Shortly after Alan and I bought our first home and lost our first baby in 1995, I found out I was pregnant with Xavier. When I met Juanita, a neighbor who soon became my best friend, the Burgundy Way community began to feel like home. But as people moved in and out of the neighborhood, some friends drifted apart.
But the Lord placed two prayer warriors on each side of me on Burgundy Way, years before I surrendered my life to Jesus in 2001. Ms. Virginia prayed for my salvation and encouraged me as I struggled in my marriage.
After I started following Jesus, Myriam and her family moved in next door. We prayed together, often in the driveway while our children watched and listened. Sometimes, we’d stand near a blossoming Passion Flower vine that arched over her walkway.
Myriam was the first person who invited me to read the Bible in a year, which forever changed my life and my walk with Christ. She was also the first person to share the story behind the Passion Flower, which became my favorite perennial.
In 2010, I grieved when Alan informed me that we had to move. Working from home as a freelance writer, I struggled to make friends as I settled into the Green Valley community. Our new neighbors were kind, but busy.
One day, I drowned my sorrows in soap subs and sobbing prayers while doing dishes in front of the window that overlooked our back yard. I cried out to God. “Why would you bring me out here, Lord? I have no support. I’m all alone.”
As I wiped tears from my cheeks, a small white butterfly flew in front of the window and flitted toward one of the bushes in our yard.
I grabbed my camera and went outside to capture the reminder of God’s personal attention to details in His creation. God surely heard my prayers and provided assurance of His constant presence.
I was not alone, because God is always with me.
While chasing the butterfly from branch to branch with my camera, I knelt to get a good shot. That’s when I noticed a small splash of purple and white under the shade of a large rock that we’d placed next to the fence.
“It can’t be.”
Oh, but it was!
Tears flowed as I thanked the Lord for the beautiful Passion Flower that had slipped into my yard through a hole in the fence. I called my husband. I called Myriam. I praised God as I posted photos online.
Soon after, that vine climbed up the rock wall and stretched across our entire back fence.
Every year, the Passion Flowers returned . . . each spiraling tendril and brilliantly purple and white blossom became a reminder of what Jesus did on the cross for me.
Each fragrant petal affirmed God as Creator and Sustainer, assuring me of His constant presence and unconditional love for me . . . no matter where He asked me to follow Him.
16th Century Christian Missionaries in South America discovered this beautiful flower. They called it a Passion Flower because its double row of spike-like petals reminded them of the thorns on Christ’s crown. The spiraled tendrils became symbols of the whips used to beat Jesus. The deep purple and white petals, which symbolized royalty, purity, and perfection, came to represent the power of Christ’s resurrection and eternal reign.
Some people have used the passion flower for medicinal purposes, as a sedative that can help with insomnia and minimize anxiety or restlessness.
These uses, though not recommended without a doctor’s supervision, remind me of experiencing complete peace when resting in God’s presence.
Though the priests originally found the Passion Flower in what is now Latin America, this beautiful blossom now flourishes in various colors by gardeners in the warmer regions of North and South America.
Being that we lived in Green Valley, which is a Northern California community known for cooler temperatures and high evening winds, I had no doubt that the vine in my back yard was a loving gift from God.