The Gladiolus and the Dragonfly


I should chop that thing down.

The emerald green of the gladiolus stem was gone. In its place was a dried out, bare stalk. The flowers had withered away, their deep pink beauty just a memory.

The bloom was off the gladiolus, and my glove-covered hands itched to snip, snip.

But, I didn’t.

I’d planted the seed months ago, in the expectant air of spring. A tiny promise in a bag.

My hubby said it would be tall, and it was. God’s amazing design, from nearly invisible in the palm to breathtaking beauty towering over the garden.

Hidden safely away beneath dark soil for weeks, months, the seed finally sprouted then shot up to nearly the same height as my nine-year old.

pink gladiola 7 10 13[1]

The gladiolus flower was gorgeous, well worth the wait. Fuchsia tinted with darker, silken edges, it captured the eye and touched the soul with the lushness of God’s paintbrush.

But in the grip of Florida’s summer heat, the flower faded then shriveled up, as did the stem.

For some reason that day, I didn’t cut down the withered gladiolus stalk.

Weeks passed.

The stalk faded to light brown just outside our kitchen window, its frailty evident when the wind blew and the rain pounded.

I should chop that thing down.

But, I didn’t.

Recently, I glanced out the window to a startling sight. On top of the dried up stalk perched a fuchsia dragonfly, like a king, or queen, surveying its flowery domain.

Its delicate, lacy wings and large compound eyes were perfectly still.


The bright spot of color reminded me of the flowers that once graced the gladiolus stem, and I whispered a prayer of thanks to God for the gift, so close to my window.

See, I have a thing for dragonflies, for their perfectly created gift for flight. They fascinate me, with their acrobatic action and huge, shimmery eyes.

In the days following, the pretty fuchsia dragonfly landed on that dead stalk multiple times.

Insect nap time?

I’m not sure, but how my boys and I delighted in its pink presence throughout the day.

Eventually, another one arrived on the stalk.

Golden and smaller, it also came faithfully, perching atop the stalk and providing a close up view of this fascinating little creature of flight.

And I found myself grateful for that dried up gladiolus stalk. For the reminder of the beauty God brings from the withered away moments in my life.

Wondering, praying, and begging, ‘Please God, what good can come of this?’

~~The difficult, painful months dealing with crippling anxiety.

God’s beauty: Identifying with, understanding, and sympathizing with others–friends, family, sisters in Christ–who’ve dealt with anxiety and depression. Encouraging them.

Best part? I can share that Jesus truly never leaves you or forsakes you.

~~The last six years of impatient waiting and the struggle to trust God’s timing, as I learned to write right in the grace-filled wilderness of this dream He scribbled–with a Sharpie–into my heart.

“Your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.” (1 Cor. 2:5)

God’s Beauty: Walking in faith to the perfect timing of His plans, toward the ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) conference in September, in which one of my unpublished manuscripts finaled. Praying for those who didn’t final, because I’ve been there, many times.

Best part? Whatever the outcome may be, “I’m confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.” (Phil. 1:6)

Life isn’t all pops of bright color and flowery beauty. It’s often dry stalks and bare stems. But God will use those times for His glory, to strengthen our faith, and to bless and encourage those He’s placed in our life.

Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; Shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert. (Isaiah 43:19)


4 thoughts on “The Gladiolus and the Dragonfly

  1. Oh, Kerry, I loved reading this post and plan to share it with several friends who are hurting at the moment. What a perfect analogy (with great description, too). Please know that your Brandon Christian Writers group friends are praying for your story to be the winner at that conference. It’s wonderful and deserves publication.

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