Faith, Life, Nature

Lessons from a Morning Glory

I giggle even now as I picture myself, still in pajamas, skittering across the kitchen, through the glass-sliders, down the wooden steps, and across the dewy grass, eager to catch the day’s blooms unfurling in the morning light.

Our woven metal fence was a canvas of dappled green, splashed with pink and lavender that captured my imagination from the moment the first trumpet-shaped flower made its debut.

In my neck of the woods, morning glory is an annual vine, lasting for just a single growing season. Its journey from germination to summer’s end moves through a succession of daily bloom cycles that vary from sparse to profuse: with subdued interludes when blooming slows to a near standstill.

Our lives move to a similar cadence—ebbing and flowing between vigor and repose. Circumstances are fleeting. Nothing blooms continuously.

Morning Glory’s appearance in my garden coincided with a significant lull in my life. I was living in a new state far from family and friends and acclimating to my newly-empty nest.

Like being marooned in the doldrums, there was no perceptible movement in my life. I was desperate for direction and strained to hear the Lord’s voice in the overwhelming silence.

Time spent tending her provided respite from the angst I battled in the waiting, but I never anticipated the lessons she would teach me.

LESSON 1: SURRENDER TO REST

He said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a remote place and rest for a while.” Mark 6:31a CSB

A familiar pattern in nature is cycles of activity, punctuated by pauses—languid intervals that go by the names hibernation, estivation, dormancy, and cocooning. The essential attributes they share are decreased activity, conserved energy, and reduced output. In short, REST.

Selah moments are woven into the fabric of creation by design.

Being a woman wired to achieve, I am accustomed to pouring myself into all sorts of undertakings, endeavoring to bring about a worthy outcome. I know how to strive. I am proficient at pushing harder. I know a thing or two about blooming.

Morning Glory knows something else. She is a master of the art of un-blooming.

Beginning around mid-day, her flowers gently collapse into tiny umbrellas, gracefully inviting the setting of the sun.

In the light of day, the garden is a flurry, a wakeful world where plants are occupied with the task of energy production and growth. Day after day, I witnessed Morning Glory stretch each of her petals wide-open and strain to follow the arc of the sun. But in the space between dusk and dawn, she moves to a gentler tempo.

Under the serenity of the stars, Morning Glory is absolved from the demands of the day and tenderly turns her attention to nourishing herself. Her focus shifts from production, flowering, and seeding to restoration and renewal. She understands that even under cover of night, life is moving forward.

As I witnessed her instinctively embrace rest, Morning Glory softly whispered “surrender” to my anxious heart. I began to understand that the Lord was creating a purposeful hush in my life—sacred space to gently draw me into His refreshing presence.

Without sweet Selah moments it is impossible to sustain blooming until summer’s end.

LESSON 2: ANTICIPATE THE DAWN

Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. Philippians 1:6 NIV

Morning Glory does not wait for sunrise to begin flowering. As though anticipating the dawn, she reaches toward the horizon. Her buds are poised to wake with first light.

I marveled at the innate confidence reflected in such a brave step of faith. I found myself asking the Lord to teach me to walk out this dichotomy with such beautiful harmony: to surrender to His rest while actively anticipating as He works out His plan in my life.

If you find yourself in a lull, receive the Selah ordained for you—a gift that will not linger indefinitely.

Relish the quiet as an opportunity to replenish your soul with the Living Water found only in abiding in Him. Draw close to His heart and soak up the light of His presence.

No portion of our journey is lifeless or wasted in the hands of the Redeemer. The God who “never sleeps nor slumbers” is faithfully working even in the pause.

We can trust that new buds are forming in the ‘in-between’. By faith we can actively anticipate the dawn of a new season of blooming.

LESSON 3: DON’T CLING

A time to weep and a time to laugh; a time to mourn and a time to dance. Ecclesiastes 3:4 ESV

Each morning glory flower blooms just once— blossoming in the morning and fading by day’s end. Its beauty is fleeting and must be savored in its time.

Morning glories are encouraged to produce new buds by pinching off old-growth.  As I walked the fence-row pulling withered flowers that were ablaze in vibrant color the day before, I pondered the newness of life promised to those who are followers of Jesus.

Could it be that spiritual growth comes as we allow the Lord to deadhead the past blooms of our life, according to His perfect wisdom?

Watching Morning Glory seize each new day without reservation caused me to consider how much time I squander glancing over my shoulder—lamenting mistakes or reliving past blooms.

I began to purpose to walk in gratitude for every bloom I have been allowed to display in my life, as each is evidence of His grace. If I cling to what has passed, I risk missing the beauty in what is currently flowering.

New beginnings must be embraced, and endings bid adieu. We must release the past to the Lord and prepare to thrive in our next season.

LESSON 4: BLOOM IN THE MOMENT

Morning Glory lives out the essence of carpe diem.  Leaving yesterday behind, she turns her full attention to today. Each of her flowers is ‘best effort’—a splash of splendor that magnifies the Lord.

A single bloom is as pleasing to the Lord as a vine laden with flowers.

He is the Creator of both and delights in His handiwork. Each task He assigns, every ordained ministry moment, each door opened by His hand—single flowers or clusters—deserve my best for His glory.

Resting in Him means trusting the Lord to direct the seasons of our life. From bud to bloom, every step of our journey reflects His love and grace in our life. Whether we are currently blooming in bunches or sparsely, we can choose to embrace the season we are in by faith.

He has made everything beautiful in its time. Ecclesiastes 3:11a ESV

The most important lesson I learned from her is this:

Even in the shadows, without displaying a single bloom, Morning Glory magnifies the Creator by simply being what He created her to be.

Our Father’s love for us is not dependent on how prolifically we bloom. He delights in us regardless of our achievements. We bring Him joy simply by being what He redeemed us to be— His beautiful Beloved.

Originally published in The Rest Issue, IOLA Magazine, Summer 2020

6 thoughts on “Lessons from a Morning Glory”

  1. This is encouraging and uplifting every time I read it. It is clear your writing is inspired and I believe each seed planted will produce a harvest. Keep writing 💕

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Blessings to you my sister. I pray the Lord will continue to give you rest and renewal in this season as you await the ‘sending’. I know you have only begun to plant Kingdom seeds. What a joy to have the privilege of blooming side-by-side as we press into the vine!

      Like

  2. Beautiful parallel of the opening and closing of a morning glory to the way that God also wants us to see howHe directs our lives. No striving but open always to His invitation of His way to unfold within us and then open to the world following His rhythms.

    Liked by 1 person

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