God in the Weeds

August 22, 2009 | 15 comments

The sunflowers are back, yellowing ditches and cornfield borders and the south edge of the barn. I used to find sunflowers a nuisance, honestly. But that was before my little Anna found beauty in the weeds. That was before she pinpointed God in the sunflower patches.

A reprint of a 2008 blog post:

My preschooler, Anna, helped me see God this week in an unexpected place — amidst the weeds. The ditches along my country roads are filled with towering sunflowers this time of year.

The sunflowers have made their way into my landscaping, and along our dusty driveway. I pay little attention to them, except to pluck them when they shoot up between my rose bushes. I spray them with weed-killer when they try to steal the spotlight from my Russian sage. They are, after all, weeds.

I looked out my kitchen window this morning, and I saw a clump of them standing clumsily by the shed.

I want to kill them. Anna wants to pick them.

I see weeds. Anna sees beauty.

I see an annoyance. Anna sees the handiwork of God.

It brings to mind the verses from 1 Kings 19, where God tells Elijah to go stand on the mountain, “for the LORD is about to pass by.” A powerful wind tore through the mountains, but the LORD was not in the wind. An earthquake shook the ground, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake, came a fire. But the LORD was not in the fire.

After the fire came a gentle whisper.

And that’s where God showed up — in the form of a small, still voice. Not in the howling wind. Not in the earthquake. Not in the fire.

In the whisper.

This week, He showed up again, this time in the sunflower patches, while I was busy looking for Him in the steeples. My four-year-old daughter showed me how to see Him there.

“Mommy,” she said from the back seat as I steered the van past clumps of sunflowers growing in the ditch. “Let’s pick those flowers.”

I say nothing. These are weeds, after all.

“Mommy? Can we?”

“Oh, honey, those old weeds?” I respond.

“They aren’t weeds. They’re pretty flowers, Mommy! I want to take some to that place where Daddy’s Grandpa is.”

Grandpa Milo died in 2005 and is buried in the cemetery east of town. Funny, how Anna would think to take flowers to a grave of a grandfather she never knew.

Grandpa Milo died when Anna was still a baby. On the morning he died, I carried her into the nursing home on my hip. At age 95, Grandpa was the oldest of the Lee family. At age 10 months, Anna was the youngest.

“Mommy? Pleeeeeeease?” begs the four-year-old in the back seat.

“Maybe this afternoon, OK? But, Anna, Great-Grandpa’s not actually in the cemetery, you know. He’s in Heaven.”

“I know that, silly Mommy. But I want to take him some of the flowers. Can we, Mommy?”

“Sure, Anna,” I answer. “We’ll do that.”

I won’t miss hearing God speaking this time. Anna and I will go to the backyard this afternoon. We’ll pick the blooms off the clumsy plant by the barn. We’ll take a bit of God’s handiwork to Great-Grandpa.

And we’ll know it’s God speaking … in a small, still voice.

(Photo: A floral delivery to Great-Grandpa’s grave.)

by | August 22, 2009 | 15 comments

15 Comments

  1. RCUBEs

    Hi sister Jennifer. I can't sleep and I guess I'll be the 1st to comment. Got a few minutes spared before I go to work…

    Your daughter looking at these weeds as beautiful reminds me of our Father Who thinks the same way when He looks at us…

    I think she explains why God wants us to have a childlike faith 🙂

    Blessings and have a great weekend. I am going to work with a light heart knowing that I just learned a valuable lesson from an amazing kid and like her, I will see the beauty in all of those ugliness I will see at work. And to God be the glory!

    Reply
  2. Steve

    Bless her little heart.The eye's and hearts of a child.I wish I could still see as they see. My grand daughter ask us one morning going to church,paw paw, went is Jesus coming back to get us, she was about six at the time, because I'd like to go to heaven and be with him.My heart filled with joy, but then she ask, will my daddy be there? She was worried about her daddy, my son. My heart broke, you see he's lost. I only said to her, lets pray for him OK. Your post brought me back to this day. My God bless and keep you all.

    Reply
  3. Deborah Ann Erdmann

    Aw…what a beautiful story! I love things like this, where you have to 'look' for God's whisper. Lovely. My grandaughter had a very similar moment last week, I posted it on my site. She decorated my parents grave. It's just precious how these little ones decorate the world.

    Reply
  4. Doug Spurling

    Thank you for this.

    "In the whisper.

    He showed up again, this time in the sunflower patches, while I was busy looking for Him in the steeples. My four-year-old daughter showed me how to see Him there"

    "Except you become as little children."

    I remember years ago, my dad and I met for breakfast at a cafe. As we were leaving Dad's car wouldn't start.

    Almost to my vehicle thoughts started running through my mind…"Oh no, not now I have too much work to do with the ministry. I don't have time for this…Maybe I should pretend not to notice and drive away, he can figure out what to do…"

    In a still small, firm voice, I heard…

    "Don't be to busy with ministry to minister."

    (Dad & I ended up having a great day together, I'll never forget it…but,I have no idea what ministry business didn't get done because of it.)

    Reply
  5. Beth.. One Blessed Nana

    I pray that we will all learn to see God in the weeds and all those places that we sometimes overlook.

    I so enjoyed this post this morning as it really spoke to my heart.

    Reply
  6. Laura

    Out of the mouths of babes.

    Such a sweet story, Jennifer. I needed reminded today to see the beauty in the ashes.

    Blessings.

    Reply
  7. Billy Coffey

    This is why my yard is filled with dandelions. My daughter won't let me kill them. After reading this, though, I think she's on to something…

    Reply
  8. Margie

    Hi Jennifer,

    I found your blog through reading comments at Splashing Glory.

    I love your graphics and the picture of Jesus. He is smiling & singing over us!

    I enjoyed this post…thanks for the reminder of His gentle whisper everywhere. I must remember to listen!

    Also, I was encouraged by your "expiration date" post.

    Listening for the still small voice,

    Margie

    Reply
  9. Deb

    You saw weeds. Work. Aggravation.

    She saw beauty. Gifts. Humility.

    Sometimes I see weeds too. Interruptions. Arrogance.

    I want to learn to see the way she sees them.

    Sweet dreams.

    Reply
  10. Elizabeth Mahlou

    Thanks for reprinting. Beauty really is in the eye of the beholder. Some of my favorite flowers are those considered weeds by many. Aw, heck, I am probably considered a weed by many! 😉

    Reply
  11. christy rose

    to see the world as a child….
    "truly I say to you, unless you become as a little child and accept the kingdom of God, you shall not in any way enter it." Luke 18:17

    Reply
  12. Beth E.

    What a precious daughter you have…and what a loving heart she has!

    This post really blessed me. Thanks for printing it again…it was new for me!

    Reply
  13. Jennifer

    God is so good to give us children with eyes like Him to help us adults truly see.

    Reply
  14. cindy

    What a sweet world this could be if we had the eyes and hearts of little ones.

    So enjoy your post.

    Reply
  15. Carol

    We GOTTA listen to those babies. They know what they are talking about. What a sweet story! Thanks for ending my Sunday night on this note! Love….

    Reply

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