Sunflower Seeds

When the kids were still playing ball, I remember my youngest step-daughter, Sadie, and step-son, Jaxon, sitting in the dugout eating sunflower seeds. It was hot and muggy and the kids were all growing a little tired and cranky. Sadie and Jaxon were spitting out the sunflower seeds after they sucked all the salt off of them.

They would measure who could spit the seed the furthest and went on to tell me not to worry about the mess they were making because there were going to be sunflowers growing everywhere. I smiled and reminded them to just watch out for people’s feet because they had nailed a mom in flip-flops at least 3 times already.

It made me consider that maybe we all spit our seeds at people. If you think about what words do to people, it’s sort of frightening. It’s even more concerning when you have a child in your home who is a rising 8th grader. Children are careless with words and are merciless with what they say to people. What seeds will be spit at her?

Proverbs 12:18

There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.

We live in a world that values the last word. Our society applauds the sarcastic or the ones “bold” enough to tear someone down to their face. What is this world teaching our children? What are we doing about it?

Proverbs 18:21

Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.

Our tongues are the most powerful weapons. I am a talker. I can hold a conversation with a perfect stranger. I can tell anyone exactly how I feel or what I think and either encourage or destroy. Often I believe that since my words are not visible and I don’t see them leave my lips like a comic book, that they just disintegrate once they are said. In fact, according to experience and to scripture, they are like seeds that bear fruit. Words can be a direct reflection of the heart. What do my words say about my heart?

Matthew 15:18

But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them

I know people who are chronically miserable and unkind. They speak from hearts of hate or hurt or brokenness and deposit little gardens of pain and doubt in the people around them. I also know people who are loving and uplifting when they speak. Those are the hearts that I admire.

Sometimes I am most careless with my words when speaking to those I love the most. My husband and I have been watching sermons on marriage. We watched one that truly epitomized the root of many of our disagreements (every relationship has them!).

The pastor talked about having an Ephesians 5 marriage. What it boiled down to was that submission was actually mutual in a biblical marriage. Both parties were called to exhibit different acts of submission (Sorry, fellas!) Submission sounds so negative and many men and women think it is one-sided and that women are inferior and are mere servants to their husbands. It was hard to hear that part of the bible for this woman. I had been a strong, independent, single mama bear for years and I was not about to hear the word submit!

Submission actually translates to respect. The pastor went on to explain that respect is the most important thing to men. Just a side note, women’s most important need in a marriage is to feel valued and supported. Pretty spot on for this wife!

There have been times when my husband said he would do something and weeks later I’m still waiting for it to be done. It drives me insane. Out of frustration I may say things like, “You never do anything you say you will.” I may even say “You do nothing at home.”

I’m being honest here because I’m not a perfect wife. How can I look at the man I chose, the man that I love, and globalize or generalize his overall actions based on whether or not he fixed one thing at home? Not very respectful. Trust me, my husband often shows up for me and he does help out.

My frustration is never an excuse to be so disrespectful. No one will ever give you validation to be unkind and I imagine we may have to answer for our words should we not seek forgiveness from God and repent.

The pastor from the video we watched made such a great quote when asked who wears the pants in his relationship. He answered, “My wife and I are equals. We are partners. Jesus Christ wears the pants in my marriage.”

How often do I speak my concerns or fears or frustrations to my husband and then let God be the enforcer? Not often! I’m quick to take matters into my own hands and quick to spit seeds of disrespect or defeat at the person I love the most.

What about when my children do something disobedient or cruel or even dangerous? How often do my sentences start with “you always” or “you never”. How are my words shaping their self-worth?

What about when my friends hurt my feelings? Do I stop the seeds of wrath from flying then? How about a frustrating co-worker or rude and difficult patient? Do I speak ill of them when I get home or vent to another person? Even idle words do damage.

Matthew 12:36

But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.

I’m a talker. I’m told it is a gift and that it makes me a good person to have in any social setting. I’m told I’m a good speaker and that I am a wordsmith. What that means to me is that I’m twice as likely to spit a wrong seed because I do so much talking! I’m twice as accountable and twice as responsible for the gardens I plant in people. I imagine an “I am sorry” or “You are wonderful” or “Even when I am upset I’m grateful to have you” would go a long way.

God wouldn’t put people in our lives or our paths for us to kill them with our words. He has much better plans for the gardens we leave behind. I will be practicing picking better seeds and let Him do the pruning.

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