Mom’s peace rose wasn’t blooming this year. It hadn’t bloomed last year either.
“It’s still alive,” Kari said to herself. “I think it just needs to be moved to a sunnier spot.”
The oak tree had grown in the last 10 years. Its branches reached towards the sun, they also spread out and provided nice shade for the yard and the old Victorian house. Unfortunately it shaded the beautiful rose bush that Kari and her mother had planted just a month before her death.
“This is the perfect spot,” Mom had said. “You can see it from the bay window. It will remind you that no matter what comes your way, God’s peace is with you.”
Mom had already been diagnosed with stage 4 liver cancer. Kari knew without her saying it. Her mom was giving Kari something positive to focus on.
Kari was devastated when the doctors said there was nothing they could do.
Her mother had turned to her in the doctor’s office and said, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”1
When they left the hospital, Kari asked Mom what she wanted to do.
“I want to buy a rose bush.” And so they did.
It was summer and Kari wasn’t taking college classes, She decided to forgo a summer job and focus on Mom. They did whatever she wanted. One day Kari rented a pink convertible. They donned pink t-shirts, shorts, baseball caps and sunglasses and went cruising for the weekend.
They laughed and giggled the whole way, waving to truckers that tooted their horns at them. They could have been two carefree teenagers. Kari looked at her mother’s smiling tanned face and couldn’t fathom life without her. Surely the doctor had been wrong.
Mom didn’t act or look sick. She had no symptoms. In hindsight, Kari realized what a gift this was to both of them.
There were evenings of sitting outside on the patio at sunset. They watched the ducks paddling on the lake, roasted marshmallows in the fire pit. During that time, Mom told family stories. Kari had heard all the stories, but there was something about the fact that Mom was telling them to her for the final time.
Mom insisted on ending their evenings together over hot chocolate and something she baked just that day, always Kari’s favorites. Before they retired for the night, Mom would pray for Kari. Her prayers were like a breath of fresh air. Always they included her future, the family she would one day have, her destiny and how there was gold inside of her.
All she had to do today was smell chocolate, get a whiff of double fudge brownies with nuts, oatmeal cookies or Mom’s favorite Wacky Cake made with Coke and it made her smile. Mom always talked about the gold. Kari had a hard time believing that part.
She grabbed her gardening gloves, a shovel and a burlap sack. She had fresh potting soil and knew exactly where she would replant the bush. The peace rose had to bloom again. It just had to.
As she worked she took stock of her life. She was 30 years old, an LPN who wished she could go back to school and get her master’s in nursing. On top of everything, she had discovered back taxes due on her mother’s old house, the one she lived in. The house would be sold at auction if she didn’t come up with $50,000.
She cried herself to sleep every night trying to come up with a way to hang on to her home. The house and the rose bush were all she had left of her mom.
Well that and the nightly ritual of her mother’s tradition of eating home-baked goods and drinking hot chocolate. Only now she could down an entire batch of brownies in one evening by herself.
It gave her comfort. It reminded her of her mother. It also added excess pounds to her short frame. She never weighed, but she knew she was at least 100 pounds overweight.
”Must be all that gold inside of me,” she said out loud.
The bush was almost ready for her to pull from the hole and wrap in burlap when she heard a clink as her shovel hit something.
“Must be a rock,” she thought. She needed a few more inches to get the root ball out so she kept digging.
She was surprised to discover it was a metal box. She carefully lifted the rose bush and wrapped the root ball in the burlap. Then, she lifted the box out. It was heavy and rusted shut.
“Who put you here?” she said out loud. Then she remembered. The day they planted the rose bush, her mother had gotten up early and had the hole dug with fresh potting soil in the bottom ready for the bush when Kari got there. Could her mother have put it there?
She had to find out. A couple of strong hits with the shovel and the lid loosened enough to open. Kari hoped it was a letter or family pictures or something of her mother’s.
Her mouth fell open. Now she knew why it was so heavy. The box was filled with gold dollars. Probably only 100 or so, but still gold coins. There was a letter in her mother’s handwriting.
“Dearest Kari, the contents of this box may not look that valuable to anyone else, but they are to you. I always told you there was gold inside of you. Remember our nightly prayers?”
“How could I forget them, Mom,” Kari said as if her mother were present.
She kept reading. “Sometimes we bury the gold, just like this gold was buried. Sometimes, we bury it with lack or plenty or things that make us feel better. I just want you to know there is such gold in you. Don’t bury it. Let it shine!”
Kari laid the paper in her lap. She had been burying herself in the comforts she remembered from her mother. Truth be told, she was burying herself in fat. How could she shine at work or anywhere like she was?
She stopped then and remembered the scripture. It has been years since she had thanked God for anything and even more years since she had talked to Him. She barely remembered how.
“God, if you’re there. You know the need. You know how I loved Mom and this house and little rose bush are all I have left of her. I am not going to worry about it any more. I give it to You.”
Her mother’s letter called to her, “By the way, these coins are not worthless. They have been in the family for decades. They are worth a lot of money. If Jake still owns the coin shop take them to him. He will give you an honest estimate. I love you, Kari. Remember our scripture. God will give you peace.”
She could see Mom smiling down from heaven. Kari had remembered the scripture before her mother reminded her.
Hurriedly, she finished replanting the bush in a sunny area of the flower bed, cleaned up and headed down to Jake’s Coin Shop. She was glad to see he was the only one in the shop. She took in only one coin to get his appraisal.
She was shocked to find out the coins were rare and worth $5,000 each. The burden of worry regarding the house was lifted in a moment.
After finishing up the arrangements with Jake, she sat in her car for a moment thinking of all the things she might be able to do now. Pay off the back taxes. Go back to school. Lose 100 pounds.
This was going to be the start of a new life for her. She laid her head back on the seat closed her eyes and said, “Thank You, God. This money has made me realize all the things that are really important to me. I could have done all of these without the money. I could have borrowed the money. I could have gotten a part-time job. I could have gone back to school. I could have lost 100 pounds.
“I don’t need money to do that. Thank You for waking me up to learn that there is a reason to live even if my mother isn’t here. You, my Lord, are my reason for living. I’m going to live the rest of my life for you, thanking you every day, knowing you have my back.”
As soon as she said that, she saw in a flash the gold inside of her, the gifts God had placed in her and the destiny He had for her. It would take work, but she knew she could do it with Him strengthening her.2
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1Philippians 4:6-7 NLT
2Philippians 4:13 NIV