Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Shredding the Lettuce

Our daughter, Samantha (AKA Sammy), was born with a chromosome abnormality that left her delayed in all areas of her development. However, in the world of special needs she was moderately high functioning. She had a zest for life that made me smile and she always wanted to be in the thick of things…even when I was trying to get dinner ready. As a typical hurried mom, it would have been much easier and more convenient to shoo her out of the kitchen, but she wanted to help so badly, I just couldn’t do that to her.

One of her favorite things to do was shred the lettuce for salad. I would send her off to wash her hands and she would drag a chair over to the counter where she could help mommy with dinner. She didn’t shred the lettuce the way I would. The pieces were often quite large and I confess that when she wasn’t looking, I would sometimes dive in and help a little. But she had fun. She was with me. She was in the thick of things. She was helping. And she got to be a normal kid doing a normal thing. She laughed and smiled and communicated in her own special way. When it was time for everyone to gather at the table we made a big deal about how the salad tasted so much better because Sammy helped. She beamed.

It got me to thinking about our Father. He certainly doesn’t need our help. He could “share the gospel”, feed the hungry, heal the sick, and encourage the down-trodden a lot more easily, effectively, and efficiently without our help. But He is a gracious and loving Father and He lets us shred His lettuce.

Sadly, the difference between me and Sammy is that I’m not always excited about getting to help my Dad. Sometimes I grumble because I don’t really want to help. Sometimes I get full of myself and forget that I am helping and I’m only helping because He gifted me or called me, not because I’m all that. Eventually I think about Sammy shredding the lettuce and remember how happy she was just to be around her family and to be a part of whatever was going on. Then I remember how blessed I am to have the opportunity to help the King of kings, to be a part of His family and to be loved by the God of the universe.

I learned a lot from Sammy in her twelve short years. Looks like God was letting her shred His lettuce, too.


  1. Susan, I've learned a lesson today about how I go about the work the Lord has given me. I'm going to remember how Sammy shredded the lettuce and smiled while she was doing it. Thanks for sharing more of your story.

  2. Susan, thank you for sharing this tender story of your family with us. It does amaze me that God chooses to use us in His work - not because He "needs" our help, but because it gives us such joy. I am repeatedly grateful for God's grace and patience with me in my service, despite the "poor shredding days" I sometimes have. What a priveledge it is to be in His kitchen!