Abiding with Jesus

The Secret of a Seed {When You Struggle to Make Sense of Your Season}

In May, the kids and I stuck sunflower seeds into the dirt. We watered and prayed for sun and watched them take root and begin to grow thick stems and lush leaves. It’s August now and they are almost ready to explode in giant, bright yellow blooms. I know because I’ve been checking every day on my tippy toes and thinking to myself, “Hurry up and bloom already!”

What I didn’t realize back in May was that we’d be moving to America and we wouldn’t get to see our seeds come into all their fullness. The final result would remain a secret to us.


The exact color and length of their petals the way they look perched perfectly on the stem, I’ll never know. I’ll never get to enjoy looking out my windows observing how the flowers gracefully follow the sun or how the bees buzz happily around them.

I keep hoping that by some miracle they will open up overnight and we will wake up to witness them dancing in their radiance.

But alas, our time here is coming to a close in two days, and I can tell by looking at them… they aren’t quite ready yet.

And neither am I.


In the words of a friend, I’ve been “sowing seeds into the wind of His spirit.” Much of it feels pointless and empty.

Where are these seeds going? Into the soil, below the surface, burrowing into the unseen and unknown parts of the earth.

What will they become? I get a glimpse on the package, but what they will look like to actually touch and smell is beyond me.

We plant seeds in obscurity, into the darkness. We sprinkle what resembles tiny flecks over the ground. Through dirt, water, and sunlight, they grow quietly and slowly into the tangible fragrance and color of life.

It’s a mystery how it all works. But it does. What’s more crazy is this- packed into a seed the power to save me and you.

Jesus said, “Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.” {Matthew 10:39}

Death is never the end of the story, it’s only the beginning.

“I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat is planted in the soil and dies, it remains alone. But its death will produce many new kernels–a plentiful harvest of new lives.” John 12:24


I had plans when we first arrived in Maastricht two years ago. I would do whatever I could to impact lives, influence people, lead others to Jesus, and ultimately point them to the source of abundant life.

But little did I know God’s agenda read differently, it said this:  

She will throw seed around like crazy and it the method will feel messy to her.

She will fling far and wide and across all the paths she crosses, it will seem haphazard and meaningless.

She will plant seed diligently, daily, and unknowingly in her own home.

She will sow without understanding and soak the ground with her tears.

She will learn to be happy as a farmer instead of a full-time minister.

I’ve spent too much time wondering and wandering around looking for the results. The final flowering. The explosion of life I had in mind.

I never found it.

Instead I found semi-grown sunflowers, handfuls of leftover seeds, and dirt in my nails.

I was going to leave these two years behind me, stack them up as learning experience, and summarize it as a challenging season. {For more ways than I can share right now, the past few years were not what I expected.}

Instead I’m tucking this time in the pocket of my heart because it was here that God placed in my hands the secret to abundant life – the life I so crave for myself and for others.



It lies within a seed, wrapped up and invisible to the naked eye.

I pat my hands across the front of my pants and smile through the tears. I’m becoming a farmer now.

The growing flowers, the fragile seeds I’m holding, the dirt under my nails, it’s all proof.

Proof that seeds save lives. Mine included.

When you and I choose to plant instead of produce, aim for resting in obscurity instead of obtaining quick results, and settle into smallness instead of reaching out for the spotlight. We feel like we are dying  invisible, and insignificant at times.

But we are more alive than we’ve ever been.

A seed has everything it needs on the inside to become what it will be on the outside.
Emily Freeman

We can confidently stay in the mystery of this kind life, sit in the silence of seasons like this, and stare at sunflowers that haven’t bloomed with delight because we understand the secret of a seed.

Although we may never see the results we hope for, or know the impact we make, we may never understand why God does what He does in our lives or we may wait longer than we want, but we can smile because we are happy as a farmer, throwing seeds around like crazy.

I’ve come to realize, I am that sunflower, who I am and what I do…a seed.

And this is abundant life.


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