Listen, O daughter, consider and give ear; Forget [other] people… The King is enthralled with your beauty; honor Him, for He is your Lord” (Psalm 45:10, 11–NIV).

Preparing flowers for the fair, I cut a plethora to carry into the house. Inside, I began to separate and trim–choosing particular ones for their color variation, varying heights, shapes and sizes. Inspecting them carefully, there were some with damaged petals, chewed up leaves, and bent stems. These were placed in a plastic bag, along with other clippings for the compost pile. The chosen posies–those with the most outward perfection–were arranged in mason jars to be displayed and judged.

I know it probably sounds quite funny–ridiculous even–but I found myself feeling sad for the flowers that didn’t make the cut. I personified them in my mind–as though they talked to one another in solemn whispers.

“We didn’t make it. We’re not pretty enough… perfect enough. Not only are we no longer growing in the garden, but we’ve been cut for no reason–only suitable for the trash heap,” they seemed to say.

And I felt sorry for them. Truly.

But it was then that I heard God’s voice–as though speaking from a plastic grocery bag filled with refuse. It was as if He corrected me, reminding me that there is beauty in the seemingly discarded–a lesson to be learned from the less fortunate. So I leaned in to listen, and this is what I heard (with later accompaniments from His Word).

There’s beauty in the broken–for it’s there that one experiences My presence in pain and healing in My hands. 

This is why I suffer as I do. Still, I am not ashamed; for I know Him [and am personally acquainted with Him] whom I have believed [with absolute trust and confidence in Him and in the truth of His deity], and I am persuaded [beyond any doubt] that He is able to guard that which I have entrusted to Him until that day [when I stand before Him] (2 Timothy 1:12–The Amplified Bible).

Each is made for purpose–on purpose by Me, the Potter. 

In a large house there are articles not only of gold or silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for noble purposes and some for ignoble… [she] will be an instrument for noble purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work (2 Timothy 2:20-21–NIV).

I tenderly care for all.

A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out (Isaiah 42:3–NIV).

With Me, one shines beautifully–yes, even in the darkness of the trash bin–that I might be glorified and many might know Me. 

… that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe, as you hold out the word of life–in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not labor for nothing (Phil. 2:14b-16–NIV).

And then, God said– After all, remember Monica?

Monica? I almost asked aloud.

Yes, Monica. You remember her, right?

Of course I did.

Monica–the girl I knew from high school, who was learning disabled and, though not mainstreamed in many of my college prep classes, shared my home economics course. The girl who, after graduation, continued to write to me–each letter an obvious labor of love, with her childlike script and the same content in each. Always the same–I listen to the radio, Kiss Country.

Yes, I remembered Monica. Several years ago, she’d sent us a Christmas package. Inside were our individual names woven in colorful yarn on plastic frames–Ian, Jacob, Allie, Bill, and Maureen. They were ornaments for the tree–carefully created for us by Monica, my disabled friend. Certainly another labor of love.

And God–the true Laborer of Love–well, He kept talking from the trash bag.

Monica’s like one of these discarded flowers. She may not seem to many to be perfect outwardly–not beautiful enough according to the world’s standards to be on display and judged, as in a beauty pageant. She may never win a blue ribbon, nor a red or white, or even earn a certificate for participation for her outward appearance.  She may not seem to have made the cut–rejected as “too damaged,” “too impoverished,” or perhaps, “too ordinary.”

But Monica is My flower. She is just as I made her, though this sinful world has tried to steal the things that I instilled in her–those things that make her dance and sing, even if she harmonizes and heel-steps to the same ‘Kiss Country’ song. Despite her disability and circumstances–in the impoverished places she appears to dwell–she’s adorned with petals of joy, kindness and love, and these are no small thing in My garden, as ordinary as they may appear to many.

No, her brokenness has brought about beautiful things, as she’s leaned upon Me more and learned that My yoke is easy–My burden, light (Matthew 11:30).

She was made for a purpose, and pain is polishing her to perfection. As her Potter, she’s a silver vase in My hands, and in her, one better sees My reflection.

Monica may be a tender reed–a feeble flower–but I will never bruise My beloved, and she is My daughter. Her light still shines brightly, for her wick–though seeming to smolder–I’ll not snuff out.

And who knows? Though she be cast into the compost, might there be flowers springing forth in springtime to surprise you with the offspring of her joy, kindness, and love?

Trust Me, dear Child. Trust Me with your flowers…

Trust Me with your friend–yes, My daughter.

And these words, written from this experience, are evidences that God speaks in so many ways, in sometimes strange places–to bring Him glory, that many will know Him better and flourish more beautifully in His garden…

Yes, even when it looks to some–To me!–like a garbage bin.