plant these words

The day before Christmas break, my son’s second grade teacher gave him a small gift with a hand-written note.

She told him what a “joy” he is and how she loves his “heart of gold”.

“Don’t ever give up,” she wrote in her green felt-tip marker.

Four simple words that might not mean much to another 8-year-old. But my son’s teacher recognizes that he has to put forth a lot more effort everyday than most of the kids in his class to accomplish the same task. The answers don’t always come easily. His hand-writing takes extra concentration. Reading is a little slower.

He read the note several times and then hid it in his room.

This young teacher is wise beyond her years. She understands the power of words.

How words can penetrate deep into a child’s mind. How encouragement can grow there and convince a young heart he can do things he never dreamed possible. How those words are like seeds thrown into one’s brain where they will take root and grow.

I’ve been needing some seeds like that a bit lately, I’ll admit.

My brain and heart seem to need constant gardening to keep things growing in a positive direction. When I get distracted or forget to focus on what is good and positive and true, the weeds start creeping up. They have deep roots that wrap their tentacles around my heart. And then they start to squeeze.

I can hear their lies:

Not good enough.

I’ve actually worked really hard the past few years to pull and tug. To chop and burn. To eliminate those weeds from my life. But they remind me of the Lamb’s Ear in our backyard.

We have pulled it up several times. But if we leave some roots below the surface, it keeps coming back. It sends out its shoots under the ground and unexpectedly, it sprouts in a new location.

It’s kind of pretty. It feels nice and soft to the touch. And it even grows a pretty purple flower in the summer. It covers up the bare spots in the landscape. It makes a great groundcover.

But truly. It’s a weed. Without attention, it will take over the whole yard. It will overgrow every other plant. It will strangle the lawn. Shadow the flowers and even cover the bushes.

Kind of like those words in my heart. In a way, it’s comfortable to keep them there. As an excuse for why I haven’t changed. As a reason I can’t do better. I can choose to let my mind focus on them and believe that they are true. I can stop trying. Believe their lies. Give up.

I’ve been working on my New Year’s resolutions and this one will be my priority: With God’s help, I’m going to do some gardening this year. And I know it could hurt pulling out those roots.

But I’ll be looking for opportunities to sprinkle out the seeds of some beautiful flowers along the way.

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  1. You are good! I love how your blogs stop & make me think! Thanks!I might not always post a comment but I lurk here often! You used to know that but you took off that tracking thing… I'm the North Battleford Saskatchewan lurker…(also a Discovery Toy person too)Have a great day!Laurel

  2. Hi Laurel,Thanks for your encouragement! I appreciate it!It’s OK to lurk, but I’m glad when you leave a comment, too. I have several blogs where I’m just a lurker. You will feel like you’ve known me forever when we finally meet! Will you be in Acapulco or Denver for convention?I think my traffic went up significantly when I got rid of Feedjit. I think it might have been scaring people! =]

  3. Hi again… I won't be in Acapulco but have already registered for Denver – I did that shortly after New Orleans (to get in on the deal!) Anyway, I will be in Puerto Rico for sure!! (I joined in fall 2006 and have finally decided it's time to get more consistent & get going!!)Have fun in Acapulco!!

  4. *sniff* This post really, really touched me! Isn’t it amazing how it is sometimes easier to let the weeds grow, rather than work to get rid of them? And you know me, I’m am not a big fan of work. But, after having read this and having my heart torn out aching for your boy, I have come away with a renewed awareness of the weeds and how beautiful life is once the weeds are “pulled” from my life! Thanks Em!

  5. Lynn – I’m glad I could encourage you. That’s making me feel better already. =] I know for me, it can almost be “fun” (scraping a scab kind of fun) to focus on the negative things people have told me in life. But you are right! Getting rid of those lies can bring so much freedom!Laurel – We probably met in New Orleans, then? Convention is sometimes a blur with all of the people. I’m glad I’ll get to meet you in Denver!

  6. Hi again Emily! I’m not sure if we officially met or not, I don’t think so… I was actually in Oakland too – my first convention in my first year… it was fun too!! You’ve been doing very well in the company the past couple of years so the rest of us all know who you are but we (or at least me) have the benefit of anonymity! (at least for now!)Anyway, I look forward to meeting you too!Have a fabulous weekend!Laurel

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