Seed Words

Mar 6 / Marsha Crockett
I first understood the power of words in my first-grade classroom after one student called another student a name, and the child ended up in tears. My beloved teacher scooped up the child in her lap, looked at the class, and said, "Be careful of your words. You can't erase the words you say." And she dried the student's tears as a living example of what she meant.

Words can be like a handful of seeds scattered across the landscape of the soul. Words can shape the soul into a thriving garden, or they can twist it into a withering, dark tangle of untruth. And when the heart is fertile to receive life-giving words, those few seed words send down deep roots and nurture the soul to grow into a fruit-bearing life.

It's miraculous, really. Words come to us from what we read and hear, or they may already exist within us as inner wisdom coming into its own light. When I read words from centuries past of the great writers, thinkers, seekers, and mystics, their words have the power to inspire, nurture, inflame, revive, fortify, and sometimes, utterly change me. For instance, I remember when I first read words from St. Ignatius of Loyola that said, "Everything one turns in the direction of God is prayer," something shifted within me. That simple sentence became the seed word that took root and anchored me to understand the difference between having a prayer life and experiencing life itself as prayer. Those words gave me freedom in my praying and drew me closer to a more integrated life with God — less God-out-there and more God-in-here.

And certainly, our sacred scriptures nurture, fortify, and have the potential to utterly change us. In the conversation between Jesus and his apostles the night before his death, he talked a lot about abiding or dwelling in him, like the branches abiding in the vine. And he added, "If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask for whatever you wish, and it will be done for you." (John 15:7, emphasis added). Paul reminds us of this truth in his letter to the church, "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly…" (Colossians 3:16).

I've listened to people who worry about missing a day of Bible reading, fearful of starting a bad habit or being undisciplined in their commitment to the Word. Yet, most of these people have been steeped in the scripture for years. And I remind them that the word of Christ dwells within them. These words of scripture that we have come to know and can recall at any time continue to work, bless, and change us. The words are "living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing until it divides soul from spirit, joints from marrow…." And once we have received the words, in scripture or from others, they continue to live whether we miss a day of scripture reading or not.

The words we speak and receive into our hearts are important. May they plant seeds of life in you today and send down deep roots of grace and truth, bearing the fruit of wisdom within your life today. And in faith, we can relax and trust that God always speaks into our lives and this world. His word will never be erased and will never come to an end.

For your Journey: Do you recall specific words given to you as a child that shaped your life? Were these words life-giving, or did they negatively impact you? How might the word of God speak to you to form or re-form the landscape of your soul?

Marsha Crockett

Marsha Crockett is a certified spiritual director, meeting with clients virtually and in Port Orchard, Washington. She is also the author of the recently released book Sacred Conversation: Exploring the Seven Gifts of Spiritual Direction (Upper Room Books). In addition to her direction practice and writing, she leads workshops, retreats, and quiet days of reflection using the framework for the prayer of examen. You can reach her at Or, follow her on Instagram: @marshakaycrockett.