07 May 2008

just a weed

Close my eyes and hold my heart
Cover me and make me something
Change this something normal
Into something beautiful

Something Beautiful
, Jars of Clay

I know a story about dandelions.

When my brother was about four or five years old, he proudly set about collecting a bouquet of dandelions for Mom. I wasn't witness to this, but rumor has it that when he told his friend that he was collecting a bouquet for his Mom, his friend told him: they're just weeds, you know.

I can imagine that he went on collecting those dandelions, choking back tears, gathering them into the intended bouquet despite the crushing news that they were just weeds. I have it on good authority that he presented Mom with the bouquet and through a cascade of tears, choked the words: Brandon ... says ... they're ... just ... WEEDS!! Mom was noticeably touched by his gift, understanding that the little boy who plucked and gathered those dandelions did so as an offering of love from a full heart.

Just: such a tiny, powerful word. That word just has been rolling around my insides, bumping up against my interior walls with no small amount of force.

Doesn't it seem just a little bit preposterous to claim that I have anything unique to offer the world? Maybe it seems a little far-fetched to hope that I might leave some spot on this earth better than I found it. No sooner do I permit the thought that my life just might serve to improve someone else's that doubt begins its stealthy approach. Especially as I sit in this season of stillness and quiet.

After all, I am just another single woman. Just another person who has experienced her share of body issues. Just another Christian. Just a blogger. Just another yet-to-be-published writer.

These designations make me sound normal, common even. But if I've learned anything over the last several months, it's this: don't underestimate what a handful of weeds might become in the hands of someone who deeply loves the one who offers them.

I've trusted it for others and if I might be so bold, now I must have faith for myself: that this heart offered back to its Creator might metamorphose from something normal into something altogether beautiful.

dandelion photo by kirsten.michelle


  1. Thanks for this amazing post - It reminds me of the story of the starfish - that the boy couldn't save them all, but to the one he threw back into the ocean, it made a difference.

    We may be "just....." but God sees us as unique and precious in his sight (which is so reassuring to me) and that he has chosen me to do what he has for me to do here on earth - even if it is just being friendly to my neighbors, or just celebrating with someone, or just being who he created me to be.

  2. Kirsten, there's so much here. I don't even know what to say, except I love you and I want to read whatever you have to offer!

    And you know I'm all about little yellow flowers...

  3. And that is not JUST any photo of a dandelion (where's Craver? He needs to see this!). The curling purply leaves under the flower are magnificent and surprising. Like you, dear Kirsten, like you.

  4. Our yard has pretty yellow and purple flowers popping up. They're weeds, yes, but in all honesty, they're beautiful flowers, and they make me happy. Vestiges of God's grace in surprising ways.
    Like finding Him in the least expected places.
    I needed to hear this today. Yesterday and today I've been having writing-despair days. Nothing I write seems good. There's no cream to the crop. They're just words.

  5. amen, and amen, my friend.

    as i was reading this, i was struck by this line: "maybe it seems a little far-fetched to hope that i might leave some spot on this earth better than i found it." as i read this, my eye could not help but also notice two important banners right off to the side of these words: the banner for the green power puget sound project, and the constantly escalating ticker tape of plastic bags consumed this year. it made me reflect on the earth-conscious life that you live, doing your small part to help make a difference in this world, help make its life last just a little longer.

    maybe the faith you spoke there at the end about learning to extend to yourself in this place can take encouragement from the parts of you that have faith in a similar way in green living. does that make sense? i hope it does.

    your words here are so powerful, my friend. always, i find your words powerful. even when you might feel like you have no power within to push anything outside of yourself, still they carry weight. that is God in you. this is all his work.

    love you.

  6. (sorry...once again :)

    i have a question...who says they're just weeds? i mean, they're flowers, anyone can see that! c'mon I have a bunch of gerbera daisies wilting in a vase right now that say those beautiful yellow bursts of springtime got a bad wrap!

    i just got home from a walk with gracie and i kid you not i was thinking instead of digging up those dandelions, what if i just made a fresh bouquet of them every day?

    now i'm remembering that hinds' feet wildflower paragraph or two too...

    i'm committing to finding at least one dandelion to place in its own special little mini vase as long as possible until they puff and go away...

  7. Beside being struck again by your way with words and with photography, my thought when reading your post was, (and especially in conjunction with your "point verge" post on your other blog):

    How do we reconcile humbly hiding ourselves in Christ on the one hand with striving for "unique contributions" and "making a difference" on the other?

    So what if we are just normal? So what if we leave nothing unique behind or make no perceivable difference in the world? Isn't our value and identity in Christ alone?

    I'm not sure I want the pressure of striving to be something special apart from merely belonging to Christ, and that is a state open equally to all regardless of any other function or role. Right?

    And I'm not even sure that what we have amounts even to dandelions. What does Isiah say we have? menstrual rags?

    Is this what you're saying, that when we offer whatever we have to God even if it isn't much, that's all that is required for his love to transform us into his likeness?

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts and making me think.

  8. Yesterday afternoon i went for a walk, camera in hand. i was on a mission to photograph JUST the dandelions...

    i've found one...and it was detailed into perfection! Standing from the top taking photographs...i thought...mmmmm..time to get down and dirty...no matter who thinks what...so i went to lay down on my tummy facing JUST this perfection...

    on the stem of just this dandelion was a perfect, little ladybird making it's way up to the dandelion...it was struggling a bit..kept falling back off...and then tried some grass to crawl up with...

    you are just the most perfect little ladybird making your way up the dandelion to shine out all the love that is God from within! xx

  9. ilse - thanks for sharing your thoughts. we are small unto ourselves, but yes, as you say: precious in His sight. i love that!

    sarah - yes, you are the little yellow flower girl!! something fierce about yellow, isn't there, but delicate about the flower? thank you for sharing your reflections.

    l.l. - thank goodness for photo-editing software!! ;o) and thank you for your reflections also: that something so small & common could be so magnificent and surprising.

    heather - i've been feeling that way a lot too: words just aren't coming. they come out with great hope & then flop to the ground. glad this could be a place to offer a little encouragement.

    christianne - i would not have made the connection that you did: the green living aspect as a picture of one way i extend trust back to myself that God will reveal His purpose for me in due time. i need to sit with those words.

    di - i've missed you! i know i haven't been around much. i love how you talk about putting those special little yellow flowers in a vase & enjoying them all the same. yeah, dandelions have gotten a bum rap!

    jen - to quote you,
    "Is this what you're saying, that when we offer whatever we have to God even if it isn't much, that's all that is required for his love to transform us into his likeness?"

    yes, pretty much that is the gist of it. all the striving won't get us anywhere. it's not so much about how do i change the world, but how can i be obedient to God's purpose & design for me? identity is not about what we do, it is - as you say - hidden in christ. i don't want to be the servant who buries her talent in the ground. but there's a lot of questions & waiting & wondering that come with that in the meantime.

    linny - i went out & photographed dandelions yesterday too [again!!]. would love to see the pics of yours - it sounds fantastic!! thank you, beautiful lady!!

  10. wonderfully said.... and i love that jars of clay song. there is much truth here, kirsten. and i am one that thinks dandelions are lovely little things and my son brings bouquets of them to me regularly. even the 'lowly' dandelion serves a purpose.... and can even be made into a tasty wine. :)

  11. lovely photo
    and wonderful post!

  12. The photo is so gorgeous. You put things into words so well.

  13. just beautiful work of art, that is you. peace, friend.

  14. Kirsten
    This is such a beautiful and impacting blog. Such deep reflection here from the dandelion, it definately provokes and merits thought.

    It is a type of prison to live in, believing that your life does not have some kind of meaning. This is a reminder to be faithful in little things.

  15. Isn't it amazing that He would love (see 1corinthians 13:the whole stinking thing!!!) you, me, that guy who objectifies.... and that in that love He has your life all plotted out. He has your next step all figured out! There's just that simple leap of faith... like Indiana Jones stepping out onto that "invisible bridge".

    My friend you are so far from common, ordinary, or normal. I can't wait to see what He has in store for you!!! Don't let satan ever trick you into thinking that you are anything but Gods daughter and that is a mighty thing. Don't forget that His glory is even in a weed, He created it for a purpose.

  16. "just" doesn't belong anywhere near you. we miss so much beauty with that word. love to you dear.

  17. blue - i love that so many others here don't see that "lowly" dandelion as common. something lovely & with a purpose too. and i love that sir laughsalot collects dandelion bouquets for his mom. so sweet!!

    nancy - thank you!!

    jules - thanks for stopping by & sharing your thoughts. ;o)

    suz - thank you, friend. as always, i appreciate your reflections.

    tammy - miss you, girl!! sorry things have been so crazy lately. and i think you're right: if a life has meaning, it's because the Creator says it does. not from anything that the dandelion possesses in & of itself, but that which its Creator has given it.

    yeah, something like that.

    caleb - wow. thank you. i'm not sure what to say.

    terri - i agree, we miss a lot of beauty with that word, "just". let's strike those instances of it from our vocabulary.