We have returned home from our awesome trip to New Orleans, LA. (NOLA) and I have to say that from this trip I have learned so much about myself, family, and most importantly God.
I was born in New Orleans, LA. on September 25th, 1979 at Lakeside Hospital. I was born Wendy Marie Makepeace.
We lived in New Orleans until I was 9 years old and moved on to Monroe, LA. (near Shreveport). The south has such a smell that is home to me. When I cross Texas on to Louisiana I just have to take a deep breath and know I am home. I love it here!
I moved to Oklahoma when I was 12 but always longed to go back home to Louisiana. I remember being in Louisiana and we had to have manners. We said "yes sir, no sir" to everything. If we didn't, you got reminded right there in front of the person. So after we moved to Oklahoma, I thought the polite thing to do was use my manners. I remember my first day in 6th grade, Mr. Matthews asked me if I was from Louisiana. I said, "yes sir" and everyone laughed and even whispered, "she said yes sir." That is when I knew things were different here.
I always had some what of an emptiness for where I called "home" and wondered if I would ever get that feeling. Years go by and you often forget where you are from. I was reminded constantly everytime I saw the "Fleur de lis." It is the symbol for the city of New Orleans or you may recognize it from the New Orleans Saints football team.
Anytime I have gone/go out and I see that symbol my heart longs to go back home. I am reminded that that is where I am from. People have asked me if I feel the "heaviness" over New Orleans, for its sin. Well, I didn't. Maybe it's because I didn't go expecting to feel it. I went expecting to feel God show me what it was that I have been longing for all this time.
While we were down there we saw cars with "Fleur de lis" all over them. I got filled with joy because it showed a city proud. There were "Fleur de lis" on business windows, billboard signs, and people wore them on their shirts. I told Jeremy I had to have something with a "Fleur de lis" to take home. I was so excited.
We stopped at a silver shop in the French Quarter downtown before we left to head home. I wanted a necklace with "Fleur de lis" on it. I found one! I was so excited to put it on and Jeremy was so happy to see me happy. I wore it proud.
On the way out of New Orleans to head home, I felt the Lord prompt me to look up "Fleur de lis" on my phone. I always associated with New Orleans but wasn't sure what the meaning of it was. As I searched on Wikipedia, I saw something that made my heart feel so loved.
"Fleur de lis" means "Lily Flower" in French. God had reminded me of my graduation at Purity with Purpose in November 2002.
I had announced my full name "Wendy Marie Grist" and what each meaning meant. When I was done I walked over to get prayer. Before it got started, one of the pastors had said, "Wendy when you walked on stage God told me the scripture Song of Songs 2:2 "Like a lily among thorns is my darling among maidens." He then said, "your middle name Marie means fragrance right? Well, I believe the lily symbolizes the "fragrance" that you are. God wanted me to tell you that scripture, you are like a lily among thorns." I immediately cried of course. I had never felt as if I was beautiful and for God to tell me that at that time was amazing.
Times following that prophesy, God showed me how He was showing me in the past that I was a lily among thorns. Someone had given me a scripture plaque with lilies on it, I carried lilies in my wedding, and there were lilies on a picture in all the doctors office I had been in. It was a sure sign to me that God was always with me...even from birth.
As I scrolled down more on Wikipedia, I saw it again, but this time the actual scripture was there; In the Middle Ages the symbols of lily and fleur-de-lis (lis is French for "lily") overlapped considerably in religious art. Michel Pastoureau, the historian, says that until about 1300 they were found in depictions of Jesus, but gradually they took on Marian symbolism and were associated with the Song of Solomon's "lily among thorns" (lilium inter spinas), understood as a reference to Mary.
I thanked God that He showed me that.
He thinks I am a "lily among thorns." I have a guarded, calloused, and selfish heart at times and he sees the growth in all of that. I am yet again in awe of His greatness.
I do not worship the "Fleur de lis" but it is a reminder to me of where I am from, what God has done, and how He is in everything.