In New Wine Wednesday

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 sarahdamm.com.

 

 

 

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

Showing 18 comments
  • Elizabeth
    Reply

    Perfect for me today!! Thank you for your words and insight. Love it.

    • Elizabeth T
      Reply

      Beautiful and thoughtful reflection, Sarah. Thank you!

    • Sarah Damm
      Reply

      Thank you, Elizabeth!

  • Mary Ellen
    Reply

    Beautiful! Your post today in my mailbox is my ‘heart-shaped leaf’. Thank you for this enduring and beautiful reminder. <3

    • Sarah Damm
      Reply

      So glad you found some encouragement through this story. God bless, Mary Ellen!

  • Carol Younger
    Reply

    Wonderful read to start my day!! God bless you, Sarah!!!

  • Sharon
    Reply

    Needed to hear this today!

    • Sarah Damm
      Reply

      This is something we all need to hear from time to time … Thankfully, God doesn’t get tired of giving us so many reminders of His love!

  • Gwen
    Reply

    What a wonderful way to think about that worn out leaf. I MAY have just thought “oh, look at that leaf, it’s shaped like a heart” and walked along…..but you took to heart what the meaning really was from God! I love it and yes, we never know what God has brewing for us beneath the surface. Thank you, Sarah, for this perfect reminder!

  • Marilyn
    Reply

    I wonder how many beautiful blessings and communications from God I miss. Your writing helped me to look everywhere, for He is present everywhere and always with us. I have had a difficult time with anxiety and found your message to be a comfort this morning as I start my day. Thank you, Sarah.

    • Sarah Damm
      Reply

      I am sorry to hear of your anxiety, Marilyn. That is so hard, I know. Just remember that God loves you so much, and He cares so much about what you are going through.

  • Mary
    Reply

    Thank you Sarah, for the reminder to look up & down, for God indeed is all around, waiting to show us His love! Just what I needed with another cloudy, cool morning in the Midwest. God bless you!

    • Sarah Damm
      Reply

      Mary, one time a priest reminded me that our faith helps us know that the sun (or Son) is always shining just beyond the clouds. It has helped me so much, especially when life feels dark and dreary.

  • Evelyn
    Reply

    That was a very touching & timely reminder & reflection of your life, Sarah.
    Thank you for the reminder to look all around – even up & down to see how much God loves us.

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