Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Life Lessons from Lupines

My mom and I went on our annual outing to see the lupines this past weekend - and while each year brings another wonderful experience, this year was especially marvelous! You see, that first year we heard about the lupine patches growing on Bald Hills (see info about the area at the bottom of this NPS Scenic Drives page), we excitedly took the drive and eventually, after rounding a corner, were astounded by what my mom calls the "carpets" of purple. It looked a little something like this (taken this past weekend):

But every return visit since then, we've been a tad bit disappointed. The lupines were still beautiful and still blooming, but nowhere near the way they had that first year. And then my mom heard online that this year would be different.

I was skeptical. I mean, we always hoped each year would be like the first - that this would be the visit when we'd once again be blown away. But as each new spring came, it didn't happen, and I was afraid to get too eager for something that might never come to pass again.

Still, as we got closer to our destination this past Saturday, we noticed that more lupines were blooming along the sides of the road than in recent years. Just little patches, but I began to think that maybe, just maybe, this year really would be better.

And we rounded the corner, and there they were... The purple carpets. The "royal waterfall," as I referred to them in Bleeding Heart. Maybe my mind didn't explode right away with the wonder of it like that very first time, but as we drove near the patches and finally got out of the car to take pictures and walk among the blooms, I was thrilled by the volume - the grandeur that I had been so hoping to see every time we returned.

My mom explained to me the probable cause of it - and it struck me as a lesson very pertinent to this season of my life.

Life Lesson: In order to see growth and multiplied blessings, sometimes you have to go through fire and seasons of waiting.

I suppose this isn't overly profound (in the sense that it's a very commonly heard saying), but it struck me afresh on this outing. My mom noted that they had burned the area a couple/few years back, I believe. So we experienced years of less blooms. And the disappointment grew with each passing year that demonstrated little change. But the fire, the tending, the time - all contributed to making this year more spectacular than ever, fulfilling a long-held hope.

Life Lesson: Blessings do come, and true hope won't end up disappointed.

I won't say that things like blossoming lupines will always come to pass at some point. I guess what I am saying is this experience reminded me that God does abundantly bless us, care for us, and bring about His good purpose in His right time.

We glory in tribulation also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope: and hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.
 Romans 5:3-5

Life Lesson: The magnitude of a blessing - whether seemingly "big" or "small" - doesn't change the fact that it's a blessing.

I currently feel like I'm at a crossroads, where a huge dream lies just beyond my grasp, and the alternative scares me because it feels "less" and unimportant and monotonous. I'm afraid to hope - to open myself up to being badly crushed. And I'm afraid not to hope - to face new seasons of fire and waiting without knowing when they might end. I have no idea if this next step is going to be a time of glorious blooming or a time of continued preparation. Perhaps I shouldn't make those two ideas mutually exclusive, though. Because, as the last few very enjoyable lupine outings have reminded me, the number of the blooms (or lack thereof) couldn't take away the joy of the experience unless I let it.

My mom and I were unexpectedly blessed this year with the purple carpets we had so longed to see. I'm grateful for the reminder that trials that bring growth eventually bring rewards. And I'm thankful for the fact that God is merciful and loving, blessing us in all sorts of ways - even in something so "small" as a day among the lupines.


Cindy V said...

Love it, Amber!! What a beautiful post!! And what a great day to go visit the Lupines! Your life lesson #1 is my favorite -- yes, sometimes you have to go through the fire, and lots of trials and tribulations, to get where you're going. But soooo worth it in the end!

The photos are so pretty -- how inspiring to wander through a field of wildflowers!

Juju at Tales of Whimsy.com said...

That picture of you is AWESOME! You should SO make it your header and Twitter header.

I love this post. I know exactly what you mean. Sometimes we have to go through the bad to come out more beautiful than ever.

Cathy said...

Enjoyed your post today Amber! Lovely photos and insights.

God really does make beautiful things in His time and it's always worth the wait with Him. : )

Amber Stokes said...


Thank you so much, dear friend! It really was a wonderful day to see the lupines. Even though my mom hopes to go again when it's a tad bit warmer, it was lovely to see the picturesque clouds and the wind through the flowers. :)

Yes, that life lesson #1 is what really hit home for me when I thought about how the burning had finally, eventually, brought us to this point when the lupines grew back more abundant than before. :) Thank you for reading and checking out the pics!


Amber Stokes said...


Aww, thank you! When I saw others do it, I just had to make the little trek up the hill to that outcropping - perfect spot for a pic, which my mom took. :) I'll have to keep your suggestion in mind!

So glad you liked the post and that it resonated with you! So good to see you here. :) I appreciate you stopping by!


Amber Stokes said...


Yay! I'm happy to hear that, and I appreciate you taking the time to read it. :)

So true about God making beautiful things - in His timing. And yes, the outcome is always worth the wait. :) Oh, for more faith to hold that truth close during the seasons of waiting!


serena said...

Beautiful--the photos and the lessons--thanks for sharing! And may God bless you with hope for what is to come and peace with where you are (two things I struggle with myself, as I often feel like I'm in an in-between place).

Amber Stokes said...


So nice to meet you! Thank you for the kind and understanding words. :) I'm happy you enjoyed the post - and I'm glad I'm not alone in the struggle to balance both hope and peace in the "in between" places.

God bless you, as well!