Roses in the Rubble

As a relief & development worker I documented sobering issues: child victims of war, the ravages of HIV/AIDS, and injustices (mass graves inclusive) in conflict zones and places of poverty all over the world. After collecting flower photographs during my first posting in the Middle East, what began as a hobby (making cards out of flower pics) became something more, especially during the Kosovo relief program. Finding roses in the rubble and capturing them on film.

Finding beauty – HOPE – in a disaster zone.

I love flowers – our Creator’s heavenly paintbrush splashing beauty around us. In Tanzania jacaranda trees lined a street near our main office. Every December lavender flowers canopied in giant trees fluttered everywhere. It reminded me of elven Lothlorien in Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings.” When I went on (and on) about the beauty of these trees, my African boss said, “the flowers mess up your windshield and make a mess all over your car!”

But, hey, they were still a beautiful, inspiring mess!

Sometimes our lives are filled with messy mistakes, failures and piles of rubble. But the thing about finding roses in rubble, you have to look for them. Sometimes they’re hiding behind our fears, insecurities, anger and bitterness. But God can do the impossible and God is rather good at bringing good out of impossibly challenging circumstances.

Think of Joseph, thrown down a well and sold into slavery by his MEAN brothers. Never say it can’t get worse: he ended up in the rubble of an Egyptian prison (they are notoriously bad now – imagine what it must have been like 5,000 or so years ago?)

Keeping the faith, however, years later he became the second most powerful man in Egypt and saved not only Jacob and his family but the whole region from starvation.  Joseph became a powerfully strong rose amidst debilitating and devastating rubble.  As he later told his brothers, “what you meant for evil, God used for good.”

I know that God has grown roses out of my personal rubble in impossible-to-comprehend ways and those around me (especially my bed-fast quadriplegic Papa!) I’ve also met many inspiring roses living in the rubble of conflict zones who reflect the beauty of hope to shattered hearts and broken dreams around them.  Their scarred blooms are filled with petals of faith, hope, peace and love as they exude the bitter-to-sweet scent of joy amidst suffering.

Living roses inspire us to be more of who we are meant to be: beloved sons and daughters of our Almighty Heavenly Father, regardless of whether we are pink, purple, red or yellow: we all come from the same human stem of life created in God’s image.

If you are bogged down looking at the rubble around you, Heads Up! Look around, the sun still rises and the sun still sets (keeping Heavenly paintbrushes busy.) If God clothes the flowers of the field so beautifully, will He not take care of us? Have faith…& COURAGE.

It takes courage to be a rose when rubble surrounds you!

“The Lord is my Light and my Salvation, whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life, of whom shall I be afraid? One thing I desire, and that I will seek after: to behold the beauty of the Lord and inquire in His temple.”  Psalm 27:1&4

32 Responses to Roses in the Rubble

  1. Here’s a new page on my-newly-constructed-still-figuring-out-the-buttons-blog.. New name – pls let me know what you think!! Virginia 🙂

    • Beatrice Minja says:

      What a great writing. Yes “A rose in the rumble” . You have reminded me on how the powerful inner part of a human belief can make a great diffence in any situation in life. Believers in God are protected by his powers and his light guides them to the right destination where many more roses shall be blooming and shatter the rumbles.
      Viginia I am so pleased to connect with you after many years since you left Tanzania.
      I will be your partner in reading and building up the gift that God has given you.
      God bless you.

      • Virginia says:

        DADA BEATRICE!!! What a special blessing to hear from you – i will NEVER forget your gracious expertise in all things malaria (& community development & healthcare & women & & & so much more!) & your FRIENDSHIP that made Tanzania such a wonderful place to be (even on crutches!) Miss you & so glad to reconnect.. Thank you for being such an amazing Rose amidst the ‘rubble’ of devastating diseases like Malaria – emanating such strong life-saving fragrance one mother, child, village, ward, district, region, country & continent at a time…

        Hope that that God will continue to bless you with extra doses of grace AND Holy Hilarity (as needed)…

        grace, peace & African Roses – Virginia : )

    • Mary Anne Javed says:

      We worked together at CCF, and I am so glad you found yourself where you are meant to be, doing what God wants you to do. That’s when we are most able to be for god every moment of every day. It shows in what we are able to do because we have let Him take charge. it is seldom the easiest, but always the richest, most rewarding path.
      Feel free to contact me…I would love to know where you are and what and how you are doing.

      • Virginia says:

        MARY ANNE!! What a blessing to hear from you.. i so remember you at CCF & all the great work you oversaw in Programs (& didn’t we zip up to DC for a few InterAction health meetings? : ) For sure, i’ll be in touch (check your email!) to catch up.

        You are so right that the ‘path’ God ordains is seldom the easiest (!!) but that’s why grace (& mercy! & love! & joy!) are so important to see the Heavenly Roses blooming in & around our lives along the way…

        grace, peace & rewarding paths – Virginia : )

  2. Shere Perry says:

    Ginny this is so beautifully written! I’ve ALWAYS been a BIG FAN of your gift for writing! I am even more enthusiastic (if it is possible to be) after reading the Roses in Rubble entry! I will print this out and carry it with me to re-read many times over! I am forwarding this to many of my friends as well! I’m SO HAPPY you are using your gift in this way! Thanks for sharing this with me/us… It will be my “treat to self” to read every week! Your “in awe of you seester ” ~Shere

  3. mymary0913 says:

    Keep looking for those roses, there, Virginia. I, like Shere, LOVE your writing. I cannot fathom what you have seen and what people have lived through.

    • Virginia says:

      Thank you so much for your encouraging comments — was wondering about keeping at this blogging thing (!) but now that Papa is getting better, can hopefully get back in the groove!


    It is great Virginia move on ispiring as you get inspired

  5. Beatrice Minja says:

    Wonderful work done.
    Progress in utilizing that gift.

  6. diligent57 says:

    Indeed the sun still does shine and light always overcomes darkness! Amen

  7. Morgan says:

    Love you Auntie Ginny! I hope this signs me up to be alerted for all future blog posts!

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  13. Roes in the rubble …. what an inspired title…..and mission.

    • Virginia says:

      Thank you – I started this blog with different name, but a week later Roses in the Rubble came like a flash – & I found photos taken of roses in Kosovo in the first place I checked (kinda miraculous.) Blessings! ✨🌹🌟🌹✨

  14. ladycee says:

    What a beautiful concept – Roses in the Rubble. And a beautifully written explanation of your blog’s name.
    I popped by because you’d liked one of my posts and I thought I’d check out your blog. I shall look forward to further visits.

    • Virginia says:

      Thank you for dropping by Roses in the Rubble – it’s a challenge to find roses when we’re going through hard times (especially under loads of rubble) but they’re often there if we look hard enough. I’m looking forward to reading more of your posts! 🌹🤗🌹

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