The past month my facebook feed consistently features family after family in fields of bluebonnets. And I love it. Just as the flurry of back to school pictures in August or the Halloween costumes captured in October, this seasonal burst of snapshots of kids crouching down in a sea of blue wildflowers makes me smile.
Why do Texans love bluebonnets?
What’s so special about these slender blue flowers?
What causes families to stop by the side of the road, piling out of their minivan to pose in a patch of bluebonnets?
Looking at a Texas map, you’ll see a small square shape sticking out on the top of our large state. This region is called the Texas Panhandle. I’m not sure why. It’s a rather squatty handle on an odd-shaped pan, but in the middle of the panhandle is where I grew up. Right there in that little square, God paints the biggest most beautiful sunsets you’ll ever see. But He didn’t scatter bluebonnet seeds across those flat rolling plains. Our family doesn’t have photos of me and my younger brother plopped in the middle of a blue field. Because bluebonnets don’t naturally grow in the panhandle.
My husband and I moved to the Austin area right after our March wedding. Just a few weeks later, the iconic bluebonnets I’d always seen in pictures sprang up in a field down the street from our duplex. So what did we do? Like every state-honoring citizen living in the hill country, we traipsed to the perfect patch, knelt down, and captured the moments on film (yes, film).
And we’ve been doing it every year since. Sixteen years and counting.
Why do we love bluebonnets?
Bluebonnets appear year after year
With inconsistent consistency. We don’t know the exact day the slender stems will spring up. We can’t control their arrival, but we do know they’ll come. God reveals this truth every spring as trees blossom and flowers bloom, reminding us of new life. Like nature around us, we experience growth that is ultimately out of our control, most likely different than our timing, and with a reality inconsistent to our desired expectation. But there is growth. Seeds are scattered across the fields of our souls, and we trust the changeless Sower with the timing and placement of his purposeful sprouts of righteousness.
And I am sure that God who began the good work within you will keep right on helping you grow in his grace until his task within you is finally finished on that day when Jesus Christ returns.Philippians 1:6 (TLB)
Bluebonnets are wildflowers
Bluebonnets are wild. They grow without the nurture or cultivation of people. Unlike the high-maintenance diva tribe of orchids, gardenias, and azaleas, bluebonnets simply do not require our care. There is something profoundly pleasing in that.
Something of exquisite simple beauty exists without any human involvement.
In mid-spring as I move through my day, heavy with decisions, duties, and details, my eyes pause to take in the beauty of the scattered blue-topped flowers standing tall in their field. A sight that speaks to my heart.
Am I putting too much weight in controlling this day, my way?
Just as bluebonnets are not contained within the boundaries of a well-manicured garden, my to-do-list should not be confined within my own strength, timing, and expectations. This life of faith is a bit wild.
We serve a God who cannot be contained within the humanness of our minds.
His ways are higher.
His love is limitless.
His grace extends beyond the farthest borders.
When I see a field of bluebonnets, I want to be like that wild and carefree flower who is nurtured and cultivated by God alone.
If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers, most of which are never even seen, don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you?
What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met. Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.Matthew 6:30-34 (MSG)
Bluebonnets point up
On a recent morning walk, I spotted a single bluebonnet standing alone about twenty feet in front of her group. These flowers enjoy a crowd, so it was unusual to see the lone stem without her friends surrounding her. Captivated, I walked up to the flower and admired the intricate design saturated in a deep bluish-purple hue, her height escalating to kiss the air with a pursed white tip.
I’m thankful God made flowers. And not just one type of flower. From my little corner of the world, seeing a variety of blooms in a full palette of hues, each species with an intricate arrangement of blossoms and a unique layering of petals, points me to a Creator who loves beauty and diversity and saturating our world with color.
I will praise you, Lord, among the nations;
I will sing of you among the peoples.
For great is your love, reaching to the heavens;
your faithfulness reaches to the skies.
Be exalted, O God, above the heavens;
let your glory be over all the earth.Psalm 57:9-11 (NIV)
Bluebonnets grow in community
The decision makers of our big Lone Star State chose well. Naming the bluebonnet the official state flower of Texas captures our state identity. Groups of these wildflowers stand together all across the hill country – in parks, along highways, through fields, beside trails, within fence lines, and beyond fence lines. By foot or by car, we see the assemblies of our state flower in places we’ve spotted them before, but also in new communities of growth.
And the sight is beautiful.
Growing in community is beautiful.
When others see a formation of the faithful, comprised of individuals standing beautifully in his or her unique design, they pause and notice.
Most likely, the attractive sight will compel an onlooker to pull over, get out, and kneel down. To experience the beauty first hand.
The Lord is good to everyone; his compassion rests on all he has made.
All you have made will thank you, Lord; the faithful will bless you.
They will speak of the glory of your kingdom and will declare your might,
informing all people of your mighty acts and of the glorious splendor of your kingdom.
Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom; your rule is for all generations.
The Lord is faithful in all his words and gracious in all his actions.Psalm 145:9-13 (CSB)
If you are a fellow Texan, you get it. You get the big deal about bluebonnets.
If you aren’t from Texas, then you probably still don’t get it. You may not care about a blue wildflower. That’s ok too. Bless y’all’s heart.