True children

“Chickabiddy” is the name of a charming vine bearing purple flowers. Its proper name is “Asarina Scandens.” Collins English Dictionary gives the definition as “a term of endearment, especially for a child.”

All my plants are my “children” so to speak, but the Chickabiddy is especially dear because it is purple, well-behaved, and the vines are so slender that they don’t weigh down the trellis, and are so easy to clean up after they die.

And they do die. In our zone, it is not winter hardy. It takes a long time to set flowers, although the fragile vines resemble English ivy and are very handsome in their own right.

These two features combine to form a disastrous loss for the gardener who has become enamored with their delicate beauty.

Every spring I search carefully in the garden for new vines, but they take so long to germinate that they often get crowded out by the more vigorous plants. So I usually save some seed to plant during the winter to make sure that they’ll set seeds for next year’s flowers.

This year, those seeds failed to sprout. I looked in vain all spring and summer to see if there were any little volunteers.

It wasn’t until September that I saw, among the sedum a good six feet away from last year’s vines, the telltale ivy-shaped leaves of a tiny baby! MY baby. My “Chickabiddy!”

The poor thing hadn’t had enough time to grow more than eighteen inches, so it has a long way to go before the flowers will appear. With no flowers, there will be no seed. With no seed, no Asarina Scandens. It needed time!

Before the frosts could kill it, I tenderly lifted it, along with a generous ball of soil, and gingerly packed it into a large pot.

It is now out of the worst cold in our garage. The cars, mind you, are out in the elements; but my tender little Asarina is safely sheltered alongside the brugmansias.

It gives me great joy to see that it is still alive! We all feel that way about our “children,” whether it’s an old car, a plant, or actual people.

There is no better example than what we see in the spiritual sense.

“I have no greater joy than this, to hear of my children walking in the truth” (3 John 1:4, NASB).

We recently reconnected with someone who we had not seen for thirty years. A friend sent us a message that Ray was in our area, far from his home, and that he was a faithful member in Colorado.

My husband remembered with a chuckle how this gentleman used to fall asleep during the Jule Miller filmstrips that we used for home Bible studies so long ago. He must have caught up quickly with the workbooks because he surprised us when he responded to the invitation one Sunday morning!

The apostle Paul referred to both Timothy and Titus as his “true child” in a common faith since he taught them both (1 Timothy 1:2, Titus 1:4). Our recent reminder of the faith that lives on in our “children” makes us want to spread the gospel even more!

The Chickabiddy may not survive the winter, or it may not produce flowers or seeds. That would sadden me immensely because it is no longer available from the original seed seller. But it’s surely a joy to know that where the seed of the Kingdom is planted, that it lasts! And it lasts not just in this lifetime, but for eternity.

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Christine (Tina) Berglund

Christine lives in middle Tennessee with her husband Gary, a.k.a. "The Yard Boy." They have served churches in eight states where Gary has preached full-time most of their married lives. The children have flown the nest, but they "baby" their plants now, and even get to visit grandchildren once in a while.

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