Waiting for Wisteria

“I am counting on the Lord; yes, I am counting on him. I have put my hope in his word.”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭130:5‬ ‭

I don’t like to brag, but lookee here!


Well, sort of.

I can see that I should start at the beginning from your puzzled looks.

It is wisteria. Wisteria is that gorgeous purple drapey stuff you see in pictures of Italy that climbs all over outdoor cafe pergolas and makes you want to book a ticket with the next travel agent you bump into.

But this wisteria is growing in rather different conditions. It is a variety especially bred for a cold climate. It has to withstand wickedly brutal winter temperatures. It has a truly minuscule growing season – it must break dormancy, grow, develop enough chutzpah to produce precious flower buds, then actually flower, all in the space of the 100 frost free days we get in a year.

It’s a daunting task.

I’ve waited a long time for wisteria.

Five years, to be exact.


Oh, it came close once. One year we had an unusually long fall with lots of sunshine, and the first week of September, there was one bud.

It froze that night so I never got to see it open.

(You can’t make this stuff up.)

This year, there is one precious blossom.

And yeah, it’s pretty. But it’s rather – underwhelming. To be honest, it’s not as advertised. One blossom? After five years?


Not what it’s cracked up to be.

And isn’t that like life?

It’s not exactly as advertised, is it? All those well wishers who told you you could do anything your heart dreamed up – where are they when the dreams end up puny and sad and not as you had envisioned?

You hadn’t planned on that diagnosis. You hadn’t planned on the financial obligations piling up. The vehicle trouble, the anxiety disorder, the wayward child who just never came home.

Here’s the thing.

What exactly were you counting on?

A boss to promote you – but that went to the less deserving person down the hall.

A spouse to love you – and then they betrayed you in the worst possible way.

A long career – and then it got cut short by health issues after that accident.

That white picket fence with the perfect children and the perfect life.

But none of us get a perfect life. That’s just not the promise.

All of the things we count on this side of heaven can let us down. Other people are just that – people, who even with good intentions can do things that harm or damage us. Circumstances can change in the blink of an eye.

So wait a minute, Debbie Downer, you say. Where’s the good in telling me all this? I already knew that life is tough. When do you get to the good part?

This wee wisteria bloom is bringing me an unexpected joy. No, it’s not what I thought it would be. Yes, it took way too long to show up. But if I judge it by what I think it should be, I’ve missed the point.

It has a beauty of its own. And if I have eyes to see and appreciate that, and not compare it to what I dreamed it should be, I might just be able to enjoy it.

It’s only in counting on it to look a certain way that leads to disappointment.

I’ll ask again. What are you counting on?

The psalmist here comes right down to the crux of the matter. I can’t count on anything in this life. Other people may let me down. Circumstances beyond my control may take my health or my home or my possessions or even my capacity to earn a living.

But putting our hope in the Lord – relying on what He says is true, placing His word as a high priority in our life – that is rock solid. It can’t be shaken. It can’t be stolen, or burned up, or misplaced, or forcibly removed.

Life may look different than you imagined.

But it can still have beauty, purpose, and fulfillment – if you stop judging it by what you think it should be, and embrace what it is.

I am counting on the Lord. I am counting on the fact that He says my life has value, wherever I am placed. I am counting on the daily relationship I can build with Him. I am counting on the promise of being with Him forever after this leg of the journey is over.

And that, my friend, is beautiful, however you choose to look at it.

Learn the lesson of the wisteria with me?

Father, this life is fraught with challenges and unforeseen situations and sometimes it doesn’t turn out ‘as advertised’. Remind our hearts that there is still beauty and fulfillment in unexpected places as we trust You and put our hope in Your hands. Teach us to count on You! Amen.

Published by melodylowes

I am actually a bit of a mess. But in the mess, I’m finding security in knowing I am chosen, I am forgiven, and I matter. After uncovering a history of abuse in my past, I have done a lot of healing - and writing is one way I can invite you deeper into your own healing journey! I write devotionals about the complicated thing called life at growing-in-grace.ca, and my poetry is stashed at melodylowes.com. Pull up a chair and a coffee or tea and let's grow together!

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