I’ll admit, the month of February brings with it a sense of dread. I don’t mind the flowers, chocolates, or the emphasis on love. No, as a single woman, it’s the looks of pity, as questions and doubts that have played in my head are suddenly spoken aloud by loved ones and strangers alike.
If we had the time, I could tell you one hundred different stories of hope realized and hope deferred, of singleness and waiting, of watching dreams die and finding God satisfies.
But I won’t lie to you: on the whole, February is still difficult.
I knew that the timing for my next post here in this space would fall around mid-February, and as I scanned the list for my name and date, my stomach flip-flopped, nerves and prayers, hopes and fears all mixing together.
When I saw my name next to today’s date, a smile slowly spread across my face. There’s more to the story you shared last year, I could almost hear Him say. How about February 18th?
Exactly two years ago today, a grocery store clerk made fun of me for having to buy my own flowers. I can still feel the blood rushing to my cheeks, immediately flushing with embarrassment, confusion and surprise.
For the next few days, every time I passed the carefully arranged flowers displayed on the kitchen table, I remembered his cutting remark.
Fear whispered lies, shame began to shout, and doubt weighed heavily like a thick blanket I couldn’t seem to shake off.
Truth always gets the final word, though, and He had something to say too.
Last February, as the day rolled around once again, I found myself reliving that moment and reflecting on two lessons learned from an unfortunate grocery store encounter. I shared the story and the lessons here, and then I dared you to go ahead and buy the flowers.
Dozens of (in)courage readers, women in this very community, took the dare. They drove to the grocery store, purchased a bouquet, and tagged me in pictures of violets, roses, azaleas, and lilies.
Roll the credits and cue the happy ending, right?
Except there’s more to the story, another encounter with a grocery store clerk that happened when I took my own dare, and I’d like to invite you into this page of the story too.
As soon as my morning meetings came to a close, I jogged to the car and set out for the grocery store with a smile on my face. With only a few minutes to select a bouquet and make it back before afternoon meetings began, I stood in front of the display debating the pricier orange tulips or the practical pink carnations.
Two minutes later, I stood in line with sunshine in my hand.
The clerk asked, “What are you celebrating?” and without a second thought, one word slipped out:
Life. Life. Life. Instead of a rude remark, life began to play on a loop in my mind. I held the word gently in my hands, tasting it again on my lips as I spoke it aloud while trimming the stems and filling the vase.
On paper, my life looks much the same today as it did then. But another year has passed and He has remained faithful. The calendar pages have turned, but He has not turned away.
Two things can be true at the same time: This isn’t what I pictured. There are dreams that have died. But also? I’m 100% confident that the Dream Giver is the Author of my story, and He is good.
This was always Plan A. And while there are things I wish I had that I don’t, I actually have so much more than I deserve.
This right here, this life full of incredibly ordinary days and mundane moments, is surprisingly spectacular in one million small ways.
There are broken hearts and beautiful things, hellos and goodbyes, sunrises and sunsets and sunshowers. There is grief and there is joy, sometimes at the very same time, but He does not waste our hurt or our hope.
We can be sad and grateful. We can smile even with tears in our eyes. We can dare to say “This isn’t what I would have written,” even while trusting that He doesn’t make mistakes and He sees the entire storyline.
This has always been the truth, and it will not change: You have not been forgotten or overlooked. You aren’t falling behind. You’re exactly where you’re supposed to be today, and this chapter is not a mistake.
Don’t pause your life for Some Day. Go ahead and buy the flowers, literal or metaphorical. There is good right here, right now, and today is worth celebrating.
Here’s to the beautiful and ordinary of February 18th. May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him today.
This has quickly become my favorite February tradition, and I invite you to take the dare with me! I’ll post my February 18th bouquet on Instagram later today. Want to join me? #BuyTheFlowers, snap a picture, and remember this: You are seen and dearly loved, today and every day.
You have not been forgotten or overlooked. You aren’t falling behind. You’re exactly where you’re supposed to be today, and this chapter is not a mistake. - @kaitlyn_bouch Click To Tweet Leave a Comment
Bev @ Walking Well With God says
Good for you for replacing the enemy’s lies (as delivered by the rude grocery clerk) with God’s truth – a beautiful sunny bouquet of tulips that says, “You are mine. Your name is written in the palm of my hand. You are not forgotten. You are dearly loved and cherished.” THIS is God’s truth for you. Yes, Life. A wise mentor asked me, “If the only gift you ever received was your salvation (Life) would you be satisfied?” This question got stuck in my head for a long time. No husband. No house. No job. No friends. No family. But “Life”. Wow! It made me realize that eternal life with Christ is the best gift of all. Everything else is the whipped cream and cherry on top. Not that God doesn’t want us to have other people and things to bring us joy, but it makes me think twice when I wake up (gift) and put my feet on the floor (gift) and realize I have the best gift of all – Life! Lifting you in prayer that God would give you the desires of your heart. You are a good and faithful servant…well done.
Blessings sweet sister,
Kaitlyn Bouchillon says
Such a good, powerful question. Thanks for sharing it here with all of us!
I love it! And what’s more why shouldn’t you celebrate life! There is so much to be grateful for. Thanks for the reminder that I am where I’m supposed to be right now and God is faithful and good.
Kathleen Burkinshaw says
Kaitlyn, thank you so much for your beautifully written uplifting post from your heart. And by sharing with us you remind us about the One who brings the sunshine into our life and loves us. I just love what you said, “…but he does not waste our hurt or our hope.” I needed to read that today.
Michele Morin says
Kaitlyn, this is portable truth, and I want to carry it into all my ordinary days.
Kaitlyn Bouchillon says
I looooove that. Portable truth to carry into all our ordinary days (most days, really, right?).
I remember that post about buying our own flowers and while I didn’t rush out to do so it resonated with me. Today, I was struck by the power of these words: “We can dare to say ‘This isn’t what I would have written,’ even while trusting that He doesn’t make mistakes and He sees the entire storyline.” As a single mother who escaped an abusive relationship, I certainly wouldn’t have written this story. I often struggle to see God’s direction for my life, and I want so badly to put down roots in order to establish a healthy future for my daughter and myself. But, I am so grateful for your reminder that God knows the “entire storyline.”
Kaitlyn Bouchillon says
Wishing you lived in my city so I could bring you flowers. 🙂 I’m honored that you remembered the post a year later!
Dana Butler says
Beautiful Kaitlyn, I could not love this more. Cheering you on.
Kaitlyn Bouchillon says
Thank you so much, Dana!
Thank you Kaitlyn I needed to be reminded that I am right where I am supposed to be today…even if it doesn’t feel like it. God is good!
Kaitlyn, well done, girl! You rocked it! Your words are so sweet! I’m married, and I had to buy my own flowers. It happens. My husband bought me a card and my favorite Lindt Lindor chocolates. But no flowers. I had a vase on the table, but nothing to put in it. Today? Today I will fill the vase! For you. And for me. Thank you!
Kaitlyn Bouchillon says
Irene, this may sound a little strange but God used your comment here to encourage me. A beautiful, vibrant, kind woman in my life, named Irene, passed away and I can absolutely hear her saying this exact thing to me, just how you worded it. Thank you!
I loved your heartfelt words…im a person who has a very strong independence ( lone wolf attitude), even tho I’m married..i was once a divorced young woman and I went out and did all I wanted.
I would have asked that first clerk why they were so insecure in their own life that they needed to make such a rude remark ( about you buying your own flowers), clearly they had a side to their story too..sounds like they were insecure and possibly on the broken side !!
I have no issue getting special things for me ; it’s great to celebrate life !! I’m here..im healthy and my God loves me !!
my best friend has been alone her whole life….she goes to movies.. out for supper herself and on trips. it’s life and it’s here to love.. crippling oneself emotionally with fear because of what others might think is life altering.
she’s a spit fire and loves embracing life..shes always on the go .
Martha McNeal says
Lovely post and a confirmation of the faithful presence of the LORD in my life. Celebrating Him today for all He’s done and all I have in Him. Ephesians 2:4-6. Thank you
Thank you for this needed reminder!
So true! Thank you! His love is enough! Yet, He continues to give us everything if we just take the time to stop and watch and listen to Him.
Each and every day a blessing beyond words! Loving the way you step out and live your life through Him!
Wow. Earlier today, I bought a bunch of pink tulips,exactly as pictured in the photo alongside this post and arranged them on the kitchen table in exactly the same type of glass vase. I hadn’t seen or read this post but I have been feeling a bit flat recently – overlooked, forgotten and some casual comments made a long time ago replaying through my mind ( someone had said “I bet you’ll still be here this time next year” and many years later, with nothing changed, it hurts to remember that) So I am azazed to open up incourage.me and see this. I’m going to take the message next to those flowers right into my heart and believe it’s not chance. And when I go back into my kitchen shortly, I’m going to look at these p!ink tulips in the glass vase and say “Thank You Jesus” and think of what I do have – “Life” -with a big smile on my face 🙂
Kaitlyn Bouchillon says
Wow! What perfect timing. Thanks for that, God.
This is a lovely post and I like the reply, “celebrate life.” I am single too and this year I bought myself a bouquet of mauvey/pink tulips, one of my favourite flowers, on Feb. 13th. I placed them on a table in my living room and when the sun hits them from the window, they’re just so pretty. I’ve done this many times over the years whether it’s for my birthday, valentines or Easter (to celebrate spring and the renewal of creation), just because I’m worth an occasional splurge and, now, to celebrate life. 🙂 Sometimes we just need a little piece of God’s handiwork to brighten our space.
Thanks for sharing. Blessings, Sandy
i too know how it feels-after 48 yrs. i am alone as my husband passed away—-usually a card and candy was given by him—-it has been 15 yrs. in Dec. since i had him——this yr. i bought my candy and when time to plant i will buy some flowers—make yourself happy as long as you can and do not let anyone make fun of your joy—-God gave us beauty to enjoy
Rosalind Sparks says
Thanks for your post Kaitlyn, I do remember reading your post last year about buying our own flowers! but had forgotten about it, until now! Funnily enough I woke up today (18th) thinking I must buy myself some flowers & the ones I bought were very similar to yours! Yes! God has given us Life, that is a reason to celebrate every day!
Kaitlyn Bouchillon says
I’m so glad you bought the flowers!!
Theresa E Boedeker says
Love it. Today is always worth celebrating! Celebrating life today.
Kaitlyn, I honestly had just come out of prayer about 7 min before reading your post. In my prayer, I just finished sharing with God that I was falling behind. Wondering where he has been and why is heaven silent against me, my next chapter (the theme of my wedding as I embarked upon the age of 50 in 2015) was not/is not at all what I thought it would be. Without complaining (I’m just explaining 🙂 at 54 years of age, I’m a full-time student, I work part-time and might I add, I’m currently in the middle of a divorce. My husband (a Pastor) of but 4 short years, who incessantly used the Word of God against me, filed for a divorce stating that I was no longer being submissive nor obedient; equivalent of me no longer being willing to suffer abuse shamefully or silently in the church. So somewhere between waking up, prayer, devotion, breakfast, classes, homework, work, church, court paperwork, sleep, etc, the demands on my mind, body, and spirit is sometimes proving quite overwhelming. Although I’ve been able to maintain the status of a ‘straight A’ student over the course of the year and that ONLY by the grace of God, I’m nonetheless tired and am growing weary (I want this part (divorce) to be over). It’s been quite taxing mentally, emotionally, physically, spiritually and financially and while I have been greatly blessed (all of this is my testimony of God’s goodness and faithfulness) I’m nonetheless wearing thin and feel as if I’m falling behind. I apologize for the long response but I wanted to give context: I’ve begun a non-profit (work in progress), A Beauty for Ashes. It’s a ministry designed to work with (Christian) women who are experiencing the woes and throes of divorce and who are needing assistance in rising out of the ashes. As I’m majoring in Admin of Justice, our endeavor is to ensure that no (Christian) woman would have to suffer (shamefully and silently) and walk through this process alone. And as difficult as this process has been, your words simply and honestly reminded me that, ‘I have not been forgotten or overlooked. I am not falling behind. I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be today, and this chapter (in spite of what the devil would have me to think) is not a mistake. In fact, it may very well be the best written chapter in my life. I appreciate you sharing with us this morning. Thank you. Blessings
Kaitlyn Bouchillon says
Tammy, thank you for sharing a piece of your story with us here. I see strength and bravery in your words. I think so often in the middle of our mess, God is writing our message. He can redeem it all – big and small and everything somewhere in between. Wish I could hand deliver a bouquet to you today!
This post was very well written and right on time!
Dawn Ferguson-Little says
I know I have not been over looked. I know my Husband loves me. Yes when going with me before we got Married 26 years ago he bought me Flowers. Not now as he says there a waist of money. He my Husband rather take out for a nice cup of coffee instead or put the money away to Gods work in our Church. As he says Dawn you got Me now we are married. Instead of flowers he says this joking to make me laugh. I much more beautiful than flowers. I can see his point to want to put the money into Gods work to help Gods people in our Churches work in Countries in the worlds that need it than buy flowers. Or now and then take me for coffee. So I not over looked either. My Husband does think of me too as well as Gods work. I like the reading. Thank you for it xxxx Dawn Ferguson-Little xxx
Beth Williams says
Society tends to pigeon hole people. The belief is that everyone should get married & have children. Their are industries built around romance. God made us all different. Jesus had something to say about marriage in Matthew 19:11-12 But Jesus said, “Not everyone is mature enough to live a married life. It requires a certain aptitude and grace. Marriage isn’t for everyone. Some, from birth seemingly, never give marriage a thought. Others never get asked – or accepted. And some decide not to get married for kingdom reasons. But if you’re capable of growing into the largeness of marriage, do it.” Just because we’re not married doesn’t mean we can’t buy flowers for ourselves. We should take every opportunity to celebrate the goodness of God. Research has shown that flowers improve emotional health. The presence of flowers triggered happy emotions in people thus increasing feeling of life satisfaction. Flowers are a natural mood enhancer. #Whispersofrest. Go ahead & buy some flowers. Enjoy the wonderful life God has blessed you with.
Kimberly Beth Bryant says
I love this for many reasons! I moved back in December, i felt led by God the place and job I moved to but I’ve definitely been having doubts or wondering if i’ve already accomplished whatever it was and it’s time to move on so I’m praying and asking questions. Is this where I’m supposed to be, God? Did I misunderstand? I’m not sure if this feels right, God, is it time for me to move on? So, the idea that I’m where i’m supposed to be today, takes away some of the guess work, worry, and questioning. Also, i’ve always really loved flowers but the cat that i had with my ex-husband could not help himself when it came to fresh flowers and would eat them until he made himself sick so i decided to more flowers which meant i couldn’t bring home the many varieties that i loved and i had to ask my husband to stop bringing me roses as well. i told myself having Kitty was better than any flowers and his health was more important and of course that was and is true. Fast forward to the last couple of months and we are now divorced and i’m too far away for us to share Kitty and i realize i could have flowers and then i also realize i don’t have vases any more and i have to be careful with money and so spending it on a vase or buying flowers that are only going to die in a few days is probably not a priority. So i read this and i think does that mean i’m saying i’m not a priority and having something that would brighten up my place and smell good is not a priority? I’m trying to stay away from the grocery store until it seems safer to be in public again but i’m thinking when things get i’m going to the grocery store and i’m buying probably the cheapest tall vase and a beautiful bunch of those huge lilies that smell so good 🙂