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Create Good: Finding Purpose in a Pickle Jar

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I love pickles–ALL sorts of pickles. Pickle spears to accompany sandwiches, dill slices on hamburgers, little gherkins for snacking, and giant pickles on a stick (the kind they sell at the state fair). Consequently, we have a lot of pickle jars at my house.

I used to throw them away. I mean, what good were they, anyway? They were tainted by the sour smell of pickle, and that’s not an odor easily removed. Besides, they didn’t have the same cute-factor as store-bought mason jars. I deemed them worthless and threw them in the trash.

Then, one day I needed a jar and couldn’t find one. A pickle jar sat by my kitchen sink, waiting to be thrown away.

Hmm, I thought. Perhaps there’s potential here.

So I grabbed some dish washing liquid and went to work. When I was done scrubbing, I slathered peanut butter over the label and sat the jar on my back patio in the full light of the sun.

Later that day, I retrieved the jar; finished scraping off the last bits of adhesive on the outside, washed and dried it–and voilà–I had a sparkling, new jar that didn’t smell like pickles!

There are days I feel like an empty pickle jar–days when it seems as though everything that was good in me is gone. What remains is the stench of regrets and reminders of all the ways I’ve fallen short.

There are days when my sense of worth is battered by careless comments from my husband and children. Days when my value seems diminished by the other moms I see on social media (the ones whose lives have the cute-factor of a mason jar), while I’m sitting by the sink, stinking up the place.

I’m worthless. Just throw me in the trash! I cry out.

How does God respond to my cries?

He looks at me and sees potential.

“’For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord. ‘Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.’” (Jeremiah 29:11)

He invites me to rest in the full light of the Son.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)

He washes away my sins.

“…as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.” (Psalm 103:11-12)

He gently scrapes off any remaining bits of hurt and anger.

“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” (Psalm 147:3)

He gives me a new label.

“You are a chosen people, a Royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession…” (1 Peter 2:9)

He creates something good from my life.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation: The old is gone, the new has come!” (2 Corinthians 5:17)

He reveals Himself to the world.

“But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.” (2 Corinthians 4:7)

Here’s the bottom line, friends: I’m not worthless, and neither are you. Inside our empty, smelly, pickle jar lives is TREASURE.

Isn’t that the best news of all?

Let’s allow Christ to wash us out, give us new labels, and create good in us–so He can use our lives to create good in the world.

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Tarissa Helms is an introvert who chose to dive headfirst into the messy, noisy, beautiful waters of motherhood. You can find her writing about adventures in faith, parenting, and the introverted life on her personal blog, Introverted Mama. Tarissa submitted this story as a part of our community linkup, Designed to Work. This article first appeared on her blog.

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