There once was a man. A good man. And he went looking for an apple. He came upon a fruit stand that sold the most beautiful apples. Each one shiny, crisp, red, and full of life. He looked at a row of apples. Each apple was prettier than the next. Everyone told him to take the apples that were untouched and unblemished. They would surely be the sweetest. For some reason this young man walked past them and found a waste basket. In the waste basket was a half eaten apple that was rust in color where several bites had been taken out of it and it had been exposed to the air. This apple had worms eating it and it looked so wretched. No one would dare take that one. It was used up and meant for rubbish.
I can’t figure out why he picked the apple out of the trash but he did. The one that was full of germs and disease. Against the warnings. Against sound reason. He chose the most unworthy one of them all. He gently placed it in his hand and walked away with a smile on his face and spring in step.
Was he going to eat it? Surely he would not, it could make him sick.
What did the man want this filthy apple for?
He gently brushed out the worms and picked all the bad spots off gathering out the seeds it contained. He knew something none of us knew. He knew that there was life in the seed. There was something very special about that apple and he somehow knew that it had the fortitude to create a grand tree that would yield a far nicer harvest of apples than those that would be fit for pies and tarts or fancy things. It was that apple that stood alone and that seemed the best option for him. It was not the apple that fell close to the tree that bore it, rather because he took such care of it, it grew in a far away land where it grew tall and brought a hundred fold.
The apple in the trash was me. I was once full of baggage and full of pain. The worms of the past were eating away my core. People took from me and used me. I was worn out and used up. I had nothing to offer. Much of my youth I had been reminded that I was not worth much. I was bullied in school. Despised and disregarded. I went from abuser to abuser. I remember the time I turned my uncle in when I was only 14 years old for abusing me. The authorities took him in and had me put into a support group of girls. I was the only one there dressed half way normal. The other girls had dark black makeup caked around their swollen eyes and a black wardrobe to match. All of them were bitter, scared, and angry. They trusted no-one and you could tell just by looking at them that they were hiding behind the tattoos, makeup, cussing, and bad habits. They let their abuse define them. One of the girls killed herself before one of our meetings. It was so sad. Her life, gone. Abuse is painful. She could not go forward.
Hopelessness can come to any one of us. Some of you are feeling this way today, and I want you to keep reading because I understand. There is hope.
Many people have something terrible happen to them and they stop living. Around every corner is another disappointment and failure. I fought against the pull of suicide. I felt the world would be a better place without me in it. I wanted to be in the waste paper basket. I felt it was where I belonged. It was safer there. More quiet and away from people’s desires.
There are always two ways you can choose to go in life.
- Throw away opportunities to experience the good life, letting circumstances keep you from living and growing where you are planted.
- Use the adversity to fuel your passion to overcome. Push beyond it.
Early in my marriage I had to battle so many people who did not believe I deserved Mark. Here I was, a young bride, just trying to appreciate the good man God gave me and the naysayers would remind me that I was a piece of trash. After I gave birth to all five of my children, I visited a family with my husband and they asked me how I became saved. I told the whole detailed version of what happened to me before I reached out to Christ. The Christian wife told me that Mark should have ran in the other direction after I told her my testimony. I learned something from that lady. I learned that my testimony is too dark to share openly. There are things that happened that I must never repeat because it can actually defile another persons mind.
After she scolded me for defiling her home with my testimony and told me how trashy I was, I ran out her door, in a flood of tears right into my husband’s arms. I was crying so hard that I could barely breathe. In that moment I never felt so ashamed of who I was. I put myself right back in the trash can. “I don’t deserve you!!!” I screamed into my husband’s chest, wetting his shirt with my tears. “None of us deserves anything good,” he said as he held my head in his strong hands. I began to tell him what she said and he told me not to listen to her. He told me how wrong she was to tell me such things. How I was precious to God and especially to him. He made me feel special again just by his kindness. For some mysterious reason, I am the apple of his eye.
When we get slammed by the enemy, it is easy to crawl back in the heap of trash and feel like we are worthless. We throw away all the promises of God and all the good things people have told us because one person saw fit to condemn us. I could have stayed there but I had to choose to believe my husband that I was still worth something.
I caught this vision of the man choosing the apple as I pondered why he would pick me. Why would he pick me when he could have had a thousand other, prettier, unblemished apples that would have offered less struggle? He had to work so hard to keep me from self destructing over the years. Somehow he saw something in my heart that others overlooked. He did not see my heart as something he could control but a heart that loved so purely. He knew I was worth the fight. The years I would withhold my affection from him because I felt too dirty, he patiently waited. When I could not walk, he carried me. When I could not bare the burden of shame, he was the one who would just hold me and tell me I was a good woman.
Some days he had to yell at me to get me to stop going on that downward spiral to the pit of despair. I was oftentimes so hard of hearing. God used him to heal me. Like a priest in my home, he lovingly and gently helped wash me with the word of God until my broken heart became whole.
I still had to choose to accept his healing love. There were times I rejected his attempts. I could have overlooked him and kept myself in the trash. It was my choice. He was not perfect and there were times he would ignore me. No man is perfect. He was just really good at reminding me that I am so blessed. We have to remind ourselves daily how blessed we are because we are blind when things get so dark.
It was God who used what I needed to heal, which was my husband. God’s healing may not always come through the same way. I have met women that have husband’s that are not willing to be used by God to offer this kind of gentle correction and love, but YOU are the apple of God’s eye. He intends to heal you if you will allow him to! He can use anything. He uses me after all. I am not perfect. I am willing to be used. God can use anyone who is willing.
There is a healing that can only come from Jesus. A man can only do so much. The miracle is in what Christ did on the cross for us. He stands waiting to carry our burdens. Sometimes he sends us little love notes and reminders through the mouths of our husbands, our children, our friends, or even strangers. His scriptures, too, are a love note written for you! If you read them each day, you are sure to find a thousand reasons why God loves you and why you are so precious to Him. We can read a little saying or verse on a screen at the very moment we need it and that, too, is a love note from God, using modern technology.
Those little messages of His love are all around us. In a bird song, a beautiful sunset, a smile, a little child’s giggle, and looking into the eyes of our new born child. Eternity stands still in that moment when we see his hand in every aspect of our life. Its in how he uses the hardest things in our life for his glory. God doesn’t have a waste paper basket. He doesn’t let anything go to waste. He uses every bit of it if we let him. Every tear is collected and used to shower us with blessings later if we open our arms to feel the gentle outpouring.
There is hope. Look around at what you have going for you. If you have eyes to see, you can start off with thanking God for creating them so you can enjoy the sunsets, the beauty of grasses blowing in the wind, the shimmer of light reflecting off the water, or the glow of the moon on a clear star filled night. Seek to find all the many miracles each day. You are the apple of God’s eye. He chose you to be born in this time and for a purpose. God knows that you are someone worth the fight. He will carry you when you are weak. He will send you a thousand love notes today. All you need to do is look for them. He sends each one just to show you that you are precious to him. Today, everything I write is a love note to you from God!
“Keep me as the apple of the eye,
hide me under the shadow of thy wings”
If you have anything to share, please post a comment below. If this post ministered to you in some way, I would love to hear from you. Please take a moment to leave me a little love note. I will take it as a love note from God!