But she knew behind the scenes it was a very different story … up before dawn to get to the flower markets … tough seasons when storm damage, floods or cyclones left flowers in short supply and expensive, and damaged hands she always tried to hide.
In those days people didn’t buy flowers as they do today, weddings and funerals were the main stay of a florist’s work and it was a struggle to make ends meet. She did everything she could to discourage me … she wanted a better life for me.
Eventually with great sadness I gave up the dream and applied to the gas and electricity companies to be trained as a cookery demonstrator. Again the door was slammed. I was too young to be accepted for training.
So I became neither a florist nor a cookery demonstrator.
When God comes to Moses on Mount Sinai, he doesn’t introduce himself according to what he does, Judge, Creator, King, Sovereign God of the Universe but as “the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin”. Exodus 34:6,7
God defined himself according to his character.
We are not merely a carpenter, CEO, interior designer, or teacher … not even a mother, father, husband, wife, friend or daughter, son … those roles provide the vehicle through which our character is shaped and developed … the means of rounding off the rough edges, removing the dross from the gold and helping us reach our potential.
We are so much more than our roles in life. We are a sum total of our gifts and talents, our experiences, choices, mistakes, values and beliefs and the relationships that have helped shape us one way or another.
We are created in the image of God but shaped through the earthiness of human existence … the very humanity that can grow in us compassion, kindness, patience, love, courage, perseverance and so much more.
I went on to work for many years in pathology and then God wonderfully opened a door for me to become a writer and go on to be a Communications Manager. I think he brought me to the place I was created for in the first place.
As a child I did little else but write and draw. I wrote my first book when I was about 10. At school I excelled at composition and comprehension and my mother told me I was never happier than when I had a pen in my hand. I think the seed was there in childhood it just took a very long, roundabout and convoluted journey to eventually blossom. However, God used that journey to build my character and make me who I am today.
But most of all, I hope along the way I’ve learnt to love more deeply, give more generously, act with more kindness and allow myself to be more vulnerable. I don’t think it matters which path we take, we can “be sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good” (Romans 8:28 The Message.)