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August 16, 2019

Finding Jesus Each Month The Flowers of August: Gladiola and Poppy by Carol Peterson

The two flowers for the month of August are the gladiola and the poppy. They are two very different flowers, yet both can remind us of Jesus.

The gladiola stands tall and straight, its blossoms in a row, announcing to all the world its symbolism of strength and sincerity. The gladiolus is often the frame upon which the florist creates the backdrop for the arrangement. The strength for the display of color and beauty. 

Many people assume that the root meaning of the word gladiolus is that they are flowers that make you glad. In reality, the gladiolus was named after the gladiator. Its Latin root, gladius literally means sword. The flower is even sometimes called the “sword lily.” The gladiola is a warrior's flower.

We are called to be in Jesus’ army and to fight evil around us. To do so, Ephesians 6:11-17 reminds us to put on the full armor of God. One part of that armor is the sword of the Spirit; which is the word of God. The gladiola, the “sword lily,” reflects both the power and the beauty of Scripture.

The poppy is the second flower of August. It grows in fields, spreading out as far as the eye can see. Low to the ground, waving in the breeze. Fluid, gentle, tender. 

The poppy is the state flower of California. Despite its exuberant growth in the wild—covering meadows and poking out of beach grass—it is illegal to pick the flower in California. It is precious.

Poppy, Blossom, Bloom, Nature, Field, Flowers

One of the best images of poppies is from the movie, The Wizard of Oz. Dorothy and her friends climb a hill and look out into the valley ahead. “Poppies!” they exclaim before bounding, leaping and skipping into their midst. 

Yes, the poppies were poisoned by the wicked witch, but their sight was joyful. And despite the poison, the stalwart friends didn’t gasp and choke. They simply lay down in the midst of the pleasant meadow and drifted off to sleep. That image reminds us of Psalm 23: 
Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me.

When we walk through the darkest valley, is it possible that the valley floor is covered with spiritual poppies, along with the lilies of the valley we learned about in May? 

Has God provided a soft meadow for us to rest in during our journey through the dark valley? Will Jesus wake us gently, when we are renewed and ready to complete the journey, just as the Good Fairy did for Dorothy and her friends?

The gladiola is about strength, named for some of the fiercest warriors in history. The poppy is a gentle flower, growing wild and free. Taken together, perhaps we need both the strength of the warrior gladiola and the gentleness of the poppy in our lives, both of which Jesus can provide. What an unusual and beautiful bouquet they make when tied together with the ribbon of faith.

Carol Peterson, Author  My mission as a writer is to educate, entertain and inspire–children, their teachers, and parents, other writers, and readers of all genres. As a children’s writer, I try to “Make Learning Fun” by helping busy teachers address curriculum accountability standards, and encouraging other writers to do the same. You can connect with Carol at her blog, Carol Peterson, Author Carol is a member of the Ruby Book Review Team

Carol’s books are available from RUBY’S Reading Corner.

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