Flowers on the Compost Pile…

Life used to be black and white.


And then my husband walked out.


Two young-daughter-loving, church-going, Sunday School-teaching Christians got a divorce.


And this then 28-year-old, married-almost-10-years, young mother got a rude awakening. Life wasn’t black and white. It was multiple shades of grey… and they were messy.


Her children did nothing to deserve their new reality.


It was during those difficult days that I heard a story (I wish I remembered the source) about what beautiful flowers grow on a compost pile. Right then, I prayed that God would take the compost pile of divorce my daughters just had forced upon them and let flowers grow. Big, beautiful, sweet-scented flowers that would overpower the manure they would sometimes have to step in as they grew up as “children of divorce”.


It hasn’t always been easy. Through the years I clung to that image of beautiful flowers, claiming it for my daughters – and God has answered my prayers many times over. I am so very thankful.


Many of our world’s children live on the compost pile. For some, don’t think that’s not literal; it is. For others, the everyday circumstances of life have presented them with a raw deal. But one thing I know for certain:


Every child needs someone to help them find their path through the compost pile…

Someone who sees them as beautiful flowers.


If you’ve visited here lately, you know I’ve been searching for “What next?” No matter how labor-intensive my involvement with Hope Unlimited for Children may sometimes be, I cannot let that count as “enough”.  There are children all around me living on compost piles…


I’ve spent the past few weeks researching needs of children in my county. I’m ashamed to say I didn’t already know them. Since I haven’t yet climbed up on the compost pile, I’m certain I still don’t…


When I traveled to Chicago last week, I thought I knew where God was leading… but, in truth, I knew in my spirit:  I was at a fork in the road. I was praying for clarity. Some of you prayed with me. Thank you!


One road led to starting a new ministry working with families in crisis – providing stress-relief and hands-on assistance before children are abused or neglected; before they become part of “the system”.


The other road led to joining an existing organization – becoming a Court Appointed Special Advocate for Children (CASA); climbing up on the compost pile with them, meeting the people in their lives, assessing their challenges. Representing ONLY the child, being their voice, recommending to the court what is believed to be in the child’s best interest.


God blessed me with amazing clarity. I’ve volunteered to be a CASA.


Guess what’s happening tomorrow night.  The Annual CASA Banquet!  Could God’s timing be any more perfect? It’s a great opportunity for me to meet other volunteers – and hear stories. I want to hear some stories of flowers…


Today I’m excited, but when I get my first case, I’m sure I’ll be nervous. I know I’ll be seeing a lot of grey areas – and having to face my tendency to see black and white instead. It’s okay. You can translate that: my tendency to be judgmental and critical. I’m working on it… really hard – and God’s working on me… really hard.


For obvious privacy and legal reasons, I won’t be sharing any specific stories of children with you here at My Place, but I’m counting on God to share some flowers with me… and I’ll look forward to sharing them with you.


I hope you’ll pray for the children I’ll be serving. Pray for their circumstances even now; for their protection and the people in their lives. Pray for me. It may be a month of so, but I’ll let you know when training begins… When I’ll start learning about those grey areas of the compost pile – and the flowers I’m already claiming for the children.


I hope you’ll read about CASA. If this ministry tugs at your heart, see if there’s an organization in your county – or help start one. I first felt the heart-tug of CASA over a decade ago. Don’t follow my lead. Don’t wait to respond – for the sake of the children… and your own.

I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something.

Edward Everett Hale

We all have a part of us that wants what we do to *matter*…

What are you doing today to reach beyond yourself? What are you risking?




  1. I love the imagery of the flowers on the compost pile. I love even more how you claimed that for your daughters. Your early story reminds me of one of my dear friends. (Who is about our age and was very probably going through her unintended divorce the same exact time you were.) You join her as an inspiration to me.

    I can just feel in my bones that this CASA experience is timed perfectly and has stories waiting to be written. Not all stories are told through us, either. The best ones of all are the ones told TO us.

  2. Susan, this sounds like the perfect new ministry for you, with your heart for loving children. Advocating for children is such a need!

  3. He speaks to those with an open heart and open mind. You did well listening, and I can imagine what a challenge this will be. But, oh the blessings and joy you will share with your flowers. My heart is full, dear Susan.