By Melissa McLaughlin
It was a small and simple surprise, but my heart leaped for joy at the sight! My husband had snapped a twig off our old apple tree and placed it in a vase on the kitchen table. Though half of the tree was now dead, a few branches still pulsed with life, glowing with tender white apple blossoms. A sight for sore eyes. Like the spring thaw after a long winter season, so my heart was waiting for the warmth of hope amidst this long stretch of global illness.
A sign of new life, new hope, new seasons. Such a wonderful gift wrapped in the colors of God’s own choosing.
A smile lit my face as I thanked my husband for his thoughtfulness. His response caught me off guard.
“It’s the last apple blossom,” he remarked quietly.
“What do you mean?” I asked, a tinge of sadness seeping through my voice.
“Since the tree is almost dead, this is the last spring before I cut down what still remains,” he explained gently.
The last apple blossom. Somehow those words sounded heavy in my heart. A flood of memories washed over me.
My mind slipped back to decades past when we first bought this house. We thanked God for leading us to this home, as we had searched diligently for something that would provide a safe area for our children to grow and play together as a family. This home and property fit the bill to a tee.
A neighborhood with quiet streets, brimming with other children and our own sweet home with a small backyard adjacent to the elementary school our children would attend. A parent’s dream come true. The land in the surrounding area had once been an old farm and the back edge of our property contained one of the last vestiges of that era, an old apple tree.
In my mind’s eye, I saw our young children skipping barefoot through the grass, soaring high on the swing set, building castles in the sandbox, running through the sprinkler, collecting bugs and relaxing on a blanket imagining fanciful scenes in the clouds.
In earlier years, the apple tree still offered a few runty, hard, green apples, which we observed with wonder and delight. We even picked them and tried to take a small bite here and there. Since the tree was long past its prime, the apples were more for sport than food. They made great backyard baseballs!
As the apple tree began to die off bit by bit, a pair of squirrels made a nest in its deadened trunk and gave birth to a family of baby squirrels there. What a gift to witness the cooing of baby squirrels! Even in its death, this old apple tree was a blessing.
All too soon, the kids were driving, working and busy with their own lives.
And so, the last apple blossom is a little bittersweet. It reminds me of the precious blessings of our golden family years. Only to be enjoyed now in memories. It reminds me of how quickly the time has passed and cannot be reclaimed. It reminds me that this gift of life does not last forever.
By God’s tender grace, the memory of a quote I had recently read fluttered through fog that had descended. I couldn’t remember the author or the exact wording, but I recalled something along these lines: “Real faith is when we can thank God for blessings we once had but have no more and when we can thank God for the blessings we will one day have but do not have yet.”
As the Holy Spirit cast this new light on the last apple blossom, there was a lifting in my spirit. I began to thank God for all these blessed moments we shared in the backyard with our children. How sacred, how lovely, how beautiful.
And I began to thank God for blessings yet to be. Days when we would build new memories with our family. Praying we could help each other grow in Christ, for these blessings are eternal. Knowing that our dear Savior has prepared a place in heaven for all who believe in Him. A place where there will be no more tears or sorrow or pain.
We may not have these blessings yet, but by faith, they can bring us joy even now.
God took a tiny apple blossom from a fading apple tree to teach me a new lesson. Pause and thank God for blessings past, present AND future. As we remember God’s faithfulness to us in the past, we are confident of His faithfulness to fulfill every promise He has made for our future. His Word will stand. His promises will come to pass.
When you see the last apple blossom of your life, I pray it will remind you of blessings from the past and at the same time give you a vision of blessings yet to come. Thank God, because of Jesus there is always joy, even in the waiting.
Hebrews 11:1-2 – Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for.
Hebrews 11:13 – All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth.
Hebrews 12:1-3 – Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18 – Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
P.S. After a long search, I found the original quote. Though it is not exactly as I remembered, it is thoughtful and encouraging. “Perhaps it takes a purer faith to praise God for unrealized blessings than for those we once enjoyed or those we enjoy now.” A.W. Tozer
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Your message is absolutely beautiful. I won’t look at the last blossoms the same again. 🙂
Thank you, Melissa, for sharing in this simple, yet profound memory with me. So many reasons to thank our loving Father God.
Sure a great visual imagine. I hope I can praise the Lord up until my last breath and thank Him for so many blessings in this life. Loved this blog, thanks for sharing.
I hope I can praise Him until that day, too, Yvonne. May His praise be ever on our lips until our very last breath and we begin our praises in heaven!
What a beautiful post, Melissa! You made me get all teary eyed as I considered how quickly our children grew up! It’s astonishing really! Each day can often move so slowly, yet the years fly by. This statement really resonated with me: “Real faith is when we can thank God for blessings we once had but have no more and when we can thank God for the blessings we will one day have but do not have yet.” I miss those old days, but I am so incredibly thankful for them, to have had those wonderful times with our children. I know also that blessings lie ahead of us. The Lord has promised good to us! God is good!
Thank you, Melinda! I was teary eyed over the whole thing. Who knew a little apple blossom could send me on an emotional roller coaster! But I really felt God’s gentle touch walking with me through the waves that come as I remember our family’s sweet memories that so quickly slip into melancholy at the swiftly passing years. God is so kind, the Giver all of these blessings, helping us to refocus on Him as our greatest blessing of all. God bless you and your beautiful family!
In my corner of the world, the day started out overcast and now the sun is shining! Reading this post today is such a blessing…the world is a bit overcast at the moment with this pandemic, but your post mirrors the light of our Risen Lord, Jesus Christ. We are forever blessed, His light a light for all time. This is such a beautiful story of hope and faith and love. Thank you Melissa! God bless you!
God bless you, Linda! You are right, the whole world is a bit overcast, but the Light of Christ is always brighter, if we pause and remember all His blessings. I hope you have a wonderful weekend!
Thank you for being a blossom and the apple of my eye.
Awww, thank you, Tom! And thank you for the gift. It meant more than you could imagine.
I have been grieving a bit lately about my grown up daughter, who’s moved away; your post touched a tender place in my heart right now. She lives about two-and-a-half hours drive from us, which isn’t too bad, but it’s far enough that I can’t just jump in the car and get coffee with her. So, I have been allowing past memories of her childhood wash over me like gentle touches. I miss those days, to be sure. But God will restore all things, as we look forward to an eternity when time won’t matter. I am SO glad she is a Christian, and we have that to enjoy together no matter the distance between us.
I understand completely, Lisa. As our kids have moved on in life, of course we are happy for them, but how we miss them, miss their presence with us. May those precious memories of your daughter and family be a sweet treasure to your soul. Yes, you have a great blessing, for she is a Christian! God bless you and your family!
What a beautiful lesson! It’s amazing how God can take anything and teach our souls something about His character and His truth. Thank you for sharing this with us!
It’s so true, Emily! God uses the unique details of our lives at just the right moment, to reach us in just the right way. That alone is a magnificent blessing! Praying you see God’s many blessings all around you.
So beautiful, Melissa. Those photos of the apple blossoms are so pretty. How funny the apples were more for sport than eating. So I guess no pies came of them. 🙂 But yes, a great tree for climbing and playing near.
This quote is amazing: “Real faith is when we can thank God for blessings we once had but have no more and when we can thank God for the blessings we will one day have but do not have yet.”
Thank you, Karen! I thank God for the many blessings He has poured out on us day after day. And I thank God for using this little blessing to remind me of blessings past, present and future. He is a good, good Father!
What an awesome sharing of lessons learned from blossoms! While reading and being blessed, I thought of an article I read many years ago that might be a blessing to someone. It’s a might different…the title is “Blighted Blossoms” and was written by an author that was bedridden fr many years. Just in case…here’s the link: http://www.whatistruth.info/story4.html May God bless you and yours today and always!
Thank you for reading, Jerry, and sharing your insights and the connection to a similar story! God has His ways of weaving His heart, mind and blessings into our lives in so many different ways. We are blessed!
I appreciated your post and particularly Tozer’s quote, “Real faith is when we can thank God for blessings we once had but have no more and when we can thank God for the blessings we will one day have but do not have yet.” Noticing and thanking God for both our recognized blessings and for the unrealized blessings.
Thank you, Anne! I was deeply impacted by Tozer’s quote, as well. For God has poured out blessings upon us beyond measure. I’m grateful whenever He finds a way to tap me on the shoulder and remind me of this. For His love is great, high, long and deep. May we never forget!
off topic, but i could use your prayers, this lock-down is impacting everyone including me & 1 area is in interactions with others. I’m renting from someone who is a believer, but there are times when i can note the ‘enemy’ is trying to cause division & sometimes succeeds. i’ve no where else to go at this time & would like to keep the peace as much as possible. Doesn’t help that i still struggle with issues some that can’t be resolved for many reasons. Thank you ahead of time & thank you for your ministry, here & on twitter. alan metz
Yes, Alan, this lockdown has a far-reaching, negative impact on everyone, in more ways that we can say. May we seek the Lord to remain strong spiritually, for it strengthens the other areas of our lives. I am lifting you in prayer right now. May our heavenly Father bless you with His peace which passes all understanding and guard your heart and mind in Christ Jesus. Psalm 139.
I love this post. The apple tree with one lingering piece of memory. How beautiful. It makes me think of a cat we had. Getting him was my youngest son’s first memory. My other children were out of the home and my husband away when the cat died. I stood beside this almost grown son as he shoveled dirt on the makeshift coffin. A moment cemented in time. Amazing how an apple blossom can take you and me to such special places in time. God bless!
What a tender moment you shared with your son, as the passing of your cat. God is with us in the big moments and in the small moments. May the blessings of His love woven through it all be a treasured memory. God bless you, Nancy!
Thank you for sharing this beautiful object lesson, Melissa. God really is so gracious to us, to find ways to remind us of His faithfulness! I love the quote by Tozer that you found: “Perhaps it takes a purer faith to praise God for unrealized blessings than for those we once enjoyed or those we enjoy now.” It reminds me so much of what Jesus spoke to Thomas, that he believed because he had seen, “but blessed are those who have not seen and YET believe.” Oh, may I trust Him with my future, and my loved ones’ futures too.
I pray this along with you, Bettie, that I will trust Him more and more with my future and my loved ones’ futures. He has shown us His love and grace over and over and over. May we rest our souls in His faithfulness. God bless you and keep you, dear sister! Love and hugs to you this day!