Faces turned toward God.
Watching a field of sunflowers with their faces turned toward the sun reminds me of how we–as children of God–were created to live with our faces turned toward God.
As a small child, our middle daughter made us think of a sunflower. She was so full of sunshine and so eager to express God’s love to others. When her grandma said to me, “There’s no beating her face for sunshine,” I knew I had found her symbol.
Her older sister’s symbol was a young apple tree. Hers was a sunflower. She loved the symbol and lived into it, as I had hoped after learning the idea from Trent and Smalley’s The Blessing.
We told her that we thought of her as a living sunflower. She reflected God’s love to others just as sunflowers reflect the sunshine in their bright color.
As a child, she collected sunflower memorabilia. As a teenager, she painted her bedroom wall with beautiful, very individual sunflowers. As a bride, she carried sunflowers.
When she was a little girl, she did not know much of the Old Testament yet.
She did not know that Isaiah 60:19 says,
“The sun will no more be your light by day,
nor will the brightness of the moon shine on you,
for the Lord will be your everlasting light,
and your God will be your glory. ” NIV
But she knew that God loved her and wanted her to love others. She also knew her shining face made us think of reflecting God’s love to others, like sunflowers reflect the sun. I’m sure that encouraged her bright spirit.
But she had times of difficulty growing up, as all our children did. We thanked God then, as we do now, that she knew God’s love was not just for sunny times.
Yet she knew God loved her even when she felt miserable. She used to ask me why God didn’t just make her feel better when she was sick and prayed to him. Since she knew he could, why didn’t he?
The only thing I could tell her is that I didn’t know. But I also told her that suffering came into the world as a result of sin. I also knew that sickness and pain make us long for heaven and God’s presence in a way unblemished happiness would probably not.
God kept his promise from Numbers 6:25 to make his face shine upon her and be gracious to her. And later he graced her with the ability to share that loving favor from God with others who had struggled as she had.
Living with faces turned toward God.
As a high schooler, she once asked me to write down all the Bible verses I had shared with her over the years. I was surprised and knew I had no way of knowing what they all were. Then she told me she wanted to make little cards of them to encourage a friend as they had encouraged her.
My mother’s heart was full. God’s word had nestled in her heart and found a place from which to go forth in love.