Under God's leadership, my husband left a pastorate we all dearly loved and for more than two years he served the Lord as a full-time evangelist. In many ways, this was a difficult time for all of us. Our comfortable, safe, well-ordered, accustomed life had been drastically re-arranged. This new ministry was definitely one of faith, and as anyone who lives entirely by faith in the Lord's provision knows, there are times when faith is sorely tested. Uninvited and unwelcome feelings of anxiety, loneliness, doubt, and yes, sometimes, briefly, resentment can so easily slip in with unsettling results. We learned many golden lessons during this period. I learned, truly learned, about faith and trust in the Lord.
My husband wisely decided to move our young family back to my hometown of Florence, Alabama, to a secluded, comfortable older home on the lake. For the first time in many years I lived near my own dear family and we spent many precious hours together.
One day, my sister Barbara and I spent the day visiting with our parents. Upon leaving that afternoon, we stood under the huge, ancient oak tree that was so much a beloved part of our lives. (My Mother and Daddy had played under the same tree when they were children). Suddenly, I looked down, and there, nestled at the base of the tree, on this cold, gray, blustery November day, was a clump of purple violets, cheerfully blooming as though it were Spring.
I have always loved violets. As a child I would gather fistfuls and take them to Mama to put in a pretty vase. There was one special place that my friend Edith and I discovered where the ground was covered with a carpet of deep, lush, heart-shaped green leaves and huge purple violets borne aloft on long straight stems. It was like a hidden secret garden. Even now, after all these many years, every Spring I get the giddy urge to go looking for long-stemmed purple violets in some cool shadowy nook. I want to gather double handfuls, to close my eyes, to bury my face in the velvety petals, and to breathe in deeply of the lovely, delicate fragrance that is like nothing else in the world (unless it be the scent of wild honeysuckle drifting on the breeze of a soft, moonlit summer night.)
Somehow, this bunch of violets blooming at our feet on this dreary November afternoon was like a small miracle of reassurance, joy and encouragement that I so needed at this time. I can still remember the beautiful sensation that surged though me that day. If, as the saying goes, "God is in a wildflower", He certainly manifested Himself in those precious violets that day. I went home, and that night, still under the magic or miracle-spell, I wrote the poem, Violets in November. I dedicated it to my beloved sister, Barbara, who had shared that lovely experience with me and next day I took her a copy. She still has it tucked away somewhere among her treasures.
The Lord loves to surprise us with unexpected joys in unexpected places at unexpected times. Their sudden appearance always seems to come just when we need them most. Our "Novembers" often come in an "off-season" and that's just the time to expect a bunch of purple violets to spring up at our feet, blooming out-of-season.