Two years ago I planted a plot of strawberry plants.

I had dreams of juicy red fruit growing organically in my backyard, picked by my minions – er, children – and overflowing bowls of pretty red jewels set out on my table for guests to enjoy.

I asked a friend to come over and dig up the soil. I had my husband line the plot with two by fours. I tended and watered and weeded.

If I had a nickel for every time someone stopped to tell me how hard strawberries were to grow, how the effort wasn’t worth it, I could have paid for a much nicer plot.

I just smiled and nodded and shoved the words deep down inside.

What I should have told them was:

“I’m not growing strawberries. I’m growing commitment.”

Let me explain.

I had thought about growing strawberries for years. Friends grew strawberries and would leave little boxes on our counter. I looked at other local’s raised beds and wanted some for myself. But then I would almost instantly think, “Well, who knows how long we’ll be here.”

Here is where ministry life enters in. It can be weird. Change and calls can enter at any time and plans have to remain flexible. Hearts have to remain flexible. That’s hard for someone like me who is whole-heartedly in, and easily whole-heartedly disappointed.

But you know what…

Life is weird. Change can happen anytime, anywhere, in any profession, in any relationships.

I realized that I was saving half of my heart for what might be. Keeping it safe, committing only pieces of myself so that I wouldn’t have to hurt, to say goodbye. At some point I realized that I was robbing myself of real relationships for what might be, even what would be. I was giving half-heartedly of who I was and expecting whole-hearts back.

Friendships need to be made, and wholeheartedness is not really an option, in life or in ministry.

And so I planted a strawberry patch.

I planted something large, that would take effort, and that I might have to walk away from.

It was beautiful. And it grew 14 strawberries.

Look at this bounty –


Then, God called us away.

He called us to something new; to plant somewhere else. Oh goodness, it was hard. And every day I fight to be all-in here as well. Questions assail:

Will they like me?

Will they want me?

When will they get tired of me?

I know it’s not about me, but I have to be real. Relationships are hard and hard work and sometimes it seems that finding other people who want to be all-in are scarce.

Because of Christ, we can do it anyway.

Give your whole heart.

Plant something.

Start something.

No matter what tomorrow brings, no matter the response, grow love, and grow commitment to that love.

Christ stands as a constant reminder of the all-in love that our Father gives to us. He gave His whole heart, knowing what would come eventually, knowing that He would have to say goodbye, but trusting the Plan.

Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.  Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children.  And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. (Ephesians 4:32-5:2)

All-in, my friends. All-in.

12 thoughts on “”

  1. Prepping for Sunday School this week, I read a passage in Jeremiah that was so striking to me. In the midst of telling the Israelites they will be scattered and exiled and away for decades, he tells them to build houses and plant gardens and connect themselves to where they are. Jeremiah 29:5-7. It’s become my theme verse for the foreseeable future; it was neat to see that echoed here this morning!

  2. Yes, Heidi, all in. We certainly did go all in. We love you. Jyeva had a handful of beautiful berries. God has you busy growing his kingdom \.

  3. Wow! This really resonates with me- in the past year and a half or so I’ve not been all-in- or at least afraid to make plans so I understand. My husband was diagnosed with Congestive Heart Failure what felt like out of the blue (he literally went into for a baseline due to his father’s history and came out being told he could need a heart transplant in 3-6 months- which wasn’t accurate- thankfully.) But, now, I think I’ve leaned into how unpredictable the future is and many times I find myself not being all-in. I don’t want to think about buying a house (what if he takes a turn for the worse, I may not want to live here without him). I don’t want to make plans for trips (we had to cancel one trip when he suddenly went into the hospital). I hesitate every time he talks about making long term plans or even when he talks about buying some things for his hobbies. It’s only brought home how we don’t know what God’s plans are for us. But as of late, I’m realizing I need to settle into the this new normal and in many ways be all-in to this life here and now. I’m sure somewhere there’s a balance that I just need to explore.

    1. New normal is a good way to think of it. Life is so unpredictable and health challenges definitely throw us off kilter, almost more so when they’re our spouse’s! God works in the exploration. God give you peace in the wrestling, Amy!

  4. Heidi,
    I enjoyed this post very much, helped me remember we are to be planted, available but ready to be potted and replanted elsewhere according to His Plan.
    And so we give ourselves up with His help and grace, as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God the Father. To then be replanted according to His perfect love filled plan for the kingdom.

    *** <3 And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. Ephesians 5:2 ESV

  5. Heidi, your devotion today was a “direct hit”! Thank you, I have always loved you and your open, all-in heart! Ever since Pastor Moore took the call to MN, Mark and I have both been “lost” in many ways. We tried SO hard to stay at Immanuel, so HARD. Church shouldn’t be so hard. We were all but asked to leave. We fervently prayed and looked for a new church to call home. A five year search, we finally settled for one for lack of a place where we could serve. This June, we will be members there for 7 years, already, and both Mark and I feel as though we could never go back to that building or His people there and not miss a thing. : ( My heart aches, yearns to serve our Father through His church and be all-in once again! You know me Heidi, we went into our new Pastor’s office and said where can you use us. These are all the ways we’ve served in the past, we would love to continue that here or maybe you have another area for us to try. We are ready, please put us to “work”. We were told, wow, you did all of that, you need to rest. Rest?? Are you kidding me? You have two folks sitting at your desk, willing to be all-in and are told to rest!! I was always under the impression as long as our Father, has us on earth, He has us here for a reason, to go make disciples of all nations. It is SO easy to not even worship regularly here. Mark and I talked on the last day of 2017 and said we need to try and keep pushing ourselves on these folks (all-in) or move on. We simply don’t know where to go (there aren’t many choices). Our hearts are souls are weary. Thank you for being so open and honest, you are a Godsend!

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