Rattling off a handful of names as if to recite the alphabet or a grocery list, she was clueless as to the weight of her words on my hungry ears. I doubt Mrs. Golightly ever gave it another thought.
As for me—I’ll not forget.
Never did I imagine my name sandwiched among the students our favored English teacher deemed gifted at writing.
Really? My…writing? This mysterious news wandered the halls of my baffled mind. Peculiar. Lovely. Greek to me, as I sat in the middle of English. An otherwise average afternoon turned on its head, spilling this most curious sentiment. Handing back papers that day, Mrs. Golightly responded to the random question of a fellow student—a question I only heard in part. But, the answer—oh, did the answer ring through my ears in full.
She said “Brenda”.
I’d surely cringe to see those ninth-grade papers of mine today, but Mrs. Golightly did what all good teachers do—she built up. And, in the way they always do…without even realizing she’d done it.
Still strangers—yesterday’s high school freshman and today’s lover of words couldn’t have picked each other out had they been walking down Main Street together. Unaware of the budding passion within, the extent of my writing at that time consisted of obligatory class assignments.
But, there it was. In the last classroom to the left of the gym, on a hot Florida day, she said “Brenda.”
Fast forward to another random question with another surprising answer.
Still young, but now married with children, my husband and I are guests at a wedding shower. Of course, it wouldn’t be a couple’s wedding shower without the requisite Newlywed Game. Men and women segregate as each seek to channel the other’s replies, eager to win the much-coveted vegetable peeler. Regrouping, the silly mismatched answers unfold like a room full of children with a substitute teacher. And, because you obviously want to know—we’re well on our way to becoming the proud owners of one mack-daddy vegetable peeler.
Then—all innocent-like—Random Question Meets Surprising Answer, Take II.
My husband was asked: “If she could choose any job, what would your wife like to do?” His response was a sweet one. A true one. Thus beginning and ending the similarities between our answers.
He replied, “What she’s already doing. She’d be a mom.” Bless him. It was true.
The response scribbled across my card: “Writer.”
I enjoyed writing, but this nearly took me by as much surprise as Mrs. Golightly’s remark more than a decade earlier. Yesteryear’s seed hadn’t been unearthed and assigned a name—until targeted and put on the spot with this makeshift, Bob Eubanks-less Newlywed Game.
But, there it was. In a cramped house at the edge of the city, on a clear Florida night, I said “writer.”
While all of this was busy being news to me—it didn’t catch the Seed Planter asleep in a lawn chair wearing a wide-brimmed straw hat.
Now, as then, He remains in-the-know, keeping careful watch of the hope He embedded. His hope, long before it became a hope that we shared.
He showers it with cool spring rains of promise, and prunes it with refining winds of summer storms. He gathers the brittle, broken leaves of autumn, foreseeing their future beauty. Carefully, He tends the roots, nourishing them from His wellspring, privy to the internal progress of winter yet unseen by external means.
It’s been 30 years since the Planter scattered seed from His cupped hand into the soil Mrs. Golightly faithfully tilled. And, nearly 20 years since that wedding shower where the fledgling sprout was given an assignment…a calling.
Still deepening roots with sky-stretched shoots, I’m forever humbled by the calling—the joy. As the seed rises up with growth and discovery, its purest delight is in tenderly wrapping itself with a pretty fresh bow, and re-gifting to God the art of His own hands.
This lovely song of Bebo Norman’s eloquently flows into the spaces of my spirit, capturing the cry of my soul:
“Take my time on this earth,
and let it glorify all that You are worth
For I am nothing without You.”
Beautifully intertwined is the honor of doing what we love, and having God meet us right there in it. Each planted for the other, beside streams of living water, bearing seed-lavished fruit in season—begetting a cyclical rhythm that blessedly outlives us.
Oh, sweet Father, take the new joys of spring, and the shadowy heartaches of autumn; the quiet beauty of winter’s waiting spaces, and the pain of summer’s storms—take all that I am. Use it, I pray. Transform it. Somehow. Anyhow. Glorify—all that You are worth—for indeed, I am nothing outside of You.
This post is my contribution to the Compel Linkup Challenge. The Compel lesson that I used to write this post, was Karen Ehman’s April 2015 lesson, “Finding Writing Ideas”. I used Karen’s brilliant suggestion of picking up a coin, and using the date on the coin to recall what was going on in your life that year. The coin that I picked up was dated 1985. I was the high school student of a dream weaver in 1985. 🙂
Amber Paulsen says
Hi! I’m a Compel member too, that’s where I found your link. Beautiful blog, friend! I LOVE the title “Chasing Holiness”. As my husband and I have grown in the Lord especially over the last 2 years – our number 1 desire has been the Lord and “being holy” as He is holy. *although in moments of frustration I forget this. Keep writing for His glory and may the Lord bless and anoint your writing. 🙂 P.S. You ARE a writer, it’s obvious.
Awe, Amber, you’re so sweet. Thanks so much for your kind words.
Thank you for coming by!
You are a gifted weaver of words, indeed! This is a method I have not yet employed, but you may have inspired me! Thanks for the gift of your words!
Bless you, Liz.
“For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.” Philippians 2:13
I love that verse! Recently, I’ve been thinking about my 5th grade teacher and how much she inspired me to write. Every Friday she would pass out cookies and allow us to go the front of the class and read something we had written that week. It was purely voluntary and I LOVED it. I didn’t love standing in front of the class but I loved the motivation to write something and to listen to everyone else read theirs. Thank you for sharing your stories with us. Thank you for encouraging me today. 🙂
What a gift that teacher was. 🙂
Thanks for stopping by and reading, Gina.
Patty Sche says
Thanks, Brenda. Writing has been a longtime venture for me as well. In seventh grade, I wrote a little piece about A Mother’s Love that went viral before anyone knew what that was. It hasn’t been until recently that I would even say, “I’m a writer.” But that is what I am. So nice to meet others out there through this COMPEL link-up. Thanks for stopping by my blog and leaving a comment.
Oh fun, you should share that 7th grade post sometime! 🙂
Thank you coming by and reading, Patty. 🙂
Kim Stewart says
Brenda, love how you used Karen’s lesson in your writing. Thanks for sharing your words with your Compel sisters on the linkup today!
Thanks for stopping by and encouraging me today, Kim.
Kaylie Hodges says
Brenda this is beautiful! I love this part, “Each planted for the other, beside streams of living water, bearing seed-lavished fruit in season—begetting a cyclical rhythm that blessedly outlives us.” So wonderful! Thank you for sharing your heart!
Oh, thank you, Kaylie for your sweet words of encouragement.
Rachel Britton says
A beautiful memory to hold onto and nourish.
Thanks for stopping by and reading, Rachel.
Crystal Storms says
Brenda, I love how a seed planted so young took deep roots that continued to grow and are blossoming today. Giving glory to the Planter, our great God who enables you to write for His glory!
Crystal, what an encouragement your kind words are.
Thank you ((hug))
Rachel Q says
I love this! What a great story! I guess I missed that tip about flipping the coin but I love that idea! thanks for the writing inspiration.
Let me know if you try it, Rachel, I’d love to read yours too. 🙂
Thank you for stopping by and reading.
Melanie Davis Porter says
This is beautiful Brenda! I so understand that soul desire to write – that drives our dreams. Thank you GOD for English teachers! I have one too that was very instrumental in my writing. Mrs. Witt – she was tough, mean and didn’t like cheerleaders or football players, but she liked me enough that she expected my best! Beautiful heart song from you today! I heard it loud and clear! Have a blessed weekend!
Well, thank God for the Mrs. Witts of the world too. 🙂
Thank you for your sweet words of encouragement today!
Michelle Athens says
This was such a good essay. It brought back memories for me in my own writing journey. God is good.
Yes He is! 🙂
Thanks for stopping by and encouraging me today, Michelle.