Mark 4:30-32

After my husband, Blake, and I got married, we decided we needed some houseplants. We bought a lavender plant that quickly died, a few succulents, some vegetable plants, and a small African violet. Our first apartment was shaded under big trees, so Blake thought it would be a good idea to put the plants out in the yard for some sun time. That was how we learned that African violets don’t like direct sunlight. We scorched it. Our poor African violet looked like it had died. All the leaves turned brown and fell off. But slowly, it came back to life.

A few years later we moved to New York City. The move was traumatizing for the violet. It wilted and died (or so I thought). But slowly it acclimated to its new home and came back to life. After that, we had a fungus gnat problem. Instead of looking up solutions, we sprinkled a few drops of lavender oil in the soil. Turns out, African violets don’t like that either. Again, the leaves turned brown; it looked like a sad little stump. I was sure it was a goner. At this point, I should have known that this plant was going to survive no matter what I do. It came back—this time with two crowns. So I divided it, and gave a piece of the most resilient plant I have ever met to a friend.

Our small African violet keeps teaching me about resurrection. I see its big mustard tree energy: deeply rooted, ever hopeful and wise. And I wonder if God especially likes filling up some of the smallest things with the most life-giving love.


What small things in your life are guiding you to truth?


God of grace, make me like the mustard tree, or the African violet: deeply rooted, ever hopeful, and as wise as possible. Fill me up with life-giving love. Amen.

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