Written by Ingrid B. Skarstad Williams
I’m not really a “flower person.” I don’t garden. I never studied botany. I don’t recall yearning for bouquets. Roses didn’t send my heart fluttering. Anything beyond basic flowers or dandelions went unidentified most of my life—until a mystery bloom captured my heart and my camera on a sidewalk in South Carolina.
It wasn’t on display. Quite the opposite, actually. Spilling over someone’s concrete barrier of a back yard, the flowers seemed to be celebrating their slow-motion escape with a “Seussical” carnival suspended on vines. I could almost picture the “Whos down in Whoville” climbing on the whimsical explosion of color and taking a spin. I’m not sure how long I lingered with my lens drinking them in. But that moment marked me.
And no one I knew could tell me what it was.
It would be 10 years, many states, and thousands of flower photos later that I would meet the curious blossom again. I was on official business—the delightful business of doing photography for a botanic garden. Had I only been looking at the displays, I would have missed the vibrant purple, raspberry, and lime green carousels beginning to open on the end posts of a bridge. Once again, they seemed almost nonchalant in their fabulous eruptions.
Now I had horticulturalists to quiz and Latin name plates to decipher. Passionflower! The discovery pleased me. I was glad they had an energetic word like “passion” in their name. No wonder I loved this flower! Wild dreams, quirky passions, and brilliant expressions have always piqued my interest. They, like this flower, might seem like a fantasy until it pops up and throws a party along the path of life.
One year later, an amazing thing happened. My life shifted into a new season, and I finally had both the time and energy to tame a bush gone wild in my back yard. Between the teenagers I bribed and my own vengeance unleashed, the branches began a transformation. Vines that had laced themselves into the branches (and my window screens) were unraveled and torn out. The kids wielding clippers morphed the scary bush monster into a coiffed, lopsided silhouette of Kramer’s head (yes, I do mean the character from the sitcom Seinfield).
The long-forgotten “other side” of the bush was now uncovered. More vines traveled along the house, fence, and untended (unwanted!) trees. I was determined to eradicate them all. I ripped up every trail until I realized that with each pull of the viney ropes, strange yellow and green balls were swinging from the branches of rogue trees along the fence. Hmmm! What kind of trees are these?
Thinking I would clear the vines and get a closer look, I continued yanking the stems down. The balls came with them! I stopped to examine my growing pile of twisted green stems and leaves and saw a shriveled puff of faded purple and green. I gasped! PASSIONFLOWERS? IN MY YARD? Clinging to the same vine were the neon spheres. This must be passionfruit! Sure enough, the hidden corner of my yard was in full harvest.
I gathered and Googled—just to make sure I knew what to do with my sudden abundance. What a strange and exotic fruit! The bright yellow skin formed a miniature bowl once it was cut open. Dark, slippery seeds encased in a gel-like suits were slipping and sliding in greenish-clearish slime. The teenagers couldn’t be bribed to taste them when they saw the insides. “Alien brains,” they said. I decided to be the brave one. I slurped it up . . . FANTASTIC! Sweet! Over-the-top delicious!
An adventure like had to be shared! I immediately posted pictures on Facebook and Instagram. An international friend was shocked when she saw them! Passionfruit was common in her homeland of Singapore. She dearly missed it after moving to the U.S., and it was nowhere to be found in our stores. But it was strangely plentiful in my back yard! (Needless to say, I shared my harvest).
That summer, the passionflower vines and their delicious fruit were one of three botanical surprises. Wild chamomile visited my patio. A delicate red cypress vine mysteriously appeared in my planter. Somehow they appeared and graced me with their beauty, wonder, and adventure. I guess I am a flower person after all.
Then again, maybe I enjoy the flowers because they are much like people—each unique with dreams full of life and possibility—when they bloom, they share their beauty, wonder, adventure, and joy with all who draw near.
What’s Blooming in Your Back Yard?
Right now your life may feel like a tangled, overgrown mess much like my yard. But there could be hidden passions coming to life! In fact, I can almost guarantee you have seeds of dreams planted in you that no one has seen yet—maybe not even you! One day you’ll notice something new, clear the chaos, and find fruit ripe and ready for you to taste.
“Taste ye and see, how gracious the Lord is: blessed is the man that trusteth in him” (Ps. 34:8 GNV). “I know the plans I have in mind for you, declares the Lord; they are plans for peace, not disaster, to give you a future filled with hope” (Jer. 29:11 CEB).
Just think what can happen if you discover those hidden passions and then set out to nurture them! Sure it will take hard work. You may have to “clear the land” and make room in your life. You may have to plant new things you want to see grow. You may have to guide and direct the natural gifts and abilities that are already there. It may take time, but if you see something sprouting up, it’s likely that now is the time for it to grow and flourish.
- Seeds (and dreams) are amazing.
A seed can be seemingly dead, dormant for years, and yet when it is buried in the dirt, something amazing happens—life breaks through! An entire blueprint is in that little seed. In the right environment, the blueprint unfolds. A seed will come to life. It will grow. It will produce whatever it was designed to produce.
- Dirt is powerful. (PS. You’re dirt!)
What is it about the soil that makes seeds grow? It can release that hard shell of a seed and nurture that spark of life waiting to be engaged. It makes change happen. Dirt is powerful! And you’re dirt! God made man out of dirt. (In fact, an interesting side note is that “man” and “ground” come from the same Hebrew word! Genesis 2:7 (KJV): “And the LORD God formed man [‘adam] of the dust of the ground [‘adamah].”) We’re dirt! We’re designed to make things grow.
- God’s design is brilliant—trust it.
Did you know that science recently discovered a plant gene that interprets when the environment is optimal for growth and only then allows the seed to begin its transformation? It can remain dormant in the ground for years if the growing conditions are not favorable. In much the same way, God knows the seeds and dreams planted in you. He has designed your destiny to flourish. And He knows the times and seasons for each to unfold. Trust God’s design! It’s brilliant. It’s perfect.
Good Things Are Growing Now!
God has a brilliant blueprint planted in you. At the right time, with the right conditions, God’s plans will unfold and flourish. Trust that brilliance at work in you! I believe God loves to surprise His children with good things. Those good things are growing right now. Other good things are waiting with delight, knowing they will grace your life with a beautiful surprise in the future.
Don’t be discouraged if you have dreams yet to come to fruition. Maybe you’ve planted and nurtured others before yourself (which is a seed in and of itself, and you will receive the benefit of the harvest). Galatians 6:9 (TPT) says, “And don’t allow yourselves to be weary or disheartened in planting good seeds, for the season of reaping the wonderful harvest you’ve planted is coming!”
There are seasons to move through and seasons to come. This moment you are living in right now is precious. It’s your season. Embrace it! A farmer cannot rush the seasons, but can wisely work within them. So to, as you recognize the season you’re in, you can fully embrace it and be ready for the next.
Dear reader, this I pray over you as I wind down my words: May God’s Word grow and dwell in you richly. May the dreams in your heart come to full fruition. May your words and actions be blessed in the season you are in. And may you go forward in full confidence knowing that a great harvest awaits you as you abide in Christ Jesus.
Like that passionflower vine that captured my curiosity, maybe that “bloom” you admire in far away places is finding its way to your back yard. Maybe your hidden passions are becoming noticed. Maybe your dreams are just beginning to be uncovered to you. Or maybe you’re settling into your groove. Whatever season is in your life, I hope you run toward it—arms open wide. You were made for this!