Seed of Destiny
Growing up I remember going on “Daddy/Daughter Days” to the Diplomatic Quarters where we lived overseas. My dad would take my two older sisters and I on adventures through the desert beauty. We would climb old gnarly trees, build houses with sticks and stones, and eat apples that he would cut with his pocket knife. He would always point out the living treasures hidden behind the dust and thorns. He would have us smell the tiny white flowers or point out the colorful Indian Rollers (brilliant blue birds) flying above.
Throughout the years we lived in many different houses but each place Daddy would make sure we had some kind of plants whether it was just sprinkling a few flower seeds in the rocky soil or dumping soil in a window box to plant tomatoes. In the bustling capital city, we had a row of plants in the window that thrived in the desert sun. In our concrete block house in a sandy town, we tried our hand at planting flowers in the yard. Every morning I would get up and water the plants in the cool of the day drinking in the smell of the wet dirt. I began to understand why my Dad loved the beautiful little plants so much and why he would get so excited when the little sprouts pushed up through the ground. Those little green leaves were a declaration of life in the midst of the dry, dusty land and getting to water and care for the tender seedlings became a delight.
Fast forward five years, and now we’re living in the States near the Smoky Mountains in Tennessee. Daddy would take my sisters and I on hikes through semi-tropical forests, where water is so prevalent it seeps through the ground and waters the trees and foliage. Ferns - foreign species in the desert - covered the ground and mushrooms of all varieties peeked their little heads through the moss. Things we had only read about in books became a part of our normal life - picking daffodils in the spring, finding berries by the side of the road and enjoying the colors of fall. Rain came so regularly that we rarely had to water our little garden out front. We had a whole herb garden, plus a row of tomatoes, sweet potatoes, peas, green beans, and cucumbers.
Caring for our garden became more about weeding the plants that so quickly grew up around our vegetables than about watering. Sometimes I grew weary of constantly pulling up the little intruders and wished the for the desert days where weeds rarely grew around our plants. Yet the rich soil fed not only the weeds but also the herbs, flowers and plants we had planted there. I began to realize that weeds were a symbol of good soil. As I watched my Dad patiently pulling the green invaders away from the thriving mint, I understood that sometimes we have to remove what is good so we have room for the best.
When I moved to Harrisburg in 2015, I moved to the inner city. There was line upon line of row houses with trash and blight throughout the streets and in the middle of this brick jungle stood the historical A. Carson Stamm Mansion. Where was the desert beauty? Where was the luscious green of the forest? Where was the rich soil where plants would thrive and produce?
We would go out and pick up litter in the neighborhood the first year as a part of the internship here at Wildheart. Then, the next year we hosted several teams and attacked the blight in the four block area around us. The row of houses behind the Mansion were all abandoned at the time. Each home had a shed facing the back alley and each of the sheds were full of trash. Over that summer we removed over 100,000 pounds of trash from the four block radius around us. In addition to removing trash we started two community gardens where there had once been piles of trash, installed twenty planter boxes in front of our neighbors’ houses and landscaped the sidewalk area.
As I planted seeds in the community garden, I remembered the little seedlings that broke through the ground in the desert defying all odds and declaring life to the world. This garden wasn’t just a pretty decoration but a powerful declaration of hope that beauty will replace the trash heaps and broken dreams. Later as I picked weeds along a historic brick sidewalk behind our house, I marveled at the many weeds growing because I knew they symbolized rich soil. In my heart, I prayed, “God show these precious people that their dreams and hopes are worth caring for. Show them that they can put their roots down here and thrive. You are faithful to water and sustain them. No matter what weeds have threatened them, You have created them to take up space, grow, and bear fruit. This is their destiny!!”
Thank you for reading my story! I hope you will join me in praying this over Allison Hill and over your community:
"Father, you promise that the wilderness will rejoice and blossom (Is 35:1). Just as you give life to seeds so they can push through soil around around them, You are giving life to the people of Allison Hill that is stronger than anything that surrounds them. What they may have seen as a difficulty or trial is actually their seed of destiny. We can plant and we can water, but You are the one who makes it grow! So we declare over our neighborhood: you will live and not die! You will bloom in the place that was once called desolate! You will fulfill your destiny!!"
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