Ivy is one of my favorite plants for many reasons. However, the trait that I find most appealing is its tendency to endure.

You can pull it up by the roots and think it’s gone. But look around a few months later and there it is once more!

Ivy’s roots dig deep.

Its grasp is tenacious.

We must also dig deep and hold fast to God who sustains us that we may overcome our trials and not be overcome by them.

Many times when we feel like we are barely holding on, we are straining to hold on to everything but God. People and things will always fall short of what we really need, but our God is mighty to save, yet not always in the ways we would hope or think.

And then there are times our disappointment arises not because we aren’t holding fast to God, but rather because we expect deliverance from our trials instead of allowing God to fortify us through them.

Our perceived hardships may in fact, facilitate the blessings we desire.

Our personal fires can mold us into the people God intended all along and even burn out a few faults in the process!

One sign of maturity is when we can weather our droughts and storms with the confidence that God is larger than whatever it is that looms over us. When we place our hope in Him instead of ourselves, it is then that we find peace and are blessed.

 We each have a purpose and a race to run that is ours alone.

Some things you may be hoping for or working toward may seem at a standstill.  Yet, don’t dare give up on your dreams!

 If God has given them to you, He can allow them come true.

If you endure.

My ivy grows slowly, yet it continues to grow…

“Indeed we count them blessed who endure. You have heard of the perseverance of Job and seen the end [intended by] the Lord—that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful.” James 5:11

“Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares [us], and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.” Hebrews 12:1 NKJV

By Lilka Finley Raphael

Author, Editor, Gardner, Photographer, Pharmacist


  1. Always love your analogies through your garden and nature that draw us closer to God. I have never grown ivy, but I have always known it to be extremely hardy because of it’s deep roots..
    Pray that me life would follow the example of the ivy!

    Thanks for sharing! 🙂


    Liked by 1 person

  2. Dear Lilka
    Thank you for this encouraging post. I am having to remain patient and persevering with some re-current issues at work. I have struggled in the past and managed to achieve a delicate balance where I was managing. At that time, one manager even described me as tenacious as I persevered with negotiations with them for reasonable adjustments due to a specific leaning difficulty, dyspraxia. Unfortunately my problems related to dyspraxia are little understood, especially in the workplace (Even by myself). Now the situation has changed and I have new Managers. My new managers seem to focus on the stress and anxiety that affects me which is in fact secondary to the primary problem. In my supervision reports, dyspraxia is not even mentioned. So I end up with low confidence and feeling like a basket-case.
    Your post amazes me by its power to uplift and comfort me and hit the spot where it is needed in me. Especially I appreciate the second photograph of the butterfly and your words:
    “Some things you may be hoping for or working toward may seem at a standstill. Yet, don’t dare give up on your dreams!
    If God has given them to you, He can allow them come true.”
    I need to hold onto those thoughts!
    Thank you
    Love and blessings,

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Julia, that butterfly was meant just for you! This post had been scheduled for a week and had totally different photos. I substituted the butterfly just last night because I was prompted to do so. That wasn’t my intention at all so I am very glad the post “spoke” to you. Do hold on and hang in there. I’ve learned God has us in His hand the most when we feel like letting go. So glad you let me know about the butterfly. Now I know why I was up last night instead of in bed where I should have been! 😉 Much peace and love to you, it will all work out.


      1. Dear Lilka,
        The love of God and how He connects us to each other leaves me motionless with awe. I hardly dare write this in case it makes it seem too mundane and prosaic.
        My sister died suddenly and tragically in August 2009 by throwing herself in front of a train. At her funeral a few weeks later, in early September, a butterfly flew up above the altar just as the Minister was saying the Celtic Blessing. I wrote the following poem in response:

        The Butterfly

        As we stepped out of the Church,
        At the end of your funeral,
        We breathed in the fresh scent of pine.

        That endless torrent of grey rain
        Had stopped.

        A butterfly circling
        Above the altar;

        Tears crowded my eyes
        So I failed to see
        The freed spirit of you
        Our sister Cassie
        Making your journey

        Beloved by God
        (And us)
        You had stated
        An act of Love is never wasted.

        Yet make not a bond of Love
        You said,
        Which boldly I read out
        From your poem, Midwinter.

        Can we listen?
        Can we still hear your voice?
        And feel your passionate care
        For all of us here,
        Still living?

        We would be so wise
        To continue to heed those words
        Written by you
        In former times.

        By Julia Coughlan (September 2009)

        Ever since then whenever I see a butterfly I think of my sister with affection and I am more alert and attentive. It has been a much kinder way for me to think of her death and helps me have faith that she is indeed light and free, beloved and with God.

        Recently I have tried to start up an online fellowship group with some of the younger people in our church. I go to a Church, which has a small elderly congregation and so some of us younger ones are in our 50s and 60s. It is taking a little time to get going- we have that general British reserve and are not used to sharing in this way. The topic this month is about how we recognise God’s voice. I have been reflecting on this subject for a few weeks and had come to the conclusion that it is often through other people.

        I have very little time to read blogs at the moment and even less time to write them. I picked your piece at random one evening just before going to bed. When you told me the butterfly was a last minute thought for you, your message spoke even more powerfully. As it made me suddenly realize this is how God speaks to me; this is how I recognise Him. It is through serendipity; a chance word or voice that I could easily miss or pass by; but Something or more likely Someone draws it to my attention. (And as with you, Someone changes your carefully made plans.) Today I realize even more powerfully that your message is a message I need to heed and take to my heart. Thank you for being God’s channel to me.
        Peace and love,

        Liked by 1 person

      2. So glad to hear it Julia! Sometimes I have wondered just why exactly am I writing this blog but you are that reason. I have been touched by others as God uses others to reach us at times when we dare take time to notice or obey that gentle prodding. I took that photo of the butterfly Sunday when I should have been running errands. I prayed for God to order my steps so that my day would be productive. I just love hearing how He answered that prayer just not in a way I could have ever imagined.
        I can most definitely relate to the butterfly, I have a thing with dragonflies and my earthly father who passed away in 2000. So I “get it.” God speaks to me on so many subtle ways through people and things that others would find clueless. Blessings to you! Abide, not strive and let God handle things for you. Peace and love to you. This was so wonderful to find at the end of my day! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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