Nothing speaks of the Father’s loving faithfulness like fields of wildflowers, so it is no surprise that my recent visit to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center surrounded me in a welcoming, vibrant embrace, echoed in the saintly company of daughters and butterflies! My daughters trekked with me at the end of a family visit to Austin, Texas; I have been hoping to visit these grounds since the center opened in 1995. What a day worth waiting for, to see cheery meadows and cherish God’s good news, a day immersed in wildflower gospel!
We had generous weather, a cloudless sky with whisper breezes, to walk the grounds of this flower sanctuary, delighted at every turn opening to gracious, blossom-blessed vistas. The center is a legacy of one of America’s most lovely, unpretentious mothers, First Lady Lady Bird Johnson. Wife of our 36th president, she encouraged the beautification of our nation’s routes and roadways, and by extension, life’s journeys and livelihoods.
Gentle hospitality in meandering paths and clearly marked plant tags awaits visitors, communicating that careful thought has gone into providing a friendly, relaxed, yet eager-to-learn experience for all ages. The butterfly benches, surely a playful joy for children in the Luci and Ian Family Garden, drew teasing smiles from my “big girls,” too!
The Father’s Faithfulness in Flowers
Is there any better way to be reminded of the Father’s devotion and His passion to ensure we have all that we need? The flowers are here to proclaim it; Jesus taught a wildflower gospel, a heart song of affection from the Father. He goaded his followers to surrender fretting at first glimpse of a colorful countryside.
Think of the wild flowers, and how they neither work nor weave. Yet I tell you that Solomon in all his glory was never arrayed like one of these. If God so clothes the grass, which flowers in the field today and is burnt in the stove tomorrow, is he not much more likely to clothe you, you little-faiths? You must not set your heart on what you eat or drink, nor must you live in a state of anxiety. Luke 12:27-29 Phillips
He taught that the flowers’ perennial blooming-gala can be considered a testimony to the Father’s attention and forethought of necessities. I love to read this teaching in multiple translations to let the reality of the Father’s love become strong in heart, relinquishing my place as “struggling one with so many doubts!”
“Think about the lilies. They grow and become beautiful, not because they work hard or strive to clothe themselves. Yet not even Solomon, wearing his kingly garments of splendor, could be compared to a field of lilies. If God can clothe the fields and meadows with grass and flowers, can he not clothe you as well, O struggling one with so many doubts? Luke 12:27-28 TPT
Consider the lilies and wildflowers, how they grow [in the open field]. They neither labor nor spin [wool to make clothing]; yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his glory and splendor dressed himself like one of these. But if this is how God clothes the grass which is in the field today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, how much more will He clothe you? You of little faith! Luke 12:27-28 AMP
This time of year, the Wildflower Center’s fields glow in soft green grasses, glorious golden rod and Maximilian sunflowers. Patches of pale purple Gregg’s mistflower dance with movement—what butterfly magnets these flowers are! However, when Jesus spoke his Words, it is assumed that he gestured towards springtime reds in crown anemones, tulips, and poppies, a “red spring” blossoming that still endears Holy Land residents today.
Fall is the time to plan for spring wildflowers. Read more about creating a succession of Biblical blooms in your garden in “Let Faith Flourish,” a Devotions Blog series on crown anemones, chamomile, tulips, narcissus, lilies, and poppies.
Would There Be a Bible Plant?
Though a living monument to Texas’ native plants, I couldn’t help but wonder, would there be a plant from the pages of the Bible in this extraordinary garden? Could there be a common greenery between these two homelands separated by thousands of miles, millennia, an ocean, and two seas? A resounding Yes! reminding me impishly that with God all things are possible (Matthew 19:26, Mark 10:27).
I spied maidenhair fern, Adiantum capillus-veneris, adorning the cool recesses of handcrafted waterfalls at the center, the same dainty fronds that stay fresh in the rushing waterfall and cooled grottos near En Gedi in Israel, where the Judean wilderness tumbles down rocky terrain to reach the Dead Sea.
“Behold, how fair and handsome you are, my beloved; And so delightful! Our arbor is green and luxuriant. Song of Songs 1:16 AMP
Though demurely hidden in the “green” of this Scripture, maidenhair fern is ascribed by many scholars as the plant implied in these Words. Little tufts of ferns grow in the splash of falling water at the entrance to the Woodland Garden, and the waterfall cascading in the Family Garden.
Grow maidenhair fern in the shady, regularly watered pockets of your garden. This delicate-looking plant is not fragile at all, requiring little care, fertilizer, or complicated cultivation, cold hardy to Zone 5. Find maidenhair fern in the Plant Guide
Let us take this convergence as a moment to praise the Lord for Lady Bird Johnson’s generosity and the gift from our heavenly Father coming through her for our refreshment.
A person who spreads blessings will be enriched. One who gives a refreshing drink will be refreshed. Proverbs 11:25 EHV
But every good endowment that we possess and every complete gift that we have received must come from above, from the Father of all lights, with whom there is never the slightest variation or shadow of inconsistency. James 1:17 Phillips
A person of blessing will be enriched, and he who gives water also will be refreshed. Proverbs 11:25 LEB
Every good gift bestowed, every perfect gift received comes to us from above, courtesy of the Father of lights. He is consistent. He won’t change His mind or play tricks in the shadows. James 1:17 VOICE
What a blessing received as a result of her persevering work! The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, awash in sunlight, splashing with water features, celebrating flowers at every turn, dappled in butterflies’ happy-patter, is a true invitation to linger in the Father’s love.
How do we know we belong to God, to the benevolent Father who is eager to bless his children’s lives? His Son, Jesus Christ, Yeshua, came for our deliverance—Jesus is the One to rescue and return us to our Father, who all along has remembered each of us, counting the hairs on our heads (Luke 12:6-7). Turning to Jesus, welcoming Jesus, accepting His forgiveness, is the simple yet profound move ushering us into God’s family.
When the right time arrived, God sent His Son into this world (born of a woman, subject to the law) to free those who, just like Him, were subject to the law. Ultimately He wanted us all to be adopted as sons and daughters. Because you are now part of God’s family, He sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts; and the Spirit calls out, “Abba, Father.” You no longer have to live as a slave because you are a child of God. Galatians 4:4-7 VOICE
Embracing Jesus transforms us, the ultimate gift, moving us by His Spirit to get to know the Father after all He knows about us, and to cry out for our Father whenever we need Him. Or whenever we want Him— just to sit by His side or walk with Him in His countryside.
Prayer: O Father, thank you for the blessings You put in our lives, like the delight of wildflowers! You caught my attention and captured my heart, O Holy One who created flowers. You value even fleeting moments which make us smile and flutter with joy! How much more do you have in store for us as we live forever with You?! Wildflowers are an invitation to come to You: I accept. May casting cares on You (1 Peter 5:7) become my cherished habit. Thank You for your gracious gifts, too many to realize. Thank you for Lady Bird Johnson and all your people who transform our world with your heavenly gifts.
Read more devotions on flowers in God’s Word for Gardeners Bible, in the Planting series beginning on page a-23
Learn more about planting your own wildflower meadow in Flower Fun in Mini-Meadows, a Book Review of Mini-Meadows, Grow a Little Patch of Colorful Flowers Anywhere Around Your Yard by Mike Lizotte
The Devotions Blog dedicates a series to “flowers of the field” in Let Faith Flourish, a deeper dig into Scripture’s spring wildflowers and how to grow them in your own garden. Also Solomon’s Splendor is filled with garden design ideas
Check out the Plant Guide for growing information on “Flowers of the Field,” the Bible’s wildflowers, and maidenhair fern
Photo Credits: ©2021 Shelley S. Cramm, with special thanks to Emma Cramm’s butterfly in Gregg’s mistflower, Conoclinium greggi
AMP notes Scripture quotations taken from the Amplified® Bible, Copyright © 2015 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. www.Lockman.org
EHV notes Scripture quotations taken from The Holy Bible, Evangelical Heritage Version® , EHV®, © 2019 Wartburg Project, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
LEB denotes Scripture quotations taken from the Lexham English Bible. Copyright 2012 Logos Bible Software. Lexham is a registered trademark of Logos Bible Software.
MSG or The Message denotes Scripture quotations taken from THE MESSAGE, copyright © 1993, 2002, 2018 by Eugene H. Peterson. Used by permission of NavPress. All rights reserved. Represented by Tyndale House Publishers, a Division of Tyndale House Ministries.
Phillips denotes Scripture quotations taken from The New Testament in Modern English by J.B Phillips copyright © 1960, 1972 J. B. Phillips. Administered by The Archbishops’ Council of the Church of England. Used by Permission.
TPT denotes Scripture quotations taken from The Passion Translation®. Copyright © 2017, 2018 by Passion & Fire Ministries, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. ThePassionTranslation.com
VOICE denotes Scripture quotations taken from The Voice™. Copyright © 2012 by Ecclesia Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Oh sweet lady how I wish I was there to walk through this garden with you as it sounds absolutely heavenly. the song that come to mind is “In the Garden” which is a favorite of mine. I can imagine how you must have felt walking with your girls knowing that God was right there with as you walked through this beautiful garden. I will definitely put this on my bucket list and maybe someday I will be able to walk through this beautiful garden of wildflowers with the butterflies flying all around me.