March 6, 2014
The Power of One Broken Seed
The sacrifice you want is a broken spirit. A broken and repentant heart, O God, you will not despise (Psalm 51:17, NLT).
Friend to Friend
I am famous for my “brown thumb.” Even though we have moved several times over the years, changing climates, states, neighborhoods and soil conditions, nothing has altered the fact that if I touch any living plant, its chances for survival are slim. My husband has fared no better in his numerous attempts to plant trees and flowers. I fear that the “brown thumb” disease is contagious. There is more. I see undeniable evidence that this gardening malady is hereditary. Our son, bless his heart, has tried to rescue wilted flower after crispy plant from his mother’s clutches. But there is hope! Our daughter, Danna, is not only able to keep living plants alive for an impressive amount of time, she can plant seeds and green things will actually grow! It is absolutely amazing to me!
When Danna was in kindergarten she had a very creative science teacher, Miss Kay, who constantly planned fun activities and projects for the children. Danna loved her and was always talking about what she learned in science class. One day, as I waited for Danna in the carpool line, I spotted her standing by Miss Kay, grinning from ear to ear, jumping up and down as if she simply could not wait for me to get there. I pulled up, Danna hopped into the car, gave a huge sigh of satisfaction and stretched out her tiny hand, proudly displaying the reason for her enthusiasm - a wadded up paper towel.
Now I am normally very good at being excited about the things my kids find important but, for the life of me, I could not fathom why Danna would be so thrilled with a crumpled paper towel. “Honey, what is that?” I asked. She looked up at me with sparkling brown eyes and whispered, “Mom, there are seeds in here. Miss Kay gave them to me, and I am going to plant them, and they are going to grow. Can you believe it?”
Given my morbid experience with seeds, I declined to answer that question and chose to join my daughter in her excitement – until I saw the seeds. Evidently, Danna had been carrying them around all day because when she carefully unfolded the paper towel, all I could see was a big mess of broken, mismatched, crushed and crumbled seeds. Looking into the eager eyes of my daughter I said, “Honey, if these seeds don’t grow for some reason, remember that we can go to the store and buy some new ones.” Clutching the seeds tightly to her heart and safely out of my reach, Danna said, “Mama, they have to grow ‘cause I prayed and asked God to please make them grow and He said He would!” I began planning a trip to the gardening center.
Danna was silent all the way home but when we pulled into our driveway, she jumped out of the car and darted into the house, leaving her doubting mother behind. Moments later Danna reappeared with a small paper cup in her hand. I watched as she scooped up dirt from the front flowerbed and marched confidently back into the house. I followed her, moaning my silent complaint, “Father, do you realize that your reputation is on the line here? Why did she have to pick that particular flower bed, the one we filled with decorative rocks because nothing, not even weeds, would grow there?” Once again I tried to reason with Danna. “Honey, why don’t we just buy some new seeds?” Ignoring my obvious lack of faith, Danna stuffed the broken seeds down into the cup, marched to the kitchen sink, placed the cup under the faucet, and turned the water on full blast. Just as fast as the seeds and dirt spilled over the edge of the cup into the sink, Danna scooped them up and poked them back in, all the way to the bottom of the cup so they could not escape.
“Miss Kay says that they have to have sunshine to grow.” With this announcement, Danna placed her soggy cup of broken, mismatched seeds on the kitchen windowsill that looks out over our screened-in porch; a place purposely designed to receive no sunlight at all. By this time, I knew my words were falling on deaf ears and decided to let God handle this one on His own.
Several days later, I was standing at the kitchen sink preparing dinner, when I glanced out on the porch to see my daughter’s faith on spectacular display. A small paper cup filled with green sprouts confronted my doubting heart. I could not believe my eyes. Dropping the potatoes in the sink, I literally ran to Danna’s room shouting, “Danna! Danna! Your seeds are growing!” I found her calmly playing “Chutes and Ladders” with Danielle, her best friend. “Danna! Did you hear me? Your seeds are growing!” A brief glance and knowing smile from Danna said it all. “That is so neat, Mom. I knew they would.” She and Danielle resumed their game, leaving me to gaze in awe and wonder at the faith of my child who dared to believe in a broken dream.
I know you are desperately clinging to the broken and mismatched remnants of your life, wondering how you can go on. Whispers of the enemy creep into your heart, soul and mind, taunting you with the lie that you are just too dirty and broken for God to love or use. It seems as if nothing and no one can change that reality, so you might as well give up, throwing your life away.
Nothing could be further from the truth, girlfriend. In fact, God is drawn to broken people, choosing the most broken to do His highest work. His light shines best through broken people. Never underestimate the power of one, tiny broken seed. Placed in the right hands, it will surely grow into an expression of His beauty for all to see.
Father, I come to You, broken and desperate for Your love and grace. Please heal the broken places in my life. I surrender my hurt and pain to You and ask You to transform it all into something beautiful that glorifies You. I choose to trust You – not my feelings or human understanding. I choose to walk by faith and not by sight.
In Jesus’ name,
Now It’s Your Turn
If you really want God to change your life and teach you how to embrace your pain, you must be willing to make several choices:
- I choose faith over doubt.
- I choose to believe God’s Word over man’s wisdom or logic.
- I choose to stand firm and trust God when the storms of life come.
- I choose to count on God’s holiness and perfect plan for my life instead of my effort.
More from the Girlfriends
Women are amazing! Every day, we receive e-mails from women who are facing seemingly impossible circumstances, and yet choose to believe and cry out to God. Doesn’t sound like enough, does it? It is. No matter where you are, God is with you…and so are we. For more help, check out my book, Escaping the Stress Trap, to discover 9 practical ways to overcome overload. Looking for a Bible Study? Be sure to check out my E-Book Bible Study, Strength for the Storm.
Need help learning how to study the Bible? Check out Mary’s weekly online Bible study, Light for the Journey. The current topic is How to Tame Your Tongue. And be sure to connect with Mary on Facebook or through email.
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Originally published Thursday, 06 March 2014.