This summer I could see it from my kitchen window.  Every morning when I turned on my dearly loved keurig coffee machine,  I looked out the window and I smiled.

It was my tallest Hollyhock. I think that Hollyhocks are my favorite flower.  It’s definitely ONE of my favorites for sure. I think that they are so romantic and free flowing and strong and beautiful.  They are kind of artsy and I love artsy things. But this one – well this one taught me something. 

It taught me that in the midst of hail, and hurricane force winds and cold, cold spurts when it was supposed to be hot – I can stand strong; I can stand tall and I can be beautiful. 

I remember after the third hailstorm this summer – looking outside at my flowers.  It looked like a marigold massacre. Bit and pieces of petals and leaves and stems strewn all over my garden; vegetables had totally given up and pansies were one dimensional – they looked like a cruel painting against my steps.  It was awful weather for any plant to survive.

Then a day or two later,  I noticed something. My hollyhocks – even though they were horizontal – they were blooming.  They had been flattened; trampled by the weather, but still they found the strength to bring forth this beautiful bloom from their gangly stalks.

And then a few days later I looked and gasped.  There was my tallest one -standing upright. Not laying on the ground anymore.   It was taller than I was. It was beautiful and extravagant and strong. You would  have never guessed in a million years what storms that Hollyhock had to weather. In amongst the weeds, the less than perfect soil, the terrible weather, it chose to be outrageously lovely.

It felt like it was cheering me on every day.  “Yeah, Faith, you can do it! It doesn’t matter if you’ve had an achingly cold and harsh summer; it doesn’t matter if the storms keeps coming – you can do it I I’ve done it so can you!”

The bible talks about being more than a conqueror.  I preached on that a few months ago. I have come to  believe that being more than a conqueror has a lot more to do with your resolve to serve Jesus in the midst of “it all” rather than having all the circumstances line up perfectly in a row for your enjoyment.   I think that being more than a conqueror means that you weather the storms of life knowing that you won’t run away from the one who calls you his son or daughter. You may have questions – you may be confused ;and you may even be a little bit angry – but you know Jesus enough.  You have forged that relationship enough. You have dug the wells of friendship with Jesus in a deep way. You have enough history with Him to know that he is still God, he is still good and he can still be deeply trusted and loved with abandonment. That’s what I believe being more than a conqueror is.

So this summer I found myself looking out my kitchen window, first thing in the morning – for my Hollyhock to greet me.  Yes, I can do it – through the storms, through the ugliness and the upside down seasons, through the mixed up and crazy turns of life; through the cruel and really really hard parts.

 I can do it,  I know I can.