I have told you all about the process by which Seeds of Grace was born… How God laid the vision on my heart… He has corrected a couple of my misconceptions about that vision over the past nearly 3 years, and He has created something so much bigger than I could ever have imagined. I haven’t shared all of the miracles He has provided – mainly because most of them I don’t even know about yet…
You see, He keeps showing His amazing and all-powerful goodness in a kind of drip-like fashion… We know He planned everything when He created the world… He even knew how He would have to bolster my faith tipping me from doubt into obedience.
One of these miracles actually didn’t have any real direct relationship to Seeds of Grace. You see, God totally redeemed a relationship that I had mourned because I honestly believed that it would never be restored.
Oh my heart ached, at the thought of never seeing my dad again – yes, my dad…
Years of abuse in a dysfunctional family had taken its toll and after I confronted my dad and his denial, I cut ties… for my own safety, mental health and spiritual wellbeing, I stepped far back from my family. I was ostracized by siblings and tormented by my parent’s friends because they couldn’t possibly believe my accusations against my picture perfect dad… My heart broke at the thought that several doors of people I love would be closed to me forever. This is typically how those kinds of things go.
So, fast forward about 11 years, and I start hearing God’s voice – Even before the feeding center building mission trip – God had started teaching me forgiveness. Through messages at church, through my Biblical studies and through conversations with people had put into my life, since I had started deepening my relationship with Him – the messages were so clear… learn to forgive.
The first person I forgave was myself. I have made so many mistakes in my life, hurt so many people. My own dysfunction was deeply ingrained and I worked through many years of counseling and self-discovery. And God was with me through it all. The next people were all those people who took advantage of my brokenness through my adult years – ex-boyfriends, ex-husband(s) and many others who had used me. And God was surely with me through it all.
Then He really started putting my dad on my heart. I felt the pull toward my family, but I could not bring myself to let go of my pain… the suffering of my heart almost felt better than the fear of facing him. I had already mourned him, because I knew that I would not be welcomed at his funeral when the time came. I didn’t want to forgive him, because that left the door open to more pain, more rejection and mourning all over again.
But God’s faithfulness is so much bigger than my fear – and He was with me through it all… So then comes our very first garden build in Mexico. April 2014. God spoke to me in a way I did not expect. As I cleaned up metal scraps from building our shed, I tossed them into the scrap pile. As I threw a handful of pieces of square and round tubing into the scrap heap, I heard, “Don’t throw that away, Seeds of Grace can use that”
Of course, I stopped, looked around and wondered who may have said that. I went about the business of building the garden, the shed, the fence and cleaning up the scraps, and as I threw another handful into the scrap heap, I heard that voice again… “You can use that, Karole. Don’t throw it away. Seeds of Grace can make money from it.” In my head, because there were so many people around and I didn’t want anyone to think I was crazy, I asked, “is this you, God, or is it me?” He said, “You can make jewelry out of it and sell it for Seeds of Grace.”
I knew it must have been my own head making this conversation up, because I am not a metalworker – I have no tools, I have no skills – and just as I was making that argument, God interrupted with, “No, but your dad does.”
I dropped the scraps into the heap and I went for a long walk. I tearfully asked Him how it is that He can expect me to do this thing? Why now? I am too afraid. I am still too hurt and angry. God simply reassured me in a loving caress that opened my heart. And then He said, “Now, go tell someone so you are accountable.”
Man! He asks a lot! But I remember a wise man once telling me, “God gives you a little responsibility to see how you do, and then your big responsibility will follow”. I honestly thought the task of building this garden was the big thing to follow… but nope! God’s plan is so much bigger than I know…
Don’t ask me how I was able to transport a box of metal tubing scraps home through all of the crazy security, but I was. And once home, all I could do was make excuse after excuse, day after day about how I didn’t have time to get out to my dad’s. Until one Thursday afternoon, I happened to be picking up my daughter from school and I heard God very clearly tell me to look into the back of the truck. I did, and there was the box of scraps – I had no more excuses.
As I drove out to dad’s, I felt the usual dread whenever I would go anywhere near there, but God was comforting me. I could feel His presence. He gave me courage… He gave me peace.
I believe that God had been working on dad’s heart too, because when I pulled up and parked my car, he stopped his riding lawn mower and walked over me. My daddy embraced me and asked me to forgive him. In that moment I felt every bit of anger, frustration, fear and pain melt away. I also was totally filled up with the most wonderful love!
It was two months later that my dad had a heart attack, and all I could do was praise God that He restored our relationship, because the subsequent surgery led to the discovery of terminal cancer. My dad died a year later. And I was able to nurse him, love him and pray with him. I was able to ask him what he thought God gave him this extra time for.
I was able to tell my dad this story about God’s miracle – about how He used Seeds of Grace to redeem our relationship. About how God wanted me to really know my dad… the one that God knew…
I really miss my dad.