Cynthia L. Simmons has been a homeschool mother and a Bible teacher for more than twenty years. Active in Christian Authors Guild (CAG), she conducts writing workshops and has served as president, vice president, and conference director. In December 2009, she was honored with a “lifetime membership” for her numerous contributions to writers.

Cindy is fond of history and writes both historical fiction and nonfiction. She and her husband Ray have five children and reside in Atlanta.

The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever. Isaiah 40:8

My friend and I prepare floral arrangements for church. One Saturday we placed miniature sunflowers in a huge blue pitcher and attached a floppy yellow bow. It was stunning. After placing them in front of the pulpit, I went home quite smug. To my horror, I found limp noodles hanging out of the container the next morning. I snatched them out of the sanctuary and disappeared with them. Even though I added fresh water, they didn’t revive.

Now I know that a flower with a heavy stem needs a lot more moisture than the oasis we used. The sunflowers might have performed well in a large container with lots of water, but we never tried that variety again. Instead we’ve mastered all sorts of techniques to make our floral designs last. We’ve learned roses survive longer if immersed in cold water for a couple of hours. Floral preservative increases blossom life while heat and sunshine shorten it. I’m thankful none of our other creations croaked before the service.

Regardless of what I do, however, cut flowers die. As I pull apart the crisp remnants, I remind myself of I Corinthians 4:18, “while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” Just like those droopy sunflowers, the latest cell phones, a snazzy outfit, or a new purse won’t matter fifty years from now, much less eternity. I share God’s beauty with the congregation knowing my work won’t last, but I hope the visual reminder focuses hearts on the Creator. Because Christ died for me, I have an inheritance in heaven that won’t ever fade.

So how do I keep a long term perspective? It’s a constant battle for me because temporal things can appear important and even glitzy. I have to keep my heart close to God with constant Bible study. When I’m faithful in prayer, the Holy Spirit points out my attitudes, so I can adjust my goals. Spending time with other believers and mediating on Scripture helps too.

My sunflowers embarrassed me, and I took steps to prevent that. On the other hand, I don’t want to get to the end of life and realize I spent too much time on temporal things. I’d rather receive God’s commendation for setting the right priorities. I encourage you to join me. In eternity you’ll be glad you did.

About Struggles and Triumphs

What’s wrong with our world? Shouldn’t a God who claims to be all-powerful and flawless prevent suffering? How can we continue to believe when storms rage on in our lives? If you’ve ever had tough questions like these, the Struggles and Triumphs study guide is the book for you. Author Cynthia L. Simmons will guide you toward answers with her unique and enlightening approach. Her twelve-week Bible study for ladies comes from stories of real women as told in Struggles and Triumphs: Women in History Who Overcame. As you study, you’ll come to understand God’s perspective on timeless issues that impact your life. The carefully chosen Scriptures combined with interesting historical information will challenge and encourage you.

Watch the trailer at:

Purchase the book at: