Purple Morning Glories and Gold Lady Bugs©
By Sandee Lloyd, 2006
A purple morning-glory
And a Gold Lady Bug
God’s way of sending me
A heavenly hug!
The splash of a raindrop
And the roar of the wind
Sittin’ on my front porch
Watching mighty trees bend
The grace of a dancer
Carried on a melody
A peacock struttin’ with colors spread
For all the world to see
My father loves to see me smile
And I know that He cares
By the lightning bugs twinkling
In the summer evening air
A baby’s funny toothless grin
Fall leaves that whisper in the wind
All these are love letters
Sent straight to me from Him
Just like those purple morning glories and gold ladybugs!
Way back in one of my earlier chapters, I told you about my “Happy Party”. The price of admission was everyone had to bring one thing to make me smile or laugh. My baby cousin Kimbo brought me morning-glory seeds from my grandmother’s purple morning glories that grew every year in her front yard, and the leaves got huge as a baby’s head, the flowers a deep gorgeous purple. It was one of the coolest gifts I think anyone ever thought of giving somebody. Well, I planted those seeds by the back fence, and they came up, but they were rather spindly. The next year I moved them out front where they get the morning sun, and they grew a little better there and have come back each year. This past year I took some of the seeds and dropped them along the north side of the house along the fence line, where I already have jasmine and wisteria, and honeysuckle. They wove themselves in among the other vines and thrived very happily in that spot. The leaves got almost as big as Grandma’s used to, and the purple was the darkest and prettiest I have ever seen it. It even wove up into the Rose of Sharon which is lavender, so it looked really pretty with the dark purple blooms mixed in with the lavender.
Well, a few years ago, when I first moved them out front, I noticed that the leaves all had holes chewed in them. I started lifting the leaves and looking on the underside to see if I could find whatever was eating them. It was one of my dark times. I went out side every day to look at whatever flowers I had blooming, and get some fresh air and sunshine. I was upset that something might kill my morning glories, but then I found what it was. It was gold ladybugs. I mean, gold like 14 k gold, shiny, beautiful lady bugs. They are actually called tortoise beetles, but I didn’t know that yet at the time. I was so excited and so amazed at discovering this beautiful little bug. I am not a bug person. I don’t go around picking them up, but everyone knows ladybugs are a special exception. And these ladybugs were shiny! I picked one up, and while I was holding it, it lost the shine, and turned a pinkish color. When I prodded it, it raised up on legs that were apparently unfold-able, and it looked like a little spaceship. I figured these things, the color change and the rearing up, must have been defense mechanisms. What a curious little critter. I put a bunch of the morning-glory leaves into a jar, and captured about 4 of the bugs, and actually took them to church to share with the ladies in my Sunday School class. And I watch for them every year. A friend at church who home schools her kids, told me they learned about those little guys the previous year. She was the one who told me they are called tortoise beetles, and that they pretty much only eat morning-glory leaves, or at least, that is their favorite food.
But to me, they will always be my gold ladybugs and a special gift that God hid for me among the leaves of Grandma’s morning glories in my front yard. God has often done little special things like that for me. Just to make me know that I’m special to Him. I watch for them now. Because it’s easy to miss those sorts of things.
Even through all of the difficulties, trials, struggles, God has always been there. When we move away from Him, it’s a lot like the little kid who “runs away from home” to the end of the block, and Dad is secretly watching him the whole time. We can’t run away from God. I know now, that all the times I was crying, He was hurting too. He suffered all that I suffered, and so much more, when He was on that cross. Every pain that was caused, all down through history, but evil, by sin, by rebellion, I think He not only suffered the physical pain involved in His death, but the physical pain of the stabbing victim, the abortion pain of the babies whose heads have been crushed in the womb. He suffered in every way any of us has. What love can hold someone on a cross who has all power to come down from that cross? It is unfathomable.
My being wounded, made me sensitive to the hurts and wounds in others. My being sick, made me sympathetic to the suffering of others. My being incapacitated from being able to work as much as I would like to have, allowed my kids to have Mom at home. My being sick, helped shape sons who did not get overly spoiled or indulged, who understand that everything is not all about them. Our struggles and disappointments, drew Garrett and me together in ways smooth sailing could never have done, and having struggle after struggle, taught us to cling to the one unchangeable One, and keep Him as the anchor, the focal point, the center of our life, marriage, and family.
Not being always “able” helped me to stop always trying to be a fixer, and learn how to accept help from others. Not being able to chase down friends I learned that those who conveniently disappeared when I no longer had anything to give, I’m better off without. I got over trying to please people, or worrying what anyone thinks. I got to spend a whole lot of time studying and reading my Bible, and prophecy, and watching the events of these times line up with scripture and meet others who are watching for Jesus to come. I never made it to that mission field as a young girl but God showed me that we are missionaries right where we are. My kids are my mission field. My neighbors are my mission field. We devise our plans, but God directs our steps. We raise our kids the best we know how, and despite our best efforts or our worst mistakes, they turn out to be who they turn out to be, and we can’t take all of the credit and we can only take so much of the blame because they are their own person, and always were, and because God designed them individually, and because they also have a will of their own.
We are incredibly blessed with the two God saw fit to allow us the privilege of parenting, loving, nurturing, and enjoying. We as a family, laugh often. Maybe not often enough, but we make one another laugh. We are good friends.
We have had the privilege of praying over our boys, and with them, of friends who came into our home and shared meals and fellowship, and invited us to theirs. We have lived a modest life in a modest home, with modest things, and it’s been just fine. We have never been without the things we needed. We have always had food, clothes, shelter, medical care, freedom. We have been tremendously blessed to be born in America and to understand what made this nation great was its founding on Biblical principles.
Our kids knew all 4 of their grandparents and one great-grand. They know their aunts and uncles, and cousins, a great-aunt and a few great-uncles, and they also have been blessed with good friendships. Garrett is a good Dad, a good provider, and the kids love their Dad and know He loves them. We get a lot of positive feedback from others about the two of them, but our honest response is that we can’t take the credit, the Lord must have known we couldn’t handle it so he gave us easy ones that came half-raised. Our kids are not mouthy or disrespectful, they aren’t perfect, but they don’t take things for granted, and they do what we ask of them, and they even say thank you once in a while. I look forward to whatever next phase there might be for them. We enjoyed every moment of their childhoods. We got through their adolescent years without a hitch, and thus far the teenage years have been good too. Our kids are funny and I’m fond of saying that we’ll be able to enjoy them even more when the things they say and do are no longer our responsibility. Right now we have to still maintain some semblance of authority. When they cut loose and we are all adults, I imagine it will only get more interesting. I think they’re going to make a couple of good men, should the Lord tarry. We have the same sort of mixed feelings as most people, for their sakes, we understand their desire to grow up and experience the normal life passages for themselves, but we also know that should the Lord catch us all away before then, that new life will be infinitely better than anything that could happen here in this realm.
Life is like pregnancy, when all the labor is through, you come away with something beautiful, and all the pain and sorrow fall away forgotten. I don’t know how much God will speak with us of the things of Earth once we all are Home with Him. I sometimes imagine sitting with Him up there, as I did in my dreams of old, and listening to Him tell what was going on from His perspective, during certain times down here. I look forward to an eternity of newness; of learning and never growing tired of it, of experiencing new things, of being strong and never weary, of fellowship with people I have not even met yet, and those I miss from down here right now. But most of all, I just look forward to finally being with Jesus, and saying “thank you” in person.