"Stop and smell the roses" is a great English expression meaning that we should relax and take time out of our busy schedules to enjoy and appreciate the beauty of life (https://en.wiktionary.org). I'm afraid I'm not very good at this. My life is far too busy. There are too many responsibilities and too many items on my "to-do" list to enjoy the beautiful things God has given us, or to even notice His daily blessings.
I'm sure you can relate. With all the problems that
are constantly knocking at our doors and taking over our lives, it's a
wonder we even notice things as obvious as the
passing of the seasons. Take this year, for example. As winter passed
into spring, did we notice that the Lilacs were prettier than usual?
And what about the trees? I'm sure we all noticed that they came back to
life after winter, but did we take the time to observe how each spring
day brought change to those stark, bare branches? First the brown limbs
became brown-green, then the green spread until it enveloped each and
every twig. The trees then took on a bright lime shade as the leaf buds
burst forth, and then the shades of green darkened and brightened as the
leaves grew bigger and took on their summer hues...
And if we
don't notice such beauties of nature and all
the lessons God has for us in each one, how can we recognize the other blessings God has for us as well?
This was a vitally important lesson that
I learned in my cancer walk. I
had never before stopped to admire the tiny flowers in my lawn. In fact,
I had always thought of them as "weeds". Nor had I realized that
hummingbirds regularly visited my deck, and I had never simply sat and
admired the colours of the dawn. Cancer forced me to take time off--from work, from being a mom,
from cooking, from cleaning, and from all the myriads of
things that are supposedly so important. As a result, I found
myself, for the first time in my life, "stopping to smell the roses".
Although there weren't any actual rose bushes in my yard, I literally
began to notice and admire God's handiwork; and what I learned was
phenomenal: Each tiny blossom, each bird feather, each blade of grass,
each butterfly wing--even each tomato worm!--are all intricate works of art, designed in
elaborate detail and fashioned in love by the Creator's hand.
As I "stopped to smell the roses"--as I began to recognize the hand
of God in the beauty of nature--I also began to notice His hand over my
life as well, even in the midst of cancer. In my moments of worst
discouragement, He never once failed to send me encouragement. In the
midst of my worst fears, I could always see His hand of comfort and
strength upon me. And as God brought each of His blessings to my
attention, the Truth
solidified in my heart that my God was (and is!) in
control of everything, including cancer!
He is in control of whatever you are going through as well. If you
can't see it, put aside a few moments today to "stop and smell the
roses". Put up a
hummingbird feeder and sit and watch for the tiny "helicopters" to come
by. Watch for God's encouragement in your life today.
Allow Him to minister to your heart through
His nature and through His strength and power.
Then, when it's all over--and it WILL come to an end!--don't
forget this vital lesson: Always take the time to "stop and smell the roses"!
Isn't this what Jesus meant in His famous Sermon on the Mount?
"That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday
life--whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear.
Isn't life more than food, and your body more than clothing? Look at the
birds. They don't plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your
heavenly Father feeds them. And aren't you far more valuable to him than
they are? Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? And why
worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they
grow. They don't work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his
glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. And if God cares so
wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire
tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little
faith? So don't worry about these things, saying, 'What will we eat?
What will we d'rink? What will we wear?' These things dominate the
thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your
needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and
he will give you everything you need." (Matt. 6:25-33 NLT).
I encourage you to take about 15 minutes of your day today and meditate
upon these words of Jesus. Savour them. Roll them over your tongue.
Allow them to penetrate your mind, your soul, your spirit. I can
guarantee that you will never look at your problems in the same way
And you might just find that you are actually able to take the time
to "stop and smell the roses"!
In His love,
Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two,
Author -- "Aboard
God's Train -- A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer",
Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter,
Scriptural Nuggets, a
website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, with
Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart.