Desert Purple

I used to be a very sad person. Prone to depression most of my teenage and young adult years, I actually tried to kill myself at age 24. This is something I am certainly not proud of, but I can boast in the redeeming power of God in my life that turned my “mourning into dancing,” “my darkness into light.”

I remember waking up in a Psychiatric hospital after a few nightmarish happenings. The events of the previous months were blurry; I just knew I wanted to die. I felt hopeless. My mom sat by my bed with love and steadiness that first night when my world collapsed; she told me that she and dad loved me, no matter what. And I felt their love.

I asked for a Bible the next day. I remember looking at myself in the mirror and thinking I never wanted to comb my hair again.

But I started to read my Bible. Even though I had been raised in a Christian home, where I understood salvation, I never quite understood how to stand against depression or negative thought patterns.

It was a slow, progressive inner healing. I pressed into God and His Word. Hope and light filled my heart and life as I saw myself as God sees me, with a “future and a hope… ” as the Bible says.

That was the darkest wilderness time of my life. And no one got me through that time, except for Jesus. My favorite Scripture during my recovery was from Song of Songs 8:5, “Who is this that comes up from the wilderness leaning on her beloved?”

During that isolated, dark time, I learned the intimacy that God wants with his people in the dry desert places of life. I learned that His love for me was so deep and sweet, and that it satisfied like nothing else. I also learned that he actually leads us into the wilderness, so that we will become stripped of our own abilities, stripped of our dependency on others… fully clinging to him. Yes, even as the Scripture says, “leaning on him” as we heal from our suffering.

That hard experience made me appreciate the real desert… to see the beauty of it… to know that it symbolizes intimacy with my beloved Redeemer, Creator like nothing else.

Desert colors also intrigue me. It is interesting to discover there is a lot of purple in the desert. I had always thought of the wasted, dry places of the earth as being brown, beige, and more brown. But there is purple in the desert. I love the surprise of that… the incongruity of that.

Purple throughout the Scriptures means royalty or wealth. Kings wore purple or rich people who could afford garments that were dyed with expensive additives from sea animals.

Exodus talks about the Tabernacle of Moses that had ten linen curtains dyed purple, blue, and scarlet. There were angels embroidered on them of the same hues. In Acts, the wealthy woman, Lydia, sold purple. There was also the rich man in Luke who wore purple. And in the book of Mark, Jesus himself wore a purple garment when he was mocked and ridiculed before he was crucified.

In dreams, purple means royalty, something heavenly or points to Diety. It has meaning that is supernatural, something beyond here and now. I always pay attention to purple in my dreams and otherwise. Colors have powerful meanings spiritually.

So to find such an abundance of purple in the desert, took my breath away. Who can know all the things God is speaking to us by his artistic, creative paintings left in the plant life of the desert?

But one of the most significant things, I feel for me is that when the Bride of Christ arises from the wilderness experience, she is not recognized by her peers as being the same person. She has been so changed by the love of God in her time of suffering. That is why her friends ask, “Who is this that comes up from the wilderness, leaning on her beloved?”

And that is exactly what happened to me. I emerged from my dry, desert experience in life totally different. In fact, I have never returned to that place again. I have never considered suicide, and I am rarely ever depressed. It has been years. Truly the Lord Jesus has turned my mourning into dancing…

I descended into the desert and tasted of the death and discovered while I was there that in reality “Jesus tasted death for every man.” Now I will not live a life eternally separated from God. My life is just the opposite: I am living in close, even intimate, relationship with the God of the universe. He made me beautiful in the desert. When I was unlovely and undesirable, He desired me.

I also felt like I emerged from the desert place as Christ’s beloved… clothed in purple… and precious to him.

That is why I love desert purple. It points to something higher that takes place when we bow low and walk through the desert… something supernatural… beyond this realm. Desert purple is God’s door of hope that there is something significant, eternal, and lovely beyond the dusty path of death we walk.

25 Comments Add yours

  1. emma Rudolph says:

    Wow, wow, wow!!! This is profound and revealing the innermost depths. I love it. It speaks volumes. I know many will identify. May it touch those who need this word right now in Jesus name. Love you girl. Keep on writing from that vast well of knowledge. It is overflowing all around you.

  2. Bonnie says:


    You know something of the desert and have a lot to write yourself… looking forward to reading it someday…

    Your buddy,

  3. Tara says:

    Reading this now couldn’t have come at a better time for me, Bonnie…thank you for being obedient to the Holy Spirit’s leading, and expressing these truths so well for our benefit 🙂

    Have a blessed vacation!


  4. Bonnie says:


    You are in my thoughts and prayers. May God comfort and direct you.

    You are a blessing,

  5. Beth says:

    Thank you for sharing your testimony. I recently had surgery and the recovery has been slow, but I am emerging from this physical weakness leaning on my Beloved. I have seen the beauty in the wilderness and wouldn’t exchange the experience for anything.


  6. Diana Terry says:

    No wonder the enemy wanted you out of the way, girl! What a threat you were and are in all your awesome writing abilities that continue to lift up the awesome Name of Jesus! I to during my teens knew Jesus but didn’t walk with him daily and the enemy really worked hard at getting me to check out, thank God I didn’t listen to him but clung to God and I to got past that and was healed emotionally in alot of areas of my life.
    Bonnie, Dennis resigned yesterday as director of My Brother’s Keeper. Would you and Wayne please keep us in your prayers. We are not sure the next steps to take and are listening for His direction. The income helped us alot but seems we are going backwards by the worlds standards but we know Our God is in control and much bigger! We want to hear and do the right thing.
    So glad you kept on keeping on and I still LOVE to read your blog. It is just awesome and so refreshing and always seems to meet me where I am. Big hugs and I just sighed when I heard you were on vacation….Dennis and I could use some of that. LOL

  7. D Swhite says:

    As I read this, I realized I am on the edge of coming out of the wilderness. Yes, I am feeling the purple of His love, enveloped and swathed in Him. I see folds and folds of royal purple satins, lavenders of silk and violets of plush velvets. Ah, His love…

  8. Susie says:

    This reminds me of another wonderful verse –

    *Hosea 2:14 – Therefore, behold, I will allure her and bring her into the wilderness, and I will speak tenderly and to her heart.

  9. Gayle says:

    Thanks Bonnie,
    How good is a timely word. Prov 15:23
    And this is very timely for me.

  10. Ginger Morton says:

    I just cried and cried during and after I read this.
    You hit the spot with your beautiful and transparent writing. Thank you, Bonnie.


  11. T. says:

    Bonnie – your picture-words pierce my heart and soul. Thank you, and abundant blessings.

  12. Hannah Briscoe says:

    So beautiful. such truth. Thanks for writing from your heart and reminding me to do the same.

  13. lamar says:

    Beautiful and thought-provoking. Reminded me of the best book ever written on the Wild West, Riders of the Purple Sage. It’s interesting that you wrote about color. That is something God recently spoke to me through someone at church. Check it out on my blog.
    Your writing draws people into God.

  14. Martha says:

    Beautiful and timely for me. Thank you

  15. Wow. Timely. This so ministers to me. I am still in the desert but am looking for the purple purple.

  16. Mom Marjorie says:

    Dearest Bonnie,
    I also wept as I read your story of Purple in the Wilderness. Thank you so much for the great tribute to me. I am so gratefull to learn how our Lord brought you out of that particular winderness. Yes, there is always a door of hope in the valley of Achor. (I’ve forgotten exactly what Achor means–I know it means trouble of great degree.)

    Interesting that you said we are “led” into the wilderness. Jesus was “led” into the wilderness by the Holy Spirit to be tempted of the Devil.

    Yes, colors have deep meaning. I have listened to 11 tapes by John Paul Jackson on dreams. He goes into great detail about color and the different combinations. And what different colors mean in our dreams.

    Your know that Jesus was from heaven (blue) and he was beaten unmercifully (red). Red and blue make purple (royalty).

    I love you much. I will always be grateful for this particular blog. Mom

  17. gnubee says:

    Wow, Bonnie, what a beautiful testimony!

    Praise God that He brings us to a place of brokenness, for there are none that seek Him. And praise Him that He leads us through the darkness to the Light of salvation!

    Thank you, I think I’ll look at the color purple differently from now on.

  18. Amrita Singh says:

    Praise God for that testimony and your renewed transformed life Bonnie.I also struggled with depression even after becoming a Christian, God delivered me out of it in His time.

  19. Terri Lugenheim says:

    Bonnie, Thanks for sharing Frank and I have been in a dessert for about two years. It’s kinda crazy because I am experiencing revival at the same time. We have had 21 water leaks in our home in Fort Worth where we moved from Grand Prairie. We bought this house without having sold our home in GP and we ended up 120,000 in debt we did not have before because it took so long to sell the GP house. Yet we are so blessed and we know that GOD is always in everything working for our good. It has been a dessert place but I am learning that I learn more in the dessert than any other place. GOD is everywhere even in water leaks! So I bless HIS Holy Name!!!!HE is in dessert place asking will we trust HIM?

  20. Dawn Nolen says:

    Bonnie…I feel that I know you so much more after reading this…The words so describe things within my own heart that I have yet been able to identify as result of seasons in the desert…Thanks for your transparency…Love you!

  21. Marc says:

    Thanks for your voice of hope &compassion. I just became a regular on your blog and look forward to finding you waiting on my inbox.

  22. Joan says:

    LOVED this soooo much!!! Thank you…sooo timely for me!

  23. Gary O'Neal says:

    Thanks Bonnie, That was encouraging to me!

  24. This is good news to read smack dab in the middle of the wilderness. It gives me hope. Not only that myself and those I love are not forgotten in the wilderness, but also that we shall come out the other side. I can see us with a purple cloth thrown over our shoulders, leaving on our beloved as we come out.

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