The Garden

In the fourth grade, I was given “In The Garden” to sing for the hymnal concert.

I wanted to choose a different hymn. So badly. I had one picked out. But, this one seemed to choose me. So, I sang it with a smile and a just a hint of bitterness.

Years later, though, my childhood disappointment, would turn into one of my greatest appointments.

This time last year, I attended an event that swept me out of shadows and into the radiant light of Christ. The name of it? The Garden. My Jesus drew me in with color and life and spring and flowers. Enchanted me like a Rose of Sharon.

After the event, I hear the strum of a soft guitar and the voice of Johnny Cash fill the room, singing “In the Garden.”
I weep. The hymn I once rejected became the image I now clung to in hope and delight.

I come to the garden alone 
While the dew is still on the roses 
And the voice I hear, falling on my ear 
The Son of God discloses 
And He walks with me 
And He talks with me 
And He tells me I am His own 
And the joy we share as we tarry there 
None other has ever known.

I need the steps of Jesus, bidding me go, through the voice of woe, unto to green pastures.
I need the voice of Jesus, so sweet the birds hush their singing, reminding me I am His.

And while He walks with me and talks with me, I find that my joy, once stolen, is full.
Abundant.
Complete.

Recently, I came back to it after I found myself face to face with thorny disappointment.
The color of floral goodness dim and covered by brier.
Having tossed to and fro through the night, I lay restless under my quilt this morning.
While the dew is still on the roses, I hear my invitation in the ever quickening beat of my heart.

Come to the garden.

I roll back the covers and pull on my robe, noticeably covered in pink roses.
Sleepy eyed, I put the kettle on and pick up my tea cup, realizing it, too, had delicate pink roses painted on it (if you’re interested in learning more about the sweet back story of this tea cup of mine, I wrote a little something in I’m A Little Teacup on how it serves as a unique image of hope in suffering and disappointment).

I, quite literally, come to my own little garden. Alone.

And I think of Mary waiting beside the empty tomb early in the morning. Alone.

Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?”
Supposing Him to be the gardener, she said to Him, “Sir, if you have carried Him away, tell me where you have laid Him, and I will take Him away.”

Jesus said to her, “Mary.”

We may not be quick to catch His presence in the midst of our pain, but He’s there.
Walking. Talking. Alive. Calling us by name.

Reminding us that every disappointment melts in light of the sweet truth of being completely and securely His.

This truth is magnified in His Word, but also in the words of Teresa of the Little Flower, which I rest upon this morning.

I wish to suffer for Love’s sake and for Love’s sake even to rejoice; thus shall I strew flowers. Not one shall I find without shedding its petals for Thee…and then I will sing, I will always sing, even if I must gather my roses in the very midst of thorns – and the longer and sharper the thorns the sweeter shall be my song.

And so, in the garden this morning, while the dew is still on the roses, I gather them among the thorns.
Even as they sting me with their prick, I will always sing.
I fill my little living room with the same soft strum of the guitar and the voice of Johnny Cash, singing “In the Garden.”
I go back and whisper to my fourth grade self, “Hear. Listen. You’ll need this.”

But now, I sing, with not even a hint of bitterness.
My smile, wider.
My song, sweeter.

Praise be to Him who turns our disappointments into provident appointments.
And turns our suffering into sweet, sweet songs.

 

 

Lesser Lights

My bare feet swayed across the cool kitchen floor as I wept over the cold pizza I took out of the fridge for lunch.

Yet, never has a moment been more abundantly full of blessed and restful happiness.
The tune of Hillsong’s “So Will I” filled my stuffy apartment, alongside the gentle humming of the fan, mimicking a breeze I’d like to imagine the ocean was bringing in.

With teary eyes closed and an abandoned heart wide open, who’s to say the kitchen tile was not actually a sandy shore?

I twirl, hum, and cry, in between each savory bite of leftover lunch, and I ponder today’s word on Psalm 27.

“The one thing I want from God, the thing I seek most of all, is the privilege of meditating in his Temple, living in his presence every day of my life, delighting in his incomparable perfections and glory. There I’ll be when troubles come.”

One thing.
We were made for a One Thing.
But only One Thing is secure.

The psalmist, David, holds fast to this One Thing.
The truth that only the Lord is His light.

All else, all other lights, will dim. Flicker. Fade.
And yet, when we hold the candle of another, however good and fragrant it is, we doom ourselves to a life of anxious toil, protecting the vulnerable flame at all cost.
For where will we be if that flame is snuffed out?
What darkness is sure to consume us if that light no longer shines?

If we seek another glow,
If we raise up the candle of some thing that was not meant to be our One Thing,
We will only know the fight. The tight-grip of fear. The ceaseless striving.
Because our mere candles, our some things, are not certain.
Not secure.
Not able to weather the winds of change and sorrow and sin.

But God invites us to trade our flickering flame for a torch that will never burn out.
What a beautiful exchange.
To release the fleeting that keeps you fighting to receive the infinite that keeps you indwelling.

I bowed my head before the Great Feast, the Lord’s Supper, repenting of lesser lights I’ve clung to, however splendent they may be.

I pondered over the night before, windows down and singing along to a sweet song of slow dancing and bright and pretty things.
I felt blissfully happy to be dreaming of such a love, one day, coming soon, maybe, perhaps.
The dream is good, one my Father cares for, but it is a lesser light.

I thought back to coffee with a dear friend, opening wrapped boxes and reading the words beautifully written on a just as beautiful card.
I hugged the warm mug of my most favorite drink as I laughed, listened, and shared thoughts with this gift of a Jesus sister.
The fellowship is good, one my Father blessed me with, but it, too, is a lesser light.

Oh, how we miss the brilliance of the torch when we put it down to pick up a mere candle.

Those good things are better seen and appreciated for all they are in the light of the torch, rather than the flicker of a small flame.

And so, I repented and came to the table.
I was satisfied with the fullness of Christ and all the promises He secured for me on the cross.
Promises to be known.
To be ever-loved.
To be saved from and for.
To be made new.
To be made an heir.
To see glory.
To be Home.
All my heart could crave was found in these covenants.

This brings me back home, eating a lesser but necessary meal, in my kitchen, bare footed in front of a breezy fan.

My feet danced upon the tiles to this song of praise.

And as You speak
A hundred billion galaxies are born
In the vapor of Your breath the planets form
If the stars were made to worship so will I
I can see Your heart in everything You’ve made
Every burning star
A signal fire of grace
If creation sings Your praises so will I

Oh, and my heart couldn’t take it.
My little easy bake kitchen could barely contain the love swelling up inside of me.
My big blue eyes couldn’t hold back the flood of tears, beginning to rain down from my cheeks.
What else could my feet do but spin and sway and dance before this King?
What else could my hands do but fling wide open and high and ever reach toward the Lover of my soul?

The Creator of the stars in all their radiance, burning bright for Him and all His people to behold, shines a brighter light still.
A light that we are freely given to cherish and share.
A light that never runs out.
A light that burns brighter than the galaxies.
A light breaks through the engulfing bleak and black darkness.

And He came down to us, like one of us, as this very light.
The Light of the world.
The One Thing our hearts were made for.
The Only Thing that satisfies and causes our soul to find rest.

And I realized, sobbing over my pizza, that there is no other love, no other light, no other thing that can bring me this much overwhelming, all consuming, all around me, kind of joy and delight.

No other love makes me dance, foolish and undignified, barefooted, pizza in hand, weeping and singing and praising.
No other friendship turns my stuffy kitchen into a throne room of brilliant color and glowing grace.
No other thing brings me this much unwavering and steadying peace, the kind that opens my fighting hands to be held and stills my striving body to be enveloped by the arms of a Father.

So, I set down my candles, beautiful but flickering.
I pick up the torch, brilliant and steadfast.

And I let the light illuminate my heart, setting it ablaze, and ruining it for the lesser glow of any other thing.

Oh Lord, we repent of lesser things and lesser lights.
Come.
Be our One Thing and our One Light.
May we want for nothing but You.

What Does the Lord Require of You?

I’ve been meaning to write this.
For those struggling to separate purpose and career.
For those who took one sure step into the world and became all kinds of lost.

This messy and longing and lost chapter in the book the Lord is writing on my life is not just for me, but for you.

And I’ve turned a page.
It’s far easier to read to the world a chapter that is finished.
A chapter that now uniquely fits into the grand story of this Author’s purpose.
I can, reading back, see this.
But there was a time when my eyes were discouraged and the scene around me seemed out of place.
Like a mistype. A misstep. Something to be erased. Something that needed fixing.
I graduated from the school held high all throughout my junior high and high school years.
It was the dream, the goal.
And during my time at the university, I worked toward a bright and flourishing career.
It was the new dream, the new goal.

But, in the words of the beloved Flynn Rider, Eugene Fitzherbert (because who am I if I don’t squeeze Disney into my own writing?),

“For one moment, everything was perfect…and then that moment ended.”
Graduation, one moment of perfection.
And then that moment ended.
What began was a mess.
A mess of anxiety.
A mess of comparison.
A mess of doubt.
A mess of fear.

This dream that I wrapped like a present through the years was finally ready to be opened. Now, the paper was torn, the ribbons scattered, and the gift inside was far more disappointing than I had imagined it would be.

Everyone else’s gifts seemed perfect. I watched them take it out to play and show the world, a testament to how wonderful their gift Giver was.
And even if their gifts were not as they seemed, I knew their Giver was wonderful.
I rejoiced for them.

But mine…I feared was meant for someone else.
What I hoped was a shiny new toy, ready to be played with, batteries included, turned out to be an oversized dress, big enough for me to swim in.
And that’s exactly how I felt.
Small and swimming in something too big for me.

I sought answers, advice, and counsel. I scheduled and canceled several advising appointments, spiritual, emotional, and academic. And I longed to find someone walking around with the same baggy dress that I was wearing.

Oh, how we ache to relate and be understood. To be found and known in the dark.
But the Lord let me get lost. Be lost.
For He alone needed to be the one that found me.

Unknowingly, I rested in the security of people’s certainty in my choice of profession.
I fed off their affirmations and drank deep their praises.
“Oh, you were made for this!”
“You will make the most incredible teacher!”
“Teaching suits you so well!”

Oh, their words were my comfort, because my heart doubted.
Again and again it doubted.

Pondering these things, now, I truly do believe the Lord used these words. They were well placed. They were thought through and honest. They saw gifts I was too blind or insecure to recognize.
But, in the end, it was often their word I clung to, and not the Lord’s.
Their confidence was often my foundation, and not the Lord’s unchanging promises.
And soon enough, their words, their confidence were not enough to convince me.
My own doubts overshadowed their sureness and the foundation that held me up crumbled.
Inevitably, I fell.

It was a long fall and the Lord took His patient time lifting me back up.
For He was not merely seeking to raise me, but to build me up.
I needed a new foundation. One that was planted on solid ground.
Built from unwavering truth. Carefully fixed. And designed to endure.

And, the truth He chose to be the cornerstone was entirely unrelated to my career, which I often equated to my “calling.”

Rather, He gently spoke the words of Micah 6:8.

“He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” 

The verse that I was taught again and again as a young girl in GEMS throughout the years (please tell me y’all did GEMS, too?).
I sang it every Wednesday night. I’m pretty sure it was to the tune of a Greece song.
Ridiculous to think of it now, but boy, did my heart need it, more than I knew at 10 years old.

This verse comes as a response from the minor prophet to the question, “What does the Lord require of you?” It goes through a long list of costly sacrifices and weighty duties.
I hear the sorrow and the agony in the voices, crying out, “Lord, what must we do?”
I hear it because my voice uttered the same words with heavy, heavy tears.
“Lord, what must I do? I need to do this thing to please you. I must do this thing to follow you. Surely, I’m required to do this thing to find my purpose. Fulfill my purpose. Otherwise, I’m wasting. Wasting my life. Wasting my time. Wasting away.”

My purpose. The Lord’s pleasure. A fulfilling life. It was all rooted in this career.
And to my surprise, in response to work-harder-do-more perspective, He gently offered these words.

“Mary, what have I told you? What is good? That you live just and free. That you take great delight in My steadfast love. That you walk ever nearer with Me. This is what is required. This pleases me. This is full life. This is where you find your purpose, because, my darling, this is where you find Me.”

I was looking for an occupation. I was looking for a job.
I was looking for purpose outside of the One Who purposes me for good things.

He took me aside. He took away my security.
He let the foundation that other’s had built tumble down, with me tumbling after it.
And what caught me was not a job.
I fell to be caught by the hands of my Maker. The One who gives me purpose.

And so, I start again. Fresh. New.
Same gifts. Slightly new direction.
I’m back in school.
Yes, teaching is surely my future. But making coffee is my present.
And with this new time, this blessed and purposed time, I have the space to use my gifts still.
Not in the school. Not teaching geometry and history. Not to a class of 30 students.
But rather, in the Church. Teaching the Gospel. To a group of 12 hungry, seeking, and delightfully eager sixth grade girls.

It took a year. It took a long hard fall. My moment of perfection had to end.
But, a moment of perfection gave way to a lifetime of purpose.
Purpose rooted in Christ and loving Him, in all I do.

And, to quote Tangled just once more,

This is my new dream.

Oh, and that dress?
It fits now. Like it was made for me.
Our Father really does know how to give good gifts.

Genesis

Here’s to beginnings.

My feet, still shaky from the unknown terrain of a wood I never imagined I’d drift far, far into, are walking out. Onto new ground.
Ground that is lush, instead of a murky mess.
Ground that is steady and beckons onward, rather than shifts and confuses.
Ground from where new life is born.
New springs well up.
New fruit blossoms.

How timely this spring equinox has been.
Praise the God of seasons, both of the heart and of the earth.

I recall a memory from a little over a year ago. A friend and I put on Disney’s Fantasia 2000, letting our nostalgia run wild with color and sound. And the best was saved for last, Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite. Not only is the music breathtaking, but the story that accompanies it will forever be etched into my mind.

From the breath of the mighty stag, a beautiful nymph is born. The heartbeat of Genesis is present from the very beginning of the piece. He leads her out into the barren land, and she awakens as her very life is creating the masterpiece of spring all around her. Flourish. Abundance. Glory. Words that come to mind as the picture is painted to the sound of the composer’s handiwork. But, a fiery being, the “firebird,” stoops down to spread his wings of destruction over the creation of her new life. What is left is ashes and dust. The heart of Genesis beats on.

Tears begin to build behind the dam of my eyes. The film swirls together picture and symphony to ultimately point to the ancient story. A true story. The one of a mighty God. Of His creation, breathed into life. One of a garden. Of a snake. And the darkness that followed him. That followed us. Tragedy.

But, just as Stravinsky’s piece is unfinished, so is the story it shadows.

The stag searches through the rubble to find the nymph lying amidst the ruins. He breaths his life back into her fragile body. But she is weak. Stricken by grief. And unsure of what to do. Where to go. How to begin.

From there, he gently lifts her from the ground with his antlers, onto his back. As he carries her through what is left of the forest, her canvas of spring now devastated, she begins to cry over what has been lost. But her tears are soaking the scorched ground, and where they fall, life begins to sprout. What follows is the most beautiful and glorious unfolding. Regaining her strength, her hope, she soars over the land, her canvas. What was dead is now exploding with the color and fragrance of flowers and lush, green trees.

The dam holding back the flood of my tears gives way. And rightly so.

What the enemy left ravaged in my heart, my Heavenly Father is restoring. Is redeeming. Is making new.

Like the nymph, my tears are not wasted. They are kept. And not just to be remembered, but to be poured out over the dry places, so new life can spring up. I’m beginning to see the green emerge from ashes.

And as I do, I begin.
I dream again. I create again. I write again.

And if this is you, too, if you find yourself in the ruins, and you see the face of your Heavenly Father bending low to lift you from the shambles, take hold and begin again.

This is spring. This is genesis.

Open Wide Your Mouth

 

“Open your mouth wide and see if I won’t fill it. You will receive every blessing you can use!
Oh, that My people would listen to Me! Oh, that Israel would follow Me, walking in My paths! How quickly then I would subdue her enemies! How soon My hands would be upon her foes! 
Those who hate the Lord would cringe before Him; their desolation would last forever. But He would feed you with the choicest foods. He would satisfy you with honey for the taking.”
Psalm 81

I received a text message from my best friend, who is too far away from me at the moment, telling me that Psalm 81 showed up in her devotions for that morning.
Having not read my bible yet, I flipped it open to this Psalm of Asaph.
My eyes welled with tears as my lips mouthed the words, unraveling a song that sounds like a prayer my soul had been longing to pray.

These were the words of a man who knew, really knew, His God.
Who had tasted the sweetness of His goodness.
Who had seen the faithful hands of His provision.

I prayed with quivering lips,
“Oh Lord, I thirst for faith like that.”

In that moment I was both humbled and ashamed by my impeding lack of belief, much like Simon Peter when he found himself face down before the feet of Jesus in his fishing boat.
Let this story paint itself before you.

Simon and the other fisherman had been working under the heat of the sun until the sun began to escape them. Not one fish had been caught.
Exhausted, Simon was given the honor of lending his boat to Jesus to preach upon.
There was at least one good use for the boat that day.
After teaching, however, Jesus looked at him.
“Simon, sail out into the deep waters and let down your nets for a catch.”
Let down the nets?
The nets that produced nothing that entire day?
“Master, we worked hard all night and caught nothing, but I will do as You say and let down the nets.”
The nets dropped and caught what seemed to be every fish in the lake, spilling over and tearing the ropes.
Simon fell to the knees of Jesus.
“Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man.”
Simon saw the power of God’s providing hand and could hardly be in His holy presence.
Not with his sin.
Not with his doubt.
But he was called a disciple.
And he won something far greater than fish that day.

Friends, God invites us to let down our nets and watch with expectancy.
Watch the good He will bring.
Watch the people He will put in our paths.
Watch the assignments He will give us.
Watch the abundance of life fill us until we are bursting at the seams.

What would it look like if our prayer life was saturated and shaped by that faith that God is capable of doing whatever we humbly ask for and more in His name?
Now, this is not to be said that He will always answer with “yes.”
He may still answer “no.”
He uses noes for far better things than we can imagine.
But, like the Father that He is, He desires to hear the requests of His dearly beloved children.
Can’t you just hear him?
“Oh, my child, would you tell me what you want?”
He longs to hear your heart. Won’t you share it with Him?

Your life may not seem to be fruitful at the moment.
All you see is dry.
All you hear is silence.
All you know is failure.
But, when Jesus calls you to something that seems beyond your reach or impossible with your given circumstances, would you do it anyways, just because He said so?

Would you open wide your mouth?
Cast deep your nets.
Stretch far your hands.
And watch. Expect. Receive.
And when you receive whatever He brings, would You praise Your Father from whom it was given?
He who loves you with a relentless love is worthy of it.

“If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask Him!”
Matthew 7:1

Extraordinary Transformation in an Ordinary Life

I tend to find joy in really simple things.
Tea.
Park benches.
Saturday Farmer’s Markets.
Watching Hallmark movies with my family.
Sunday morning church in my hometown.
Pretty ordinary things, really.

And somewhere along the line I started feeling guilty about it.

Was I missing out on “life-changing experiences”?
Was I living boldly enough for Christ?
Should I be dreaming bigger?

For a girl who is anxious enough on her own, these thoughts significantly added to my anxiety.
I never felt like I could truly delight in the ordinariness of life because I felt like I should have been doing something bigger, bolder, newer, and more courageous for Christ, in order to be transformed by Him.

But then, I was assigned a book to read in my Theology II class, a book that felt like it was tailored just for me.
Good News for Anxious Christians
I’m anxious. I need good news. I like this book.
Each chapter digs deep to get to the heart of ideas that some Christians tend to adopt as “good” and “healthy,” but they often leave us feeling, well…more anxious.
One of the ideas that the book addresses is how our consumerist culture tells us that we constantly need to be “transformed” through new experiences. The newest. The latest. The greatest. You know, the life-changing, faith-growing, all-emotional, heart-transforming experiences.
But Phillip Cary, author of Good News for Anxious Christians, challenges that idea by reminding us that our faith is not based on experiences.
His words on the subject were like cool waters rushing over the dried up desert of my anxious soul.

“What faith gives us is Jesus Christ….the Christian life is our life in Christ as well as Christ’s life in us…And now, yes, you have a whole life to live with Christ, our Bridegroom, and it will have to be different from the old life. It may not look so different at first. But you’re in this for the long haul-all the way to life eternal- so what you need is not a bunch of great new experiences, but a whole lifetime that grows out of the newness of Christ, like a mighty tree growing from its seed or a house built on a firm foundation. The process of growth and building is long and slow, and it’s hard work: it’s life’s work, not an experience. It’s not anything that can happen in one moment or one meeting or one experience.”

Isn’t it refreshing to be reminded that your growth as a Christian is not based on a continuation of new experiences? That growth comes from being renewed by the newness of Christ throughout your whole life, and that this can happen while you’re daily living what seems to be an ordinary life in the eyes of society?
But, here is the beauty and strength of ordinariness,
It’s lasting.
It’s a long-haul kind of thing.
It’s not a moment, or a fleeting high, but the process of a lifetime.
And it is in the process where Christ renews and transforms us.
And remember, your initial, ultimate transformation in Christ has already happened and it cannot be undone or lost.
Cary says,
“If Christ is in you, the greatest transformation of all has already taken place: you are born again into eternal life and you have become a new creation in Him, a new human being, united with Christ in a kind of spiritual marriage, having become one spirit with Him (1 Cor. 6:17), together with all His people.”

And just like that *snaps fingers* my anxiety fled and peace flooded my soul once again.
I have been transformed. I am a new creation. And I am continually being renewed by the newness of Christ as I pursue Him and His glory in daily, enduring habits. Habits to choose life, to love God with my whole self, heart, soul, mind and strength, and to love His people.
And this doesn’t have to be found in an experience.
But in my ordinary life.

An ordinary life that happens to include
Tea.
Park benches.
Saturday Farmer’s Markets.
Watching Hallmark movies with my family.
And Sunday morning church in my hometown.

Pretty ordinary things, really.

Serving Jesus While Serving French Fries

At 17 years old I got my first real job.
At 21 years old I still rock that adorable ascot and visor with the golden arches.
You’ve guessed it. McDonald’s.
Many have a negative connotation with fast food, McDonald’s in particular. Some people cringe. Some people laugh. Some people sue.
It’s the last place people would expect to find Jesus, but I have had the privilege of serving Him there.
“Wait a minute. Did you just say you served Jesus at McDonald’s?” 
Why yes, I did.
Whether I’m serving up Big Macs for the late night crowd or dishing out hash browns for the early morning regulars, I’m still serving Jesus.
It seems like the oddest place for Him to reveal His promises and statutes, but for over four years, I’ve encountered Him there.
While there are countless stories to share about my experience as a McDonald’s employee, here are three significant values that the Lord has taught me during my time there.

1. Love Your Enemies
Sometimes your enemy doesn’t always threaten your life. Sometimes your enemy threatens your patience, however, as he cusses you out because you forgot his Sweet and Sour sauce for his Chicken Nuggets.
It’s in those moments when Jesus whispers, “Show him My love, today.”
I’d like to show him something else.
As hot tears rolled down my cheeks, I walked away to recompose myself. I realized that it probably wasn’t even about the Sweet and Sour sauce.
I could not step into his shoes and know all the burdens he has carried in life. I will never know what made him lash out over something so, well…ridiculous. And, while I could never excuse this poor man’s behavior, I can extend grace and forgiveness.
can show him what my Jesus’ love looks like.
The love that poured out forgiveness on the ones that cursed and mocked Him as He hung on a rugged tree.

2. People Matter
French fries will get cold. Orders will be messed up. Our food may not always be considered “fast.” But, people matter. People are eternal. And I have the privilege of serving and working alongside them every day at work….Well, technically five days a week.
My mission field may not have brick red, dusty roads or shacks for homes, but the people I serve still need Jesus’ life breathed into them.
My co-workers that greet me as I walk through the doors at 5:45 in the morning need to be shown Jesus’ unwavering peace.
The young, single mother holding her child as she waits in line needs to be shown Jesus’ saving grace.
The tattered homeless man that searches for enough coins to pay for his coffee needs to be shown Jesus’ radical redemption.
The people who come in and out of McDonald’s doors every day, employee or customer, matter. Their lives have purpose.
And God loved them enough to send His Son to carry the weight of their sin in order that they might encounter true Freedom.
I have the absolute honor of serving those people. And while I may not be able to read them the Gospel, I am able show them what a person transformed by the Gospel looks like.
I am able to plant seeds of Freedom, one kind word and tender smile at a time.
And I pray that as I plant the seeds, the Holy Spirit causes them to bloom.

3. Small Things for God’s Glory Matter  
It took years before my eyes were opened to see God’s purpose for me at McDonald’s.
I spent my summer asking people, “Would you like to make that a large meal?” All the while, I was green with envy and filled with self-pity as I watched my friends travel to impoverished countries, eager to serve Jesus’ people and share with them His truth. I was just serving french fries.
This rotten attitude was the outcome of jealousy. The product of comparison.
“Why can’t I do something radical for Christ?” I asked myself.
My friend’s missional lives felt important. My fast food life felt…trivial.
It wasn’t until this summer that the Lord graciously revealed to me just how damaging that outlook was and just how precious my work is.
Before I left for home, a friend from my Grace Group lent me a copy of The Practice of the Presence of God. Little did she or I know how the Lord would use this book to reshape my heart.
As I read, I stumbled upon this.
“We ought not to be weary of doing little things for the love of God, who regards not the greatness of the work, but the love with which it is performed.”
Brother Lawrence spent a good portion of his life working in the kitchen of a monastery. To some, his life may have looked insignificant. Small. Trivial.
But God looked upon his life with great honor, for Brother Lawrence had labored with great love.
The Lord sees whatever is done for His glory, whether you’re caring for orphans in Ethiopia, filing paper work in the office, or even flipping burgers.
So, just as Brother Lawrence happily washed dishes and scrubbed floors, aware of Whom he was truly serving, I too found joy in my own work.
Because I have learned to do it with God and for God.

And I’m lovin’ it.