Beauty for Ashes

Last fall when the peonies died, I was struggling with allergies so I didn’t pull or cut the dead stalks. I didn’t pull grass out of them. Okay, I didn’t do anything, I just let them die and lay there on the ground,reminding me every time I got the mail that I needed to do that. Now it is spring, almost summer, and the peonies are blooming on new stalks that grew up through the old dead stalks.

Keeping up a yard is work. My husband is wonderful with the lawn, and trimming shrubs, but I have usually worked with the flowering plants.My plan has always been to plant perennials so that they don’t have to be replanted every year, and will bloom with the seasons without my extra work.The previous owners had planted beautiful shrubs in the front yard and some blooming shrubs in the backyard, such as Rose of Sharon and flowering hibiscus.I have planted roses, daylilies, and a few other things that sadly need to be replanted for various reasons.

Rose of Sharon, peonies, hibiscus, roses—those are old-fashioned names that bring back fond memories. Mother loved her flowering gardens. Mother had one rose bush by the back door that had miniature wild roses that she had named the Edward roses, after my little brother Ross Edward.

Peonies were always Mother’s favorites and this year they were in bloom for Mother’s Day, but she moved to heaven two years ago. I planted peonies and daylilies on her grave and they were doing well a few weeks ago when I went there.

“To give them beauty for ashes, The oil of joy for mourning, The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; That they may be called trees of righteousness, The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.” Isaiah 61:1 New King James Version.

Just as the peonies can bloom through the dead stalks of last year’s growth, so through the struggles and deadness of our lives, we can bloom. God gives us beauty to surround us.