Gray Flowers

 

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There’s this song by the Gray Havens that’s stuck with me since a close friend introduced me to the band a few years back. It’s called “Gray Flowers.”

The lyrics tell the story of a colorful town where the one law is that everything must be colorful and nothing is allowed to be drab or colorless. In this story, a stranger enters town and falls in love with a girl no one really takes interest in. But he finds her beautiful and every day, he buys her gray flowers. Some of the people of the town are angry and tell him off for breaking the rules over and over, while he continues bringing her grey flowers and a grey dress. He does this, insisting, since she loves them and him. In the end, the people decide to kill the man so he will never bring this drab gray into town again. The man says he’ll willingly die for the girl he loves, but also sings the last chorus about these flowers and his love, painting a beautiful picture of that love for us listeners. He promises the girl he loves that if she needs the gray to take away her sadness and she calls, he’ll come back to give her more.

See, because I’m a hopeless romantic and daydreamer at times, I listened to the song and thought it was a cute story in a world that took me back to fairytales I read and heard when I was little. A cute little love story that ends almost bittersweet, but the man in the story promises he’ll come back, and we smile at the last feeling he leaves us along with that promise.

Hopeful.

I always heard the last line of the song ending with “…And I’ll come back and give you grays.” Silly ears. I later looked up the lyrics to face-palm at seeing the lyrics were “grace” and not “grays.” That one, itty-bitty word changes my whole perspective of the song. Now I can see it’s about Jesus looking at us, the church, like the stranger looks at the girl.

Like I said, I’m a bit of a romantic, so the idea of a guy bringing flowers is a sweet image. More than sweet. A joyful one. I’ve never received flowers from a gentleman before, but I’m sure if I did, from someone I liked, I’d turn back into a little five-year-old girl.

Giddy.

And then my sixteen-year-old self would return and a chunk of me, I imagine, would be scared and asking questions. Doubting the sweetness and scared of the circumstances.

Pessimistic.

But I had this song stuck in my head the other day, during not-the-greatest week. I remembered the real meaning of the song “Gray Flowers” again, and thought about the study from She Reads Truth I’ve been recently reading on Song of Songs. The devotion I’d read the night before talked about letting Jesus love you despite feeling vulnerable and exposed before Him–despite your flaws– and allowing His love to cover you. Learning to just rest in that grace He’s given us.

I think I’ve been too melancholy lately.

I like to pick my flaws. Yes, they do exist, I do sin, and I’m undeserving of a lot. And I know that’s why God’s grace is so good. But instead of wallowing in sadness over how I don’t deserve it and can never do anything good enough for God, worrying over life and the future that’s not even in my hands, or priding myself on days I do things better and/or feel overconfident in my abilities–why don’t I just smile and be joyful over the gray flowers He brings me?

I want to find joy in the morning. Not terror I’ll mess up or things will go wrong and not trying to convince myself that “I CAN DO THIS.” His mercies are new every day, so yes, things could go wrong and that’s why I need His mercy. But in the long term, this world will fade and He will pull me through another day and one day back to His kingdom.

Paul was in prison when God gave him the faith to write about how He provides for all his needs.

I will mess up, and humility means taking my eyes off me and putting them back on God–whether I’m pulling them away from praising or cursing myself.

What a relief to be excited about God’s grace. And what a push to share about it.

I want to be excited like I’ve just received a massive bouquet from the boy I’ve loved for the longest time, and he meant it. Because that’s what accepting God’s grace should look like, I think. Joy over a gift you didn’t expect, nor deserve, showing how much the giver loves you.

Joyful.

I pray I look at this painting I did on the last page of my sketchbook now, with the last chorus to “Gray Flowers,” and I think about that. And I hope you do too, frens.


I liked the way my friend ended an email with me recently, so Imma steal her sign-off. Think about it in light of the things I’ve said tonight, and I hope you rest in Him.

“So much love just got dumped on your head,”

~Heidi

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