There was a season in my life when I had nothing to offer but a broken vessel, an old wine skin, if you will.  I was lost in addiction, but knew my life was meant for more.  I knew the person I had become was not who I really was.  I remember crying out to the Lord, “Why am I not getting better?  I am trying all these things, but I always end up back in the same mess.”  I remember the Lord saying, “When are you going to get out of the way and stop trying to do what only I can do?”  Have you ever been in a situation when you had done all you could?  Tried all the ways you could think of to change your situation, but somehow overlooked the key ingredient, Jesus?  Some things simply have to be surrendered to God and removed from your hands.  At this moment, I needed to surrender my life.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. -2 Corinthians 5:17

Because of the death, burial and resurrection of Christ Jesus, by faith, our spirit man, which was dead, is now alive in Christ.  Verse 18-19 goes on to say….

All this is from God who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.

Catch that – God was reconciling the world to Himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them.  Old things have passed, and all things have become new.  A clean slate.  What a moment.  In an instant, we are made new, and that is incredible, but what do we do with all the stinking thinking that is still embedded in the depths of our soul?  What happens to our mind when our spirit yearns for the things of God, but our mind can’t wrap around the things of God?

We must begin a transformation process.  This is where things get ugly and messy.  This is where you have to unlearn some things.  This is where relationship and discipleship come into play.  The old wine skin is now made new.  A new wine skin is created; now, the new wine must be made, and it starts with a seed being planted.

When I went into the recovery program, Daughters of The Other Side, there was a song called New Wine that we listened to almost every day in morning worship.  I felt like the Lord was reminding me through the words of this song that this was going to be a process.  Feeling things I had run from for so long, I would have to face head on.  It would feel impossible, but He always reminded me that there was purpose in the crushing.  He was making something new.  These are some of the lyrics. Each morning as I sang them, they became an anthem – a daily surrender, a daily reminder God was up to something! 

“In the crushing, In the pressing you are making new wine. In the soil, I now surrender. You are breaking new ground. So I yield to You into Your careful hand. When I trust You I don’t need to understand. Make me Your vessel, make me an offering, make me whatever you want me to be. I came here with nothing, but all You have given me. Jesus bring new wine out of me.”     

What does this have to do with a seed you might ask?  Well, much like my father, I might have the longest introduction and the shortest sermon!

What’s in a seed?  You can’t tell a seed by its cover.  The seed has no resemblance to what it will be, what it’s designed to be; only the sower knows what he has planted.  I am reminded of Peter.  He was passionate and reckless.  In John 18:10-11, Scripture tells us that, “Then Simon Peter drew a sword and slashed off the right ear of Malchus, the high priest’s slave. But Jesus said to Peter, “Put your sword back into its sheath. Shall I not drink from the cup of suffering the Father has given me?” 

In Matthew 14:28, Jesus calls Peter to Him, but as Peter steps out onto the water, he panics and begins to sink.  Jesus catches him, but chastises him for his doubt and lack of faith.  And probably the most remembered story of Peter is when He denies Jesus, not once, but three times.  To add insult to injury, Jesus had told Peter what he would do, and Peter replied, “NEVER!”  But what I want to bring to your attention today is the moment of revelation.  In Matthew 16:15-20, Jesus speaking… “But what about you? He asked. Who do you say I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the son of the living God.” Jesus replied… “And I tell you that you are Peter and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hell will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”  Before Peter ever fulfilled his divine destiny, Jesus called him by name and spoke a promise over him.  A promise of purpose. 

You, as a child of God, have a purpose!  Before you were ever created, you were imagined with a future.  Every weak moment, every disaster, every celebration was designed to bring forth fruit for the glory of God.  Though you may be questioning your value or potential, God has declared you are, “A chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light,” 1 Peter 2:9.

The Cost of life is death.  During the six months I was in DOTS (Daughters of The Other Side), I was in the fight for my life.  Just before we went into lockdown, I had relapsed.  Thinking it was all over and I would have to start again, God reminded me that He was pulling weeds.  I dusted myself off and got back up, determined this would not be the end.  I had been given extra time to my recovery; I couldn’t be trusted, and I felt alone.  I knew God was still with me.  Like Peter’s epic failure, he thought he would never deny the Lord, but even after he did three times, Jesus never mentioned his failure.  Jesus simply asked, “Simon Peter, do you love me?” I knew I loved the Lord, and I would keep moving forward.  Every feeling, every failure, and every fear I had surrounded me in a sea of darkness.  Like the hard shell of a seed, I had to fight for truth – fight to break down all the lies I had believed, years of lies.  I had to trust in Jesus to fulfill His purpose.  

In the springtime, Covid had just broken out in America, and it hit us hard.  We were in lockdown and spent months in quarantine.  Some wondered why the recovery home stayed open, but I am thankful it did.  During that time, we planted a garden, and I was to help care for it.  I look back and laugh at how God orchestrated such an unforgettable teaching moment.  I have a BLACK thumb.  Plants see me coming and surrender, because death is a better fate than me.  But this time, it was different.  I was committed. 

Several of us dug countless holes, planted hundreds of seeds, sprayed for bugs, fertilized, watered, and waited.  I made this my focus, because life was very different in these weeks.  We hadn’t seen our family in a month, but on the day we had our first visitation, I noticed the seeds had sprouted!  I was so excited!  Finally, life had broken through!  Both in the natural and the spiritual, I felt a change had come.  

In worship the day before our families came, we sang the song He Knows My Name.  I heard the Lord say, “You know you have sprouted!”  I cried with joy!  Later that day, my director called me “Sprout” because of my seeds that had sprouted; she had no idea what God had called me earlier that day.  God was reminding me of the life that was growing on the inside of me.  

I heard a quote once that said, “You thought you were buried, but really, you were just being planted.”  When you are in the seed stage, you allow the truth of God’s word to take root.  He will give you strength you need for breakthrough.  My original graduation date was given back to me, and just to show you how God is in the details: My original date was May 23rd.  21 years prior, on May 24th, I lost my mom at age 36 to addiction, and here I am about to graduate at 36 years old, free from addiction!  When God restores, He doesn’t do things halfway. 

When we look at the life of Jesus and all He endured, we have hope.  He understands the pain of loneliness, disappointment, abandonment, and betrayal.  He has been there and overcame!  What a joy we have in knowing that it doesn’t end here.  We have been buried beneath the soil, but in Him, we are given new life!  Are you reading this today in need of a breakthrough?  Are you in search of your identity, your value?  Maybe you don’t even know who God is… Let me tell you, He knows you.  Luke 12:6-8 says, “Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”

I submit to you today, that though you may feel alone, in the dark, and hopeless, if you surrender your heart to the Lord, let Him be Lord over your life, trust Him with all that you are and all that you have, that the time will come when you will rise out of the darkness, growing in strength and purpose to fulfill the plan the Creator of The Universe has destined in you for the Glory of the Most High God.  You are more than a seed!  You are a child of the King!

Jordan Brassfield Dunham is 38 years old. She is married to Scott Dunham and they have two amazing sons, Riley and Cooper. Jordan works as Administrator and Care Coordinator for Daughters of The Other Side and Social Media Manager at Destiny Ministries. This Christmas she and her husband will complete Destiny Leadership Institute. Jordan has a heart for the recovery ministry after spending many years in addiction herself.  Her hope is to inspire and encourage those who are lost and without hope to experience the transforming love of Jesus that radically changes a person’s life.