The last time I was outside doing any serious work in my flower beds, a few weeks ago, I looked down and saw a familiar friend on the brick that surrounds the flowers. There she (or he?) was – a ladybug! All through the spring and summer, whenever I’ve been outside working in the gardens, I confront more than flowers, vegetables, and weeds. There are also a huge variety of bugs and critters to deal with as I water and weed. Nearly all of them are not welcome in my world, even the ones that I know are doing a valuable job. I swat the flies and mosquitoes; dodge the bees; run from the snakes; shake off the box elder bugs and ants; gasp at the spiders; and generally try hard to avoid all the other flying and crawling bugs that come my way.
However, my reaction to a ladybug is totally different than any of the other insects and various creatures that I encounter. When I see a ladybug, I am unaffected by fear. I don’t mind if she crawls up my arm or is near my hand as I grab a plant. Ladybugs make me smile, not scream. Sometimes I even talk to them – and hope that no one sees me talking in the garden! I know they do a valuable job for us gardeners as they eat aphids – hundreds and hundreds of aphids. When I see multitudes of ladybugs on my okra, for instance, I just work around them and urge them to keep up the good work! They’re a help to me, an encouragement, and I refer to them as my friends in my gardens. They are indeed my little buddies!
Ladybugs remind me of my human friends in this life. God has blessed me with many ladybug friends along the way! As Gary and I made many military moves, we also made many friends in every place that we lived. The gardens of my life have been lit up with the friends that God has allowed me to make. How special and precious they all are to me! I think back to various events, both happy and sad, and remember the friends that stood by me. Proverbs 17:17 says, “A friend loves at all times…..” I have found that to be so true when it comes to true friends. Friends have gone through the ups and downs of life with me as we’ve laughed, cried, prayed, planned, and grown together. Even the miles don’t separate true friends.
Life has also held the unwanted experiences of disappointment and hurt, sometimes even from those that we thought were friends. One of the most painful experiences in life is the rejection or betrayal from those that we thought were friends. We want to run from it, as we would run from a snake or a bee, but the sting and bite still happens and the hurt is very raw. During those times, our ladybug friends are even more precious. Proverbs 27:9 says, “Oil and perfume make the heart glad; so a man’s counsel is sweet to his friend.” I am forever grateful to the friends in my life who have held me up and held me accountable; who have not only comforted but who have counseled me during those rough times; who have quoted scripture to me and prayed for me; and who have cautioned me not to sin in my attitudes during the stinging periods of life. Sweet ladybug friends, both near and far. Some are family and some are not, but all are dear and valuable ladybug friends that I treasure. Truly I thank God for each one!