ, that I had found the prices of flowers in NZ to be much higher than those in the UK. So, I decided to abort the idea of buying flowers. It was not that I could not afford to buy them, but rather that I could not justify spending that amount of money on something that would last only for a week. For this very reason, I had even forbid my husband, Rob, to buy me flowers (especially for Valentines’ Day when the price gets even more ridiculous).

I came home without a single petal, only to find a text message from my neighbour offering to give me flowers from her garden for my “Open Home”. How astonishing was that? God must have known how I felt about buying flowers, and decided to give me favour with my neighbour. Praise God for He is wonderful, thoughtful, and kind!

Hydrangeas Galore

With secateurs in her hand, my neighbour gave me a tour around her garden and offered any flowers I wanted. They were so beautiful and so many choices, too! It was not easy to choose, but my heart was drawn to the huge white, purple, and blue hydrangeas that looked so fresh and delightful.

I had thought of having only two or three, but my neighbour cut almost the whole bush for me. What kindness and generosity!

Upon coming home, I placed them in several vases and distributed them around the house. The house looked cheerful and colourful, ready for “Open Home” the next day.


Horrified!

The next day, the agent arrived to showcase our home. I made sure everything was neat and tidy, and more importantly all the flowers were looking their best.

We returned home promptly as soon as the “Open Home” had finished, only to find all the flowers had withered! Shocked and horrified, I exclaimed to myself,

So soon?? How could they have withered so soon?!

and I began to wonder if they were withered during the “Open Home”?

As I searched for answers on the internet, I discovered that Hydrangeas love water and would have been best harvested from their bush straight into a bucket of water. They wither easily if left out of water, even for just a few hours. I had not known this when I chatted to my neighbour with them in my hand, and so paid the consequences of them withering within 24 hours of harvesting.

Angry with God

The day of the "deadline" sale came to an end, and soon the estate agent arrived to present three offers on the table. We were excited to see what they would be, but that excitement soon deflated in disappointment when we discovered that the offers were much lower than we expected. After some time discussing a strategy to negotiate for more, the agent left to carry it out.

As I continued with my chores around the house, I was surprised to find myself feeling angry with the whole situation. At first, I was angry at why we had low offers in such a buoyant house market, but as I inspected my heart further, I found that I was actually angry with God! God knew we needed to sell well here in NZ to cater for our needs in the UK. He knew houses and cars are very expensive in the UK and with no job or income in the immediate instance, we needed enough up front to see us through. God could easily have blessed us with a good offer, just one good offer, but He hadn't!

Burying myself in Rob's arms, I sobbed and sobbed, all the while questioning, "Why o' why God, did You not give us favour?"


Fickle Love


In the midst of my tears, I was suddenly brought to remembrance the overwhelming love I felt for God a mere two days ago at the Christmas service, when I held His wooden cross before the communion table at church. And I began to grieve bitterly - how could the love I felt for Him be suddenly replaced with so much anger for Him?

I was very disappointed!

My disappointment was no longer in the low offers on the house, but in -myself - as I came to the realisation that my love for God was fickle!

In my heart of hearts, I knew being angry with God was uncalled for. Psalm 139 stated that He had fearfully and wonderfully created me, He loved me even before I came into being. And over the years, I had seen His hand over my life, saving me from death several times over when I had made bad, unwise, dangerous decisions. He had never failed to provide for my bills, food, shelter, and clothing for all of my life - and yet there I was, so ungrateful and angry just because the offers on the house were lower than expected! This should not be! I should be praising Him in all circumstances as the Bible says. After all, He could see the bigger picture and the future of my life, not me!


Fortunately, Rob had a better attitude than me. Despite the low offers on the house, he was still able to count the blessings that God had given us and was grateful for them. As Rob tried to comfort me, my grief turned into anguish. I recognised my sin of being angry with God and my ungratefulness towards Him, but I couldn't help it. I just couldn't change my feelings, I couldn't change my emotions or attitude (despite knowing all that I felt was wrong and sinful). I was angry to the heights ... and there was no stopping me!

For the first time in my life, I felt helpless to change myself. I hated who I had become. The low offers on the house had exposed a part of me that I didn't know was still in darkness. The light of God needed to shine on it and to change it. At that moment I knew that God, by His Holy Spirit, was the only One who could change me and my heart.

So, with Rob's help, I repented to God for being angry with Him, I repented for judging Him to be a God who did not care for our future or One that did not give us favour. I repented for being fickle in my loving Him and for me being ungrateful. I asked Him to change my heart and to remove any wickedness from it. I asked Him to help me be the person He created me to be and to love Him faithfully, no matter the circumstances, I asked Him to be 100% Lord over my finances as I handed over the house offer situation to Him.

I went to bed that night, still feeling bad about myself, still feeling helpless ...and hopeless if I could change at all.


A Response of Love

The next day, the agent called to say he had received a revised offer from one of the buyers and that he would be coming to our house to present it to us. My heart was still sore from yesterday's ordeal. And although my anger towards God had subsided, I still felt emotionally fragile.

The agent's car pulled up on our driveway. I saw him through the window with a huge bunch of flowers in his hand. I was puzzled! Why was he bringing a bunch of flowers?

Rob greeted him at the door, with me following closely behind. The agent entered the house. Then upon seeing me, his hand stretched out towards me to offer the flowers to me. I was shocked and bewildered at what was happening. Then as my eyes fell on the flowers, I saw that they were a mix of purple and blue hydrangeas, embellished with beautiful shades of greenery and limmoliums. Wow! My favourite flowers in my favourite colours! The agent then revealed how he noticed that I liked purple (purple lights on my Christmas tree) and purple hydrangea flowers. His observation of what I like humbled me. This was unusual and I felt something touched my heart deeply!

An Unexpected Bunch of Flowers Photo by Elma Larsen


In the few seconds I was admiring the flowers, I came to the realisation that the agent must have gone to a lot of trouble to buy them. This was not the standard bunch that one can just buy off a florist's shelf; this was one that would have to be customised to order! Knowing just how expensive a standard bunch at a supermarket was, I dreaded to think how much a florist's customised bunch would be. My heart started to question why the agent would do such a thing - evidently just for me, since flowers are not exactly Rob's object of affection!

My train of thought was swiftly interrupted by the stark reality and purpose of why the agent had come. He was here to present the revised offer to Rob and I. As it turned out, the offer was still too low, so we still had to decline it. To my surprise, however, I felt peaceful, with no feeling of anger or disappointment like the previous day.

After the agent left, my thoughts continued - this time not to obsess about the low revised offer on the house, but to "process" the giving of the bunch of such beautiful flowers!

Could it be that the agent had noticed my wilting hydrangeas during the “Open Home” on Sunday, and felt sorry for me? Could it be to celebrate the new revised offer? Could it be as simple as to celebrate Christmas?

Whatever the case maybe, the agent had a choice not to give anything. He was not obliged to replace my wilting flowers, he was not obliged to give Christmas presents (after all, he didn’t give Rob anything, so why should he be giving me something?) and he knew the revised offer was still too low, so there was no cause to celebrate that! Furthermore, if he really wanted to give me a bunch of flowers, it would surely have been easier and cheaper to buy a ready-made bunch off the shelf (the supermarket was even located opposite his office!). But no, he had a bunch made specially for me with the flower types and colours that I love.

I then asked my friend who used to work in Real Estate if it was normal for an agent to buy gifts for the vendor? The answer came swiftly, “No. If they were to buy gifts, it would usually be for the buyer to thank them for purchasing the house”.

My heart then started to ask the following questions:

    • Who would care enough to be observant about what I like?

    • Who would go to great lengths to custom-order what I like?

    • Who would take the time to do all this for me?

    • Who would lavishly give me gifts?

My eyes and mouth fell wide open as revelation sets in,

“Gasp!! The Lord Jesus! The answer is the Lord Jesus! It is Him! The flowers were from Him!”

It was a response of Love from Him to all the anger I felt towards Him, my fickle love for Him, and all the wrong judgments I had of Him.

Then suddenly I had a vision of a couple in conflict – the woman angry, shouting all sorts of hurtful words to hurt her man – only for him to come and hold her in his arms, to calm her down, and to love her with her favourite flowers.

Oh, what grace, what amazing grace! I burst out in tears, full of awe of God's love for me. I felt His arms around me. I had hurt Him, I had hurt His heart, yet He had responded in love. He was intentional and personal to every detail (I saw it in the flowers) – to show me just how special I was to Him, just how much He loved me, and how He forgave me so readily.


Truly from The Lord!

I sat there with the beautiful flowers in front of me. It was the most beautiful bunch I had ever received from anyone. As I inspected every part of it in admiration, I was even more astounded when I found a white “bird poo” behind one of the leaves!

What?!! ”, I gasped in laughter and joy.

“Bird poo” has always been a private, humorous symbol of love between God and I. Please check out my “Pigeon Poo” story to understand and appreciate what I am saying here.

Indeed, the bird poo was truly solid evidence that the bunch of flowers was from the Lord. Surely, no florist would ever allow a bird poo to be in their expensive custom made-to-order bunch of flowers - as to do so would compromise their product quality and jeopardise their reputation. Therefore, it had to be the Lord's doing - for the sole purpose of letting me know personally that the bunch was from Him.

The Lord further confirmed this fact by making the flowers last supernaturally - the last flower withered on day 28. Amazing! Compare this to the ones given by my neighbour which withered within a day. One might suspect the florist to have harvested them straight into a bucket of water, but they were left out of water for at least the time they were arranged, picked up, and delivered to me which would have been similar timing to the time I chatted with my neighbour. Such a supernatural life span of flowers could only come from the Lord – for they were His flowers, He created them!

I cherished them so much that I took a few pieces of the flower petals and some of the greenery (especially the leaf with the bird poo on it) to press them for memory forever.

The agent had no idea that the Lord was using him to express His love for me - for the spiritual growth and healing of my heart. I pray for the Lord to bless him for his role in my life.

The Lord also used my neighbour, for without her, this hydrangea story would never have started. I also pray for the Lord to bless her for her role in my life.

And I bless the Lord for loving me, for never giving up on me, and for always working to change my heart to be like His. All glory be to Him!

Bird Poo on a Leaf Photo by Elma Larsen


Romans 8:37-39

37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Psalm 86:15

But you, Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.

Romans 5:6-8

6 You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Psalm 117

1 Praise the Lord, all you nations; extol him, all you peoples. 2 For great is his love toward us, and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever. Praise the Lord.