Recently I was blessed with an
unexpected, unwanted, undesirable present.
It came in the form of a bird
plopping a gift in my yard.
poop gift carried a seed.
A seed that grew into several
Life has a way of dropping
unexpected gifts on you.
Fertilizer type gifts.
And the funny thing is, these gifts can do
one of two things.
It can sit on the top of the soil
and stink, and attract flies,
it can be allowed to age,
then dug into the soil
and make beautiful things grow.
Even truly nasty, foul smelling,
when aged, lose their pungent odor,
and something good
can come of the experience.
As I worked among my tomatoes, squash,
peppers and flowers,
these plants gifted me
It got ugly, and it got ugly fast.
(If you are really brave, you can see images of
what poison sumac damage looks like here.)
My face swelled up three times its normal size,
and my eye
One of my ears turned purple from the
broken blood vessels.
The burning blisters
transformed me into a
monster of untold ugliness.
My four year old kept asking me,
from across the room,
"Is that really you Mommie?".
I have photos, which my friends have seen,
but they are so incredibly disfiguring
my pride will not allow me to post them here.
Have you ever been
there? Doing a good thing?
BAM, out of nowhere you
harvest something you DID NOT plant?
Something that halted you dead in your tracks,
knocked you off balance and sent you reeling?
Something that even kept you from continuing
to do the "good" thing you had been doing?
IF, that is a big IF, you did not plant this thing,
then don’t take it as a punishment.
Somethings are not “the devil",
things are just part of living in a world
where others choices affect us.
On the other hand,
some of us refuse to acknowledge
we did indeed plant this,
and are reaping the harvest of our own choices.
This gift came the week I was scheduled to
attend a ministry
The Big Mama–Jama Conference.
It is the one time of year I get to
my old college friends, missionary friends
and fellow pastors wife friends.
I get to be with
Honey Pie in services.
him, experience the service with him,
we get to pray together.
It is a rare, and priceless
Now, thanks to the poopy
I’m going to miss it, or at best,
sit in the hotel room alone while
everyone else enjoys the Big Mama-Jama Conf.
I threw a major pity party,
complete with decorations
and special party music
(weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth)
and I danced with my old friends Pain and Pride.
Pain was delighted to join me,
and never left my side.
Pride gleefully chatted nonstop with
delightful diddies about HOW much fun
we were going to have looking EXTRA
with the blistered arms and
steroid facial swelling.
Thankfully, the steroid worked some
chemical magic, and by Tuesday,
I looked human again.
Thankfully the worst of the damage
was covered by my sleeves.
Yes, there is nothing like a little poison rash
on your face
to humble you right up.
If you are really brave, you can see images of what poison sumac damage looks like here.
The poison sumac was my enemy.
The Prednisone was my friend.
But it hurt too.
I won’t bore you with all the details of the fun
friend Prednisone and I had,
let’s just say I was as hyped up as
any meth junkie you’ve ever met.
3 hrs sleep max
shaking inside my skin,
heartbeat throbbing all the way to my
My friend Ginger and I were scheduled
to do a skit,
but I couldn't be sure I would remember my lines,
so she ended up having to do both of our lines,
with me add libbing as we went along.
Let's just say it was NOT my finest hour.
By Thursday I was trembling so badly,
that while standing outside the hotel
talking to Dr. J. Bland,
I jittered RIGHT out of my shoes
fell FLAT on the sidewalk.
The cure, was as painful as the disease.
Ever been there,
desperately miserable, longing for relief?
But the cure looks painful too?
The relationship that just drains you,
there is a cure, but it may cost you a
That job you hate,
maybe the cure is to get more training,
and it’s going to cost you
time, effort & money,
you may need to take a pay cut
in trade for peace
The pain of financial pressure,
the cure is the painful work of
You may need to give up
salt, sugar, gluten or
Sure, it will cost
you, but when you are in pain,
price of setting a healthy boundary
or a healthy budget, or healthy lifestyle
is FAR less than the continued pain of unwise choices.
Don't suffer long term
because you are afraid
of the short term pain.
One ends, the other never does.
While I am not happy that the bird plopped the seed,
nor that it grew, nor that I came in contact with it,
I am glad that I am wiser now.
I now know that my husband loves me
even at my ugliest.
Most women wonder if their spouse
would love them if they were disfigured.
They wonder. I know.
And it is a priceless gift.
I also know that it could have been worse.
We burn limbs and dry grass in our outdoor fire pit,
and had those poison sumac branches been burned,
I would have inhaled the smoke carried urshiol,
which blisters the lining of the lungs, and can be fatal.
Experience sometimes comes at a high price.
But that high price can save you down the road.
I'm wiser than I was.
But I paid dearly for that wisdom.
Every broken relationship saves someone
from a harder broken one down the road.
The tears we shed over some things,
can be God's hand keeping us from something worse.
Not all things are spiritually driven,
but all things have a spiritual application.
The bird passing over my yard was not out to hurt me.
The devil did not make it fly over my
It’s just life.
tells us that the
sun shines and the rain falls
on both those who live justly,
and those who do not.
to us all.
Fertilizer happens to
So the next time you are gifted
unexpected plop on the soil of your life,
instead of asking
why not ask
"What can I learn here?".
Remember that YOU have a choice.
you going to stink?
Or are you
going to grow?