Crack Your Shell To Be Useful

I’ve loved walnuts since I was a child. Those beautiful trees grew close to our farmhouse and I remember my brother and I gathering the nuts that fell to the ground and carrying them in to the kitchen. Our mother would ask us to crack the shell to remove the walnut meat inside. Then she would create wonderful recipes through the results of our hard work; coffee cakes, breads, even home-made ice cream.

Recently I failed terribly at something I wanted to do gloriously for the Lord. I prayed and studied that as a substitute teacher, God would be glorified through what I taught! I prayed all week and the Holy Spirit seemed to give me powerful illustrations to connect to that week’s Biblical text. Sadly, life stepped in, I lost my confidence (which rarely happens) and I failed miserably when I tried to convey the spiritual truths God gave me. It was just what Satan discouraged personwanted. I could almost hear him taunting, whispering in my ear, “Did you really think you could be as good as the regular teacher? She’s amazing!” The devil won that round because I became discouraged.

As I sat dejected, I began to think of those early spiritual leaders in the Bible who also became discouraged: Abraham, Moses, Job, Elijah, Peter, Paul . . . my goodness – did I think I was stronger than they were? Not even close! I began to praise God for my failure, for without it, I might have become complacent and prideful.  Those biblical figures didn’t wallow in self-pity but drew themselves up and did what was right for their LORD! No excuses, they confessed their insecurities and lack of faith and went on!

Hebrews 12: 11-13, “ No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. Make level paths for your feet, so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed.”

Remember the walnut? It is only after it’s been broken that it can it be useful. To simply remain in its shell would be purposeless. No bountiful recipe could be reaped. Occasionally God must break our human shell so the Holy Spirit can fill us, thus becoming a sweet Christian recipe. I felt useless and needed the meat of the Word to mend my broken spirit.    imagesCAIJ3M75

It’s ironic that walnuts are sometimes called the “King of Nuts.” They are valueable for health in many ways, but two ways are especially useful:  antioxidant, anti-inflammatory heart properties and for strengthening bone health.

Yes my sad, heavy heart needed restoring. It wasn’t long before the Word of God with its own anti-inflammatory properties, strengthened me. Asking for forgiveness, He raised me up with His gentle arms setting me on the right path once again. His powerful Words restored and strengthened my weary bones, giving me the determination to learn from my mistakes. I shook my fist in the devil’s face, prayed and searched for the good things this learning experience brought me.

I now praised God for failure! If you are also attempting to overcome obstacles, don’t give up at the first sign of adversity – don’t give the devil a foothold, eating away at your faith. Remember the shell must be broken before the results of goodness can be found!

John 16: 33 “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”


8 thoughts on “Crack Your Shell To Be Useful

  1. What a great come-back! That truly is a hope-filled response! And I am sure that you impacted some students even though you feel like you failed. I am sure your light and love shone. God uses EVERYTHING!


    • Thanks Kate. Perhaps I felt like Peter when he was tested twice and failed. Once when he took his eyes off Christ and sank into the water and again when he denied Christ three times. And yet he shook himself off and became a remarkable example of Christian strength. I know through His wisdom and strength He will bolster me up as well. Blessings and thanks for your words of spiritual health,


  2. At the times I have stepped in to sub for our (former) ladies Bible study group I always felt like a complete failure. Turns out that someone always needed to hear what I said. Our Lord makes use of all we do in a way we never expect sometimes. The good part is that you stepped up to help a friend in need…maybe the class would have been cancelled without you…who knows. You were trusted to lead hearts and that in itself is a beautiful thing.


    • Oh storyad, how I love you!! As I was faltering through, thinking “but I was so prepared!!!!” – I was also asking, what is God trying to teach me through this? I have spoken to large and small groups many times previously, so why was this so different? Perhaps because the closer one gets to the Lord, the more it upsets the devil and we are tested. I must trust in Isaiah 55:11, which says that His words will never return to Him void.

      (I bet you are an insightful, fabulous teacher!) Blessings,


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