The Power of the Slithering Vine–in Gardens, Story, and Soul

Informal Dinnerplate Dahlia

Growing flowers is a hobby I share with my husband. Our penchant for dahlias has given us many hours in the garden together—weeding, tying, and dead-heading the plants. We cultivate everything from pompoms and spidery blooms to dinnerplate size, from the formal to the informal, and everything in between.

 But despite all our efforts a villain resides in our garden—a force that sneaks around, hides, and climbs the towering stalks of our flowers—the creeping vine known as Morning Glory. In its place Morning Glory makes a thick ground cover. The trailing plant likes to slither along the ground, wrapping itself around corners, crawling up unsuspecting plant trunks. Left to its own devices, the clinging nuisance can destroy a month’s worth of cultivation in a couple of days. Its viselike grip wraps around tender shoots, pulling the delicate bloom to the ground.

Formal standard dahlia

Writers use similar techniques to deepen a story. Unlike the gardener who seeks to eradicate the intruder, the author invites the menacing thread to weave through the main theme of a novel, wrapping deadly fingers of suspense around every scene. The reader turns the pages, anxious to uncover the mystery threatening the hero. The author leads the booklover on, careful to keep the hidden details secret until the “Aha” moment arrives. Then, like a gardener with a trowel, the author exposes the rogue by its roots, the surprise is revealed, and the character changes, ready to bloom—like my flowers.

Miniature Pompom

Sin in our spiritual walks entrap us like a slinking weed. Untended, sin tells us lies, creeping along in the background, popping up in our speech, wrapping itself around our innocence. Like a tender shoot we become entangled, caught in the web sin weaves, pulled down by its weight on our souls. Through the sacrifice of His only son, God reaches down and frees us, unwraps the claim sin makes upon us, and brings us into the light. In His care, we bloom where He plants us.

1 John 1:6-7 “If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.”

Tend the garden of your soul as carefully as you tend the flowers in your life.


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