Just When You Get to Thinking The Little Things Don’t Amount to Much

July 19, 2010 | 19 comments

Lydia paws through the office garbage can again, on a search-and-rescue mission. And I scold myself for not removing the evidence before she discovered it.

I’m at the kitchen table, writing letters, and I can hear her shuffling discarded papers, in this rearranging of the tossed and found. I make a quick mental inventory of what I’ve heaved — most of it from my own filing cabinet — and I sigh relief that the refuse pile will hold nothing of major significance to an eight-year-old girl.

And that’s when she comes to my side, thrusting her most recent find under my nose.

“You’re really going to throw this away?”

She’s holding a picture of Jesus.

Her voice is dripping with that newfound tone of sarcasm, which she picked up this year. “Don’t you love Jesus anymore? Nice job, Mom.”

And she giggles.

“Ha, ha, Lydia. Very funny,” I respond and roll my eyes.

A decade or more ago, I had slipped that photocopied drawing of Jesus into the filing cabinet. It was a fine drawing — but a poor photocopy — and I when I came across it the other day while organizing files, I just couldn’t imagine myself ever making use of it.

So I threw the picture away. And yes, it did cross my mind that I was throwing Jesus in the garbage.

The eight-year-old asks, Can she keep it?

And yes, of course she could. She takes the picture into the office, and I put the pen to paper again, writing letters to prisoner. My favorite farmer plants seeds in prisons — as well as fields. And when he goes to the prison, he always takes the letters I write, for these are little seeds of my own. My words don’t seem like much, just a few thoughts scrawled on notecards. But when the thoughts point to God, they have measureless worth, don’t they?

I write, and the eight-year-old returns 10 minutes later.

“Look, Mom,” she says. She had taken the Jesus picture, folded it in half and written a note on the inside, in amateur cursive:

“God loves you and so do I. My favorite verse is Psalm 46:10, ‘Be still and know that I am God.’ From, Lydia.”

“Here, Mom,” she says. “Have Daddy take this one to the prison, too.”


And he did take it to prison. He took a small stack of letters from this mama, and a few notes from little Lydia, who wrote on some scraps of paper … and that rescued piece of garbage.

When the farmer returned from the prison, he told of the harvest. And he pulled from his suitcase another scrap of paper — a note for Lydia from a prisoner named James.

“Dear Lydia! I just want you to know, for you to think of us has put a smile on my face, and the picture of Jesus you sent … I got and will keep for many many years to come …”

A drawing of Jesus, destined for the landfill, is now tucked between the pages of a Bible of a man named James.

And that is so God.

He sees the treasure of those whom the world regards as discarded.
In the things we think have no worth, God finds value.

Even in me. Even in a recovering prisoner like me. He finds worth in me.

“That He should give His only son
And make a wretch His treasure.”

by | July 19, 2010 | 19 comments


  1. RCUBEs

    Oh the way Lydia saw that crumpled paper through His eyes. That a simple "trash" would become a treasure in someone's lost soul. The way Jesus found me in my own trash and life's mess…and invited me to know and become worthy…in Him.

    So beautiful sister! God bless you and family for this wonderful ministry you have for Him. I love that God uses ordinary, simple things to get to someone's soul.

  2. Julie Gillies

    What IS it with kids digging through our trash and then accusing us?

    I appreciate the smile this morning, Jennifer. Your sweet story reminds me of where I would be (in the trash heap of life) if Jesus had not rescued me, too.


  3. Megan Willome

    What an awesome story!

  4. Red Letter Believers

    When I go to garage sales, I am always disturbed to see Bibles. I opened one last month, "To Rayanne from Grandma. May God bless you and keep you."

    That was the saddest thing…

  5. Beth.. One Blessed Nana

    oh, how amazing. isn't is just like God to use what we think is trash to speak mightily to another – especially through the heart of a child.

  6. A Simple Country Girl


    Like the Laura Ingalls quote, "it is the sweet, simple things of life which are the real ones after all."

    And I thank God He gave us our kiddos to constantly remind us of this truth.


  7. Stephani

    The theme of my life lately seems to be, "There is nothing that God can't use." ~ You remind me of that again today.

  8. Jackie

    Beautiful and inspiring story, Jennifer! The old hymn "Love Lifted Me" came to mind as I was reading this.
    "Love lifted me, Love lifted me, when nothing else could help…..LOVE LIFTED ME! I'm praising Him that He lifted me out of the junk heap of life and called me His own!! Hallelujah!!

    Thank you for sharing and thank Lydia for me also!!

    Sweet Blessings!

  9. Lyla Lindquist

    Little things always matter. Sometimes more than the big things.

    In fact, I think they are the big things.

    Go Lydia.

    (And her friend uses an exclamation point. That's a little thing too.)

  10. Karen

    Another lesson from that generation of great teachers….

  11. Kay @ Off the Beaten Path

    Now that is just lovely! Indeed it is so God.

  12. Sandra Heska King

    The farmer carried a treasure chest of seeds in that trashed drawing. Beautiful!

  13. lynnrush

    Fantastic. Great story!!

  14. alicia

    Tears unexpectedly sprung to my eyes. What a touching story, Jennifer. Thanks for sharing.

  15. Lea

    Love, love it! I'm constantly amazed at how inspiring blog reading can be. Thanks for blessing my life this morning!

  16. hope42day

    Once again, the hands of God have not only touched those who are imprisoned, but also turned what was tossed aside into a seed growing from one heart to another.

  17. Jennifer

    Oh wow, wow, wow. God is just so awesome, so "God." And that He would use trash to take the time to show a little girl the meaning of compassion, mercy, and grace.

  18. n. davis rosback

    so very very God

  19. Tabitha

    To see Him work in such beautiful ways just restores me even further! The picture went to a prisoner names James..Only God!!



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