Sowing Seeds of Hope in a Hurting World

Have you ever been on a hike and come across a small tree sprouting through the crevices of the rocks? How could growth possibly take root in such harsh conditions.

Our world today can be a challenging environment to grow. If we focus on the news and the upheaval around us, it can be difficult to experience hope for the future.

What is HOPE?

The definition of HOPE as defined in the Oxford dictionary is:
grounds for believing that something good may happen.

I have been a gardener all of my adult life, and this definition made me realize every time we plan, prepare and plant in a garden we experience hope.

I love the quote by Audrey Hepburn;
“To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow.”

Even if you do not consider yourself a gardener of the soil, you can see yourself as a gardener of souls who plants into the lives of others every single day.

What if you were to view your actions or reactions to the pain and despair around you as seeds you are sowing into tomorrow?

Are you planting seeds of hope or seeds of despair?

Most of us have heard about Johnny Appleseed whose dream was to produce so many apples that no one would ever go hungry. He always carried a leather bag filled with apple seeds he collected for free from cider mills. Legend says he was constantly planting them in open places in the forests, along the roadways and by the streams.

Imagine you have a bag like Johnny Appleseed, and in it are 7 seeds that you can distribute as you go to be help others SEE HOPE.



Let’s take a look in our bag and examine each of the seven seeds that will plant hope in your own soul garden or in those gardens you visit throughout your day.

Seek to SEE

Pain often makes us feel isolated from others and we begin to believe that no one will understand what we are going through. Often when we are hurting we just desire to be seen and comforted in our pain.

My hearing is declining and when masks became part of everyday life, I began to use intently look into the eyes of the people who I interacted with that might need some encouragement that day.

I found that just looking directly into someone’s eyes can say I see you, you can nod, say hi, or even engage in a brief conversation.

I normally carry with me stickers, suckers or my seed packet cards and look for people I can give them to. These little inexpensive props help me to be intentionally on the lookout for people who need to be seen in my day.


Encouragement is something we all need to keep us motivated and feeling our presence and participation in society matter. It is important for our overall health and it can give us the same amount of joy to give it to others as it is to receive it.

Do you make it a habit to speak words of encouragement and affirmation to those around you, and in particular to your closest friends and family?

Every person needs to feel valued and appreciated and this basic need can be met through expressing thanks and sincere praise, not flattery. A thank you, both spoken and written can go a long way in demonstrating your appreciation.

After I left California in the winter of 2020, I had a friend who consistently sent me inspirational quotes and scriptures texts on a consistent basis. This small act let me know she had heard me in my pain. Her simple texts planted hope in my heart even though she was was several states away.


This seed requires us to lean in a bit more and give our time to listen intently and say very little. Empathy is the ability to place yourself in another person’s shoes and extend comfort not judgment. It is not trying to fix them or the pain they are experiencing, but is simply letting them know you are there to see, listen and feel with them.

Maya Angelou said:

People will forget what you said. They will forget what you did. But they will never forget how you made them feel.


I believe our actions can often speak louder than words. How do we break into the isolation that pain has captured others in? Call them and offer to do something that will lift their load; cook a meal, clean their home or babysit their children. Get them out of their environment and create a safe place for them to engage in a way that they feel comfortable.

Are you willing to use your personal resources to help someone? Sometimes we help through our time and sometimes we can give money. How can we be intentional to meet the needs that have been placed in our path?

The opportunities are all around us if we are open to the possibilities.


Optimism is a feeling or belief that good things will happen in the future; a feeling or belief that what you hope for will happen. Sometimes we need to be the voice of hope for others and speak this into their lives. Sometimes we need to believe for them, until they can begin to believe on their own. We are constantly bombarded with negative information, but we can use the seed of optimism to plant positive, affirming messages into people’s lives.

I believe praying with and for others is a way we seed hope into hurting hearts. It cost us nothing but our time to think and offer prayer to God for another persons need.


Often people in distress have suffered an emotional blow that has left them feeling unprotected, and their world is no longer a safe place. How can you direct them to a place of emotional or physical safety and show them they are free from fear or threat of harm. How can we offer them a secure safe place in the eye of the storm?

It took me almost two years to wrap up my life in Orange County and prepare for my YWAM adventure. I have been grateful for the numerous friends and family who opened up their homes to me as downsized my previous life and transitioned into my new.


The need for respect is met by honoring and regarding people as important and have value regardless of their social status. Do you show respect for people from different backgrounds and religions, or those who have a different point of view? People can sense if they are being judged in the midst of their pain, or are being offered help that will restore their self respect.

I have experienced first hand the despair in my soul when my hope seem to be withering. I have also experienced hope sprout out of that pain and despair just like those tiny trees sprouted out of the crevices in the rocks.

We will not always know if the seeds we sow will land on good fertile soil, but will we sow them anyway? I have found the more Hope I sow in the world around me, the more hope grows in my own heart. As a gardener even if I don’t get to see the harvest, I know I have sowed good seeds.

“Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.”
Robert Louis Stevenson


August 1, 2022

Written by Deb Ringler

My love affair with the plants began as a young child exploring the outdoors in my own backyard. This passion grew into a lifelong career in horticulture.

Over the years, I found the methods I used as a gardener to help my plants thrive could also be metaphors for growth in our inner gardens.

I am always seeking ways to combine my horticulture knowledge and personal life experiences to connect others to the wonders of the natural world and the lessons it can teach us.

I created four different blog paths for you to chose from to follow my journey as I live in New Zealand for the next six months. It is bound to be exciting and I thrilled to have you join me on the adventure of my lifetime.


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