Thursday, June 25, 2009


Laura Richards
Columbia, SC

I have been thinking of seeds a great deal lately, mostly because I feel as though I am watching a parable about seeds unfold before my eyes. I am specifically thinking of the parable in Mark 4, in which Jesus compared the kingdom of God to a man who scattered seed, slept, and watched as the seed sprouted and grew into full grain. I am seeing this parable take on life at Epworth Children's Home, for every day many dedicated and loving staff scatter seed among the children. They scatter seeds of compassion and love, seeds of dignity, seeds of discipline, and seeds of encouragement.

I also try to scatter seed, but I have found it to be a more difficult task than I would have expected. After all, scattering seed requires a good bit of trust that the seed will indeed take root in the soil and flourish into a healthy plant. As I have learned more about the family circumstances and traumatic histories of some of these children, my grief has made it difficult to trust that small seeds of love can offer any comfort or guidance. This summer, I have often felt as though my tiny seeds will inevitably be choked and scorched by the varieties of trauma that drove these children into a children’s home. There is no way, I find myself thinking, that my word of encouragement or my short devotional can counteract the suffocating weight of trauma that some of these children carry.

But everyday I see evidence that the tiny seeds scattered by the Epworth staff do in fact grow: a high school senior leads a devotional on the importance of forgiveness, an Epworth graduate begins a Master’s program at USC, a young teenager rebukes her peers for bullying an unpopular girl, another young teenager makes it her goal to encourage other suffering children with the hope that she has found in Jesus. Everyday I am reminded that it is God who works the soil that is His children; it is God who accomplishes transformation. It is not about me or about the seeds that I scatter. Even when trauma and depression work like clouds to block all rays of hope and transformation, God works wonders and causes even the tiniest of seeds to sprout. I am truly learning from my experiences with these resilient children that with Christ there is always hope. And I have discovered this hope at Epworth not only in the nurturing staff; I have found this hope in the children themselves as they, despite their darkened pasts, become lights to a darkened world.

And so the kingdom of God grows, even before my very eyes, and I know not how. It often does not seem like the kids are responsive when their staff teaches them about forgiveness. And it often does not seem like they are terribly interested when they learn about God’s love for them. But little by little, the seeds grow. Traumatized children find healing in God. Little by little, they grow into people who choose to live peacefully and lovingly, shunning violence and hatred. Little by little, they choose to imitate Jesus. And little by little, they plant seeds of hope in others. They are becoming the man who scatters seed and waits to watch as the Lord works His wonders.

1 comment:

Sandra said...

Laura, I was moved to tears by the insight & love with which you so eloquently wrote "Seeds". I must tell you that the seeds you have sowed in my life, those of love, joy, encourgement, empathy, sympathy, and many more are still alive and well. I enjoy watching them bloom! You are a true treasure in my life, and your light has shined on my life in some of my darkest hours. The children are blessed to have you there with them. God chose you, Laura! There are no co-inky-dinks.