The Broken Seed

The Broken Seed

By Mary Southerland


Psalm 42:11 “Why am I so sad?  Why am I so upset?  I should put my hope in God.  I should keep praising Him, my Savior and my God (ICB).”

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.

My son, bless his heart, has tried to…

The Broken Seed

…rescue wilted flower after crispy plant from his mother’s clutches.  Like his father, every tree or flower planted by Jered has died.  

But there is hope!  My 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 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.  As I pulled up, Danna hopped into the car, gave a huge sigh of satisfaction and stretched out her tiny hand, proudly displaying the amazing 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’m gonna plant them and they are gonna grow. Can you believe it?”

Given my morbid experience with seeds, I declined to answer that question, but instead chose to join my daughter in her excitement – until I saw them.  Evidently, Danna had been carrying the seeds 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 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 our 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 ran back outside 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 faithless question, Danna stuffed the broken seeds down into the cup, marched to the kitchen sink and, placing the cup under the faucet, 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, she placed her soggy cup of broken, mismatched seeds on the kitchen window sill 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.

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 neat, Mom.  I knew they would,” came her calm response as 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.  

You may be hopeless, 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.  Nothing you do can change that reality so you might as well give up, throwing your life away.
Nothing could be further from the truth, my friend. 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.




profileMary Southerland is an author, international speaker, Founder of Journey Ministry, and Co-founder of Girlfriends in God. Her books include, Hope in the Midst of DepressionSandpaper People, Escaping the Stress TrapExperiencing God’s Power in Your Ministry, Trusting God and Knowing God by Name.
 Mary’s heart passion is to help women discover and live out their God-shaped identity and purpose in life. Connect with her on her websiteFacebook, and Twitter!

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