That flower means so much to me because it represents answered prayer.
I moved to Italy when I was eleven and, for four years, the only person near to my age who was a Christian and could speak English lived two hours away. I rarely saw her and when I did see her, it was only for a short matter of time. Even though I’m not much of a “people person,” I craved fellowship.
I pleaded with God for just one friend. Just one girl who could relate to me. Many tears were shed and God and I had so many conversations about it, which mainly consisted of me begging for a friend. But He did not answer my prayers, at least not in the way I had hopes He would.
Finally, I gave it up to God; I learned to be content with what He had given me.
A few weeks after giving this up, my mom told me a family was considering moving to Florence and they had two girls close to my age. I couldn’t believe it. Never in my wildest dreams did I actually think God would answer my prayers like that.
So for our final year in Italy I had not one, but two friends who lived five minutes away.
On one of their last nights in Italy, they came over to our house for dinner. Grace, one of the girls, handed me a poppy when she came in. Poppies are my most favorite-ist flowers in the world. She told me I could put it in my Bible.
And so I did, to remember that God answers prayers. Even big prayers like asking for someone to get to know me well enough to give me a poppy.
On the page where my poppy is pressed, one verse reads, “Oh give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; for His steadfast love endures forever!” Even though I placed my poppy in my Bible at random, it just happened to be the perfect page. My poppy reminds me to give thanks, that God loves me. It also reminds me of something similar that happened to the Israelites.
In Joshua, the Israelites attempted to cross the Jordan, even though the mighty river was in its flood season. Joshua instructed the people to cross the river, explaining that God said “its waters flowing downstream will be cut off and stand up in a heap.” The people found His words to be true because as soon as their feet touched the water, the river dried up and the everyone was able to walk across it.
God instructed Joshua to take twelve stones, one for each of the twelve tribes of Israel, from the middle of the river. The reason for this is explained in verse twenty:
And Joshua set up at Gilgal the twelve stones they had taken out of the Jordan. He said to the Israelites, “In the future when your descendants ask their parents, ‘What do these stones mean?’ tell them, ‘Israel crossed the Jordan on dry ground.’ For the LORD your God dried up the Jordan before you until you had crossed over. The LORD your God did to the Jordan what he had done to the Red Sea when he dried it up before us until we had crossed over. He did this so that all the peoples of the earth might know that the hand of the LORD is powerful and so that you might always fear the LORD your God.”
That poppy is my twelve stones, my reminder that my God is all-powerful, yet He loves me enough to listen to my prayers and answer them. I think it’s important to remember what God has done for us, to remember it often and to tell others what He has done for us. So that He can have the glory He deserves.
What’s your poppy story?