Hope for the Empty Shell

My kids are going to have memories of me pulling the car over to chase down photo opportunities of random flowers and trees, which I’m hoping doesn’t require too many hours of future counseling. I pray in their own way they realize the value in seeking andFullSizeRender-2 seeing beauty even in the most familiar places. The trees along our carpool route beg to be photographed and remembered in all their glory as they burst with blooms. Tulips adorn walkways and mulch beds with their painted heads nodding in the breeze and inviting a sigh of relief to winter’s end. It’s worth the occasional inconvenience or consequence to step out into the daylight and experience firsthand the burst of new life all around. IMG_2054

This week something less vibrant caught my eye. Surrounded by spring’s unmistakable beauty was this milkweed shell. It sat empty, rattling vacant in the warm afternoon breeze. There’s a lot of metaphors that could be said for this image, but the one that caught my heart was purpose. The emptiness of the milkweed shell does not negate its purpose; in fact, it fulfills it. Had this pod remained full of the downy seed in this season, it would’ve been a beautiful photo, but a waste of potential life. I say this because all too often I try to play it safe and hold onto what needs to be given away. We all have experiences, talents, and gifts unique to us and sometimes they’ve developed under difficult or challenging seasons making them hard to release. They might be buIMG_2065ried in painful memories or layers of self-protection. Sometimes our hearts just lack generosity or motivation to let go of something that has been hard earned. We can feel entitled to something we’ve worked for. Like the milkweed, there’s purpose and new life in letting go and trusting that God will carry our gift where He purposes. We can trust that new life will come of it even if we have to wait through a winter to see it. What are you holding onto in this season that needs to be let go?

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