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Some of my stories are published in:
A Cup of Comfort Devotional for Mothers and Daughters (Adams Media, 2009)
Chicken Soup: What I Learned from the Dog (2009)
Love is a Flame (Bethany House, 2010)
Extraordinary answers to Prayer (Guideposts, 2010)
Love is a Verb (Bethany House, 2011)
Big Dreams from Small Spaces (Group Publishing, 2012)

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Faithful Sowing

When I was a little girl, so little that the memories are only shadowy pictures in my mind, I attended church. I don't think I went regularly. But I have a vague recollection of being seated in a classroom, being instructed by sweet old women.  Mostly they told stories and used Biblical flannel figures which they placed on a large flannel board. Then we would make things with glue and cotton balls.
Later, after we had moved closer to San Francisco, my mother tried going to church again.
Although I was nine or ten, the stories those women told in my new Sunday School seemed awfully familiar:
David and Goliath,
Elijah and the false prophets of Baal,
 Jesus in the manger,
Jesus on the cross.
At this new church, we kids were able to earn a Bible with our name inscribed in gold letters if we'd come to Sunday School ten times in a row.
I really wanted that Bible.
So I fulfilled my ten weeks and scored a beautiful white, leather Bible.
It had a zipper, and my name was inscribed in gold letters at the bottom right.
And for memorizing a certain amount of scripture verses I won a framed print of Jesus, which I hung over my bed.

Something happened and we stopped going to church again.
I didn't read the white Bible. The words in it seemed hard to understand.
I'd open it from time to time to see if I could understand the words in the New Testament.
But those letters from Paul and Peter and James didn't make sense to me.

A few years later, my mother decided to try the church thing again. By this time I was a teen.
I got involved in the youth group and came to know some terrific kids who loved God and could actually understand the Bible.
I wanted what they had.
I'd go home and stare at the picture of Christ above my bed.
I always believed that He is the Son of God.
What was missing?
Why did I always feel like I was standing outside in the cold, uninvited, peering through the window at a grand and glorious party?

At church, for the first time, the gospel message was clearly explained.
And I responded in faith to Jesus.

Many things changed after that.
The words in my white Bible instantly made sense.
I felt for the first time that I belonged to God.
I had a strong sense that He was very near and was operating inside of me.
And I stopped fearing death.

As I've grown older, I've often thought about those sweet old women who faithfully taught truth from God's Word. Their lessons sowed seeds in my mind and heart. And through the next ten years, the seeds quietly waited for just the right conditions in order to sprout.

We may never know how a single affirming word, or brief testimony, or quiet act of kindness may be used by God in some other person's life. Or you may be the blessed person who gets to reap what others faithfully, through the years, sowed.
I wonder if God will tell us when we get to heaven. Or will those, through whom we've sowed, come up and thank us?
Some day I hope to find those lovely older women who taught us preschoolers and elementary kids about God. I think I'd say, "You never got to see the fruit of your work, so I'm here to present myself to you. Thank you that you planted God's Word in me, and when the time was right He called me to Himself."

"I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest. Even now the reaper draws his wages, even now he harvests the crop for eternal life, so that the sower and the reaper may be glad together. Thus the saying, 'one sows and another reaps' is true. I sent you to reap what you have not worked for. Others have done the hard work, and you have reaped the benefits of their labor."
John 4: 36-38 NIV Bible)


  1. What a wonderful story Dena, thanks for sharing from your life. Keep that soil turned! Marilyn

  2. I have similar early memories with the flannelgraphs and stories. My parents took me to church from birth into adulthood. At the age of 9, I gave my heart to Jesus. :)

    Thank you for sharing your testimony.

  3. Dena, I haven't thought of the white Bible with zipper and my name in gold for years. Wow, what a reminder...and yes the sweet older lady who taught Sunday School. Those memories were the foundation for our faith. Thank you for ever inspiring!

  4. Marilyn, Susan, and Bobbe, I hope I get the chance to thank those women for their faithful instruction.Perhaps they're already in heaven. I hope the Lord said, "Well done, good and faithful servant."