By Sarah Damm


On a particular day in April, cool and sunny and not requiring a jacket, I picked up my kids from school. As I walked across the city street to the school, something caught my attention.

A leaf. Shaped as a heart. Just waiting for me to notice.

The leaf looked weathered and worn, surviving the harsh winter we were finally recovering from, but its heart shape made me pause.


As I contemplated the wonder of the heart-shaped leaf, I realized that I was gazing at a reflection of myself. The leaf looked tattered, worn, and lifeless. And that’s exactly how I felt—physically, spiritually, mentally, and emotionally.


God knew this. And through nature, He shaped that weathered-looking leaf into a heart to promise me more. The heart shape of that leaf gave me a sense of hope, strength, and determination.


Because just as harsh realities of winter shaped that leaf into a heart, the barren, wintery landscape of my soul was shaping me, too.


In his book Lift Up Your Heart, Fr. John Burns writes, “God is at work in our lives in countless ways we may never see …”


Yes, God works behind the scenes in ways we don’t realize, until we can reflect back and see His handiwork.


On the surface, the landscape may look lifeless, but He works underneath the ground to encourage tulips to push through the thawed-out ground, and He works within tree branches to encourage green buds to sprout out.


In turn, we can look and feel worn and weary. But God is at work underneath the surface of our lives and within the hidden recesses of our hearts to prepare new life to blossom and flourish.


So, my sisters, whatever dryness, emptiness, or hopelessness you may feel … however long and weary the journey has been, take heart! God is at work, in the barrenness of your desert and in the winter garden of your life that has yet to show signs of spring. He is doing something new, shaping your heart to be more like His. He not only promises this; he also sends reassuring reminders. So, look up; look down! Keep your eyes open! Signs of His love for you and His work in you are all around.


About the author:

Sarah Damm is a Catholic wife and mother of six children, living in Minnesota. She spends her days running errands, helping with homework, and keeping up with laundry and the family schedule. Sarah loves her faith, coffee, and good books. You can find out more about her and her writing at




Photo courtesy of Sarah Damm.  Used with permission.  All rights reserved.