unspeakable Joy.

I think my heart could BURST right about now. At long, long, long last I’m finally sitting down to write my first new blog post in nearly a month. Well, I suppose that isn’t entirely true. In case you missed the news, I’m now writing here, The Papist and Ignitum Today, where I recently published “Be The Bride” which you should totally check out because you won’t (yet) find it here!

Not blogging for a month (the past weeks’ posts were all written in advance and then scheduled to post accordingly) was incredibly difficult. I can’t tell you how many times I wanted to log in and write a new post, but I didn’t. I didn’t because I needed to take some space from this lovely little place that my heart feels so at home in. The last few weeks have been challenging and God has shown me a lot. Some things I can’t wait to share with you, and I promise you’ll see some good fruits coming up in new blog posts. But some of it, I’ve come to understand, are things that God wants to share with just me. It is a line I have characteristically stunk at drawing, both in the blogging world and in my personal life. I think He is truly showing me that boundaries, when used properly, are a good thing. There are some other little changes that you are going to see around the blog – Wednesdays will look a bit different, Fridays will stay much the same . But on to the bigger-ish changes you are already seeing as we speak: the banner!

Good heavens, more and more joy fills my heart when I look at that banner! I’ve always tried to make this blog a place where I feel at home. I come to the website and look around and it calms me, and I hope you feel the same. The very design of it all gives me hope and focuses my heart. This new banner is an even deeper reflection of beauty and grace, and of my own heart.

I’ve loved roses for a long, long time now. Not in that I-love-roses-because-they-are-the-only-flower-I-know, cliché kind of way, but in a I-really-really-love-roses kind of way. My Confirmation Saint is Saint Rose of Lima (whose feast day is this Thursday!)and for many years now I’ve had an ever-growing devotion to St. Thérèse of Lisieux, well-known for her gifts of roses. Between the two of them (who I regularly call my “home girls”) my love for roses is abundant. I’ve been thinking about a new banner for a while, one that is mine (and, by the way, is officially, legitimately copyrighted) and I started thinking about roses.

Each color rose symbolizes something different. As I was thinking and praying about a new banner design, I started thinking about falling in love and how the color of roses deepen as the love grows stronger. So it is as we fall in love with God, the color of the roses deepen as we come to the awareness that we are all worthy of Agape. The new banner is the depiction of our life long romance with God: we start with the white rose on the left, progress to the yellow, then the orange, then the red, which we see straight on. We see God’s love for us and know that we are, in fact, worthy of Agape. Honestly, I couldn’t have framed and taken that picture better if I had tried. That photographic moment of pure genius was entirely the work of God. I’m a little in love with the picture, and infinitely more in love with the God who created it.

The Roses

White roses are understood to symbolize purity and new beginnings. To me they symbolize purity of heart and mind, as well as the ability to start over, no matter where you or I have been. White roses, clean and pure, reveal to me what happens to our souls when we turn back to God and beg for forgiveness. They are where we start in our relationship with Him, and they are what He is constantly restoring us to.

Yellow roses are for friends, they symbolize friendships in any kind of setting. For me, yellow roses are the beginning, they move us from a state of purity into a state of vulnerability as we begin to share our hearts and to grow in friendship, especially with God.

Orange roses are made by breeding red and yellow roses. Red roses, as most of us know, are symbolic of a deep and passionate love. Therefore, orange roses are seen as that transition time from friendship to something more than friendship. In our relationship with God, orange roses – at least for me – symbolize that time when we transition from knowing God to falling in love with Him. It is a beautiful and challenging time, but it is one filled with grace. Orange roses are more rare, and they are a time that is often forgotten about and rushed through, and yet it is a time that is so very important if we are ever going to arrive – and stay – at the red roses phase.

As I said, red roses symbolize a deep and passionate love. This is exactly why this color rose is the most represented rose in the new banner, and it is looking at you head on. Red roses symbolize the immense and immeasurable love that God has for you. Red roses symbolize Agape.

In our lives we move from stage to stage, color rose to a different color rose, but all the while God is calling us to red roses, to know and receive His Agape love and to share it with His children. You will see more of these four colors of roses around the site; may they remind you of His love for you. You’ll also see them transitioning down the sides of the page with red at the top. I like to think of them as a ladder that we are climbing towards His Agape love. May you see these roses not just here, but in your everyday lives, and be reminded that you are now, always have been, and always will be worthy of Agape.

What I’m Listening To:
“Before She Does” by Eric Church
“Over” by Blake Shelton
“Take A Little Ride” by Jason Aldean
“Everything Is Sound” by Jason Mraz

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