This painting is a mirror. We are all a strange seed.

We all walk as seeds to be planted in the soil of this world.  Our lives were created to be spilt.  This is where we really find life.

But this is not so simple.  Understanding the variety of our own seed can perplex and discourage.  We fear that if we are not like everyone else (supposedly absent of challenges and achieving so-called success) then we are not worth being planted or nurtured; and certainly not to be fruitful or enjoyed.

Each joy and sorrow shape us.  Constantly, we become more and more transformed into a soul who can bear beautiful fruit.  There is not much in our control.  We are not masters of our own destinies.  We simply do not have that much power in our possession.

Given the choice to choose our own circumstances time after time, we would never choose heartache or hurt.  We would choose airy spaces.  We would choose rest and not work.  We would choose pleasure over boredom.  We would put ourselves in the bright light at all times.  Little do we understand that our color would fade and our potential diminish.  Our lives would atrophy and we would care for little more than ourselves.

It is in the challenges that our character is grown.  Work brings skill, tight places bring ingenuity, boredom gives us ample time to pray.  It is in the darkness that color seems to be most beautiful.  A journey through a shadowed crevice may tempt us to fear, but it is here that we realize our true color bounces boldly from the dark backdrop.

Not only does this journey shape us into the ripened seed we become, it points us to the soil where we are best planted.  A strange seed is intended to rest in a soil cultivated just for it to thrive, to invest, serve and multiply.

The only way life happens the way it was intended is to know the Gardener.  We do well to realize that He comes in each morning to observe if our branches should be pruned, fertilized, watered or propped to stand.  Watering and fertilization are those times of light and peace when the sun feels good on our faces.  Darkness is when the pruning comes in.  It can sting. It feels harsh and even harmful.  But in that time of wondering if the Gardner has good intention, we can trust that He is making us better.  Our color will soon be backlit with a more radiant heart and capacity to serve in our world.

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit He prunes…I am the vine; you are the branches.  Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.”