She waited and searched for the perfect gift. It left me speechless. When Shelley (my good friend and walking buddy) presented it to me for a belated birthday wish, I was enamored. Totally unaware of its existence before, I thought it was the most beautiful flowering plant I had ever seen. It’s name was Mandevilla. “It” soon became “she” as I watched her tendrils delicately wrap around the lattice each day. I found myself talking to her, as I guided a few wimpy vines back to their supporting base. I hoped no one heard me. How had I become one of those obsessive plant lovers who coddled green foliage? But Mandevilla won my heart because she never stopped producing her lovely pink petals. From spring to late fall, she never gave up, climbing the trellis so gently determined to display her glory. She endured the heat and storms, gracing the brick wall of our deck with splashes of vibrant color.
Not gifted with a green thumb, I was thrilled to own Mandevilla. She didn’t need a lot of attention, other than what the watering can and a little guidance from my hand provided. Occasionally, new little vines straggled limply out of place. But for the most part, Mandeville got her strength from clinging. It was her secret for prosperity. She was so determined to cling that I couldn’t even undo a tendril from the base. She would promptly resist and cling back in the direction she was originally going. It was as if she knew what she was doing. So I let her cling.
This has been the third summer Mandevilla has come to grace our home. In fact, our new back porch is now adorned with three of them. Triplets! Today the ladies taught me a spiritual lesson. It’s been right in front of me every summer but today it became clear. The secret to beauty and bounty is in the clinging. Jesus taught that principle in John 15:5.
I am the vine; you are the branches.
If you remain in me and I in you,
you will bear much fruit;
apart from me you can do nothing.
So each day Mandevilla reminds me to cling as well. There are days I can be like those new little shoots popping out from the plant, longing to be independent and going it on my own…being wise in my own eyes, but just as Mandevilla wraps her tendrils around the spindles of her support system, I must wrap my heart, soul and mind around the voice of truth. It’s the key to abundant life in Christ.
Today, I’m thankful for the tender wooing of the Holy Spirit who pulls me back to the truth. I cannot live without Him.
Stay attached. Grow in the Vine. Cling.
There’s beauty in clinging. I’ve seen it firsthand in Mandevilla. God’s beautiful creation has shown me that to love the Lord, obey His voice and cling to Him truly is the way to abundant life and length of days. (Deuteronomy 30:20).
To whom or what are you clinging today?
I hope you’ll remember that Mandevilla’s secret to beauty and bounty is in the clinging! It’s yours, too.