For Those Who Refuse To Live Shallow

Life’s been a little hard. A little rocky. Lord? Oh, Lord?

I spoke with my mom on the phone. We talked about the hardness of life, and she said these words I’ll never forget 

“Baby, you keep in God’s Word. You stay in God’s Word, no matter what.”

“I will, Mom. I do, Mom.”

Keep doing that thing, she’d meant. Love the Lord with all … your all … can’t-get-enough-all. 

I’ll stay in God’s World  Word. As I wrote my mom’s comment, I accidentally typed “world” instead of “word” … is there a difference? 

Running out of Wal-Mart, Wally World, that evening, I noticed this …

I stopped for a double-take. A tiny purplish petunia grew in the crevice between the cement curb and the parking lot. How beautiful.

Bloom right where you’re planted.

But then I immediately thought of Matthew 13the parable of the sower.

“A farmer went out to sow his seed …. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root.” Mt 13:3,6

How sad.

And I knew this precious flower didn’t stand a chance. Regardless of Wal-Mart’s success, this little thing didn’t stand a chance. Doomed. First of all, it’s an annual, and in Texas, for sure, that means it only gets one chance at this life. One chance. Then it withers away, ne’er to return. Second of all, there was no where for its roots to grow, to grow down deep. What roots? It bloomed in shallow soil.

Here today. Gone tomorrow. All its precious seeds will blow away.

What does shallow even mean? Lacking depth … depth of anything, I suppose. 

Oh, Lord, how I long for depth … depth of you.

Shallow is safe. Depth is downright dangerous. 

Shallow seems pretty. Depth seems dirty.

The shallow isn’t pretty very long … like sitting prim and proper, wearing white shorts, wearing sandals to a race. 

The dirty is pretty for always … like

The one standing by their child through every vial of blood drawn.
The one traveling overseas to meet their child for the first time.
The one remaining through every chemo drip.
The one staying up all night with a sick baby.
The one cleaning up throw-up, spit-up.
The one pulling every loose tooth.
The one digging out splinters from every tiny finger.
The one changing those soiled diapers.
The one feeding the child who can’t feed themselves.
The one pushing the child who can’t walk.
The one mending their child’s broken heart.
The one guiding their child to appropriate dress through strong opposition.
The one shielding a child through bullying.
The one lifting up the child who failed.
The one hugging the child who didn’t make the team.
The one preparing their child to leave home.
The one releasing their child to the armed services.
The one helping their child overcome obstacles.
The one swallowing their child’s diagnosis.
The one leaning over their child’s casket.
The one wiping away every tear cried.
The one praying over their child.
The one offering …

In Jesus’ name.

The scary, the dirty, the beautiful.

Our kids remember everything we invest in them and everything we don’t.

On the surface …

I’d rather be doing this or that. Sometimes I want those white shorts, with white sandals, sitting prim and proper on some white sand.

But down deep …

I don’t want a shallow pretty. 

I want my hands and my heart to get dirty.

I want my kids to remember an investment, in them, in others, in God.

Remember when Mama did that? or My mama never did that.

I want to be a sower. I want to be a Mama-did.

I want to bloom deep and wide where I’m planted.

Walk me out, Father. Walk me out to dangerous territory, your dangerous territory. I want to reside in your world in this world. Take me out to the dirty work. Because that’s where my roots will grow. Grow down deep. In good soil. Thrive. Really live. Last for eternity.

We only get one chance at this life. 

One chance.


What can you add to the dirty, dangerous, beautiful list? For your kids, your family, your friends, your animals? And how have you grown from the experience?

22 thoughts on “For Those Who Refuse To Live Shallow

  1. Shelli, this is hope-inspired. I love the petunia, speaking its glory in a hard place, like us when the road is difficult (as you and I have both known in our life experiences). It stands out in contrast to its surroundings. To God be the Glory.


  2. It sure was, Andrew. And it's funny … I wrote the post from my heart and then began questioning if I'd written it the right way. Maybe I should have written something about blooming when your stuck between a rock and a hard spot. 🙂 But isn't it sweet to think that maybe, just maybe God let that little flower bloom just for me? Just so I'd see it. And I'd take a picture. And write about it. But I did get stuck a little on the legacy … where will its seeds go? But well, I guess its legacy lives in me and my memory and my lessons. 🙂


  3. Shelli…I think that the flower took it into its little purple heart to bloom for you. Flowers aren't fallen. Only we are.

    And legacy?

    The way I look at it…either everything means everything, or nothing does.


  4. Beautifully inspiring post, Shelli. Your pictures drew me into the heart of your message. I feel like I fall short in the mothering department. I want to be a mama-did. Yesterday, during a parent-did moment, I thought about someone I know who wasn't a parent-did person and grieved for that individual who missed out on so much. Yes, I have made some mama-did memories. And by His grace I hope to add plenty more. Thank you for sharing and pointing us to Jesus. <3
    Blessings, dear friend ~ Wendy


  5. Amen, Andrew. I just got home from the store, and as I was driving away, I could have cried … I forgot to check on the flower. It's probably gone … but … I didn't check. Maybe I'll get to go back tonight. I've got to pick up medicine for my daughter. 🙂


  6. Goosebumps and shivers… I just prayed this morning for my children (& I put in a special request for grandchildren) to meet and marry the people of God's choosing (& in His timing)—people who love Him. Yes, amen to your/our hope, dear Shelli. 🙂


  7. Very moving message. I likely the shallow faith to the lukewarm Christian in Revelations. But many of us get into shallow waters at times depending on how comfortable our lives are. Faith flourishes when we must lean on Him.


  8. Yes, great post. Our children need to see us making an investment in them, in our spouses, in God. They need to know that we are committed for the long haul, no matter what. They need deep, Godly examples stepping out in faith, driven by love, and earnestly praying for and with them daily. We need to leave them with a “Mamma, or my case, a Papa did”


  9. Oh, so true. And how I thank you for stopping by and commenting. Means so much. Yes, we walk out to the deep, then venture back to the shallow. And just a funny thought … “all shark attacks happen in under 4 feet of water” …. Oh, yes … the times of having to lean on Him are hard … but wow, I wouldn't trade them for anything. That's when I've grown to love Him the most, the closest to Him I've ever felt. To need Him with every single breath … oh, to daily live that way.


  10. Bloom where you're planted has always had great meaning for me because it's about attitude. And being willing. One must be willing for whatever God has in store. He loves small beginnings. I think Andrew's right. That petunia was just for you. A God wink.

    This made me think of a time when I found a glove (but I didn't keep it) setting on the ground in an open parking spot at Panera Bread. I wondered about all day who'd be missing that glove. Someday that thing is gonna make it into a story of mine.

    Love you, Shelli.


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