Feeling the earth
Wet
Damp
Present
Alive
I am meant to thrive

Instead evil came inside
Tracing
Havoc
Harm
Placing me in bars
Unlock the jar
Let up

Calls for arms
Holy
Holy
I cry
Out

Breathe
Feel ground beneath me
Evil will not beseech me

Breathe
Feeling the earth
Wet
Damp
Present
Alive
I am meant to thrive

In Eastern North Carolina strawberries are in season. It was a rainy soppy Friday evening, I’m alone, and I choose to go picking.

A brisk chill air danced on my cheeks and nose as I sloshed in and out of rows of strawberries. For the first time in a few days I felt grounded. I breathed. I walked. I watched. Nearby was a grandmother with her two granddaughters, I listened to their conversations, debating over the ideal berry and their desire to splash in the mud. I chuckled to myself, I love playing in the mud too. A few rows over was a dad with his two daughters, laughter and smiles dispensed from their presence.

So often I get caught up in the chaos, the whipping and whirling of thoughts in my head. I think I have to handle this alone. As I choose berries one by one, I felt centered. The process of picking, the slow moment back and forth, up and down the rows was a meditation. I’m here. I breathe.

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Such grounding is like coming back to the place of peace, the promise that anchors us, holds us fast to core reasons as to why we awaken each day to pitter patter to the coffee pot, let the dogs out, hug our husband, drive to work and do it all over again. It tames our existence during the storms, chilly seasons and sweltering hot days, beckoning us to yield good fruit.

My hope is that God is like the farmer who carefully grounds all those red delicious strawberries into the dirt so they may grow, bloom, ripen and thrive.

Yet far too often my thoughts do not scatter as such, for I’m fatigued from carrying the weight, the responsibility of Restore One. The gravity of the cause scratches against my 26 year old heart and body. Some weeks I feel like I’m backpacking in the Sahara Desert with a knapsack full of bricks. I’m scared to ground my roots. It feels unsafe, the weather of nonprofit organization is tricky, people are scary, I’m unsure and our mission is uncharted. I desire to jump quickly, I want to walk alone but I cannot carry this knapsack anymore.

I believe the farmer and the farm helpers are responsible for carefully tending to the strawberries, they do not grow alone.

My heart does not take tending and concerning friends all too well, yet it is what I need to bracingly holdfast when treacherous storms arise. Letting my community support me, love, protect and carry me through this difficult calling is what feels the most risky. I want to flee when people get too close, ask questions or offer a helping hand. I just do not know what to do with their kindness. Yet I long to let people in, to let their eyes gaze into my soul and tend to my heart.

I need Jesus, I need friends, I need my loving husband and evenings to pick strawberries to ground me. I need to breathe just as much as I need a breather.

I’d like to picture the farmer and the helpers going to each strawberry plant, gently kneeling down and whispering, “You are meant to thrive, here in this soil so go ahead and let your roots sink, I’ll take care of you.” I also like to think of Jesus as the farmer and community as his helpers whispering, brothers and daughters ground down deep together and take care of each other.


Anna Smith Anna Smith is Co-Founder and Executive Director of Restore One, where she works diligently on their chief project, The Anchor House. The Anchor House will be the first shelter in the nation designed to meet the needs of sex trafficked and sexually exploited American boys. Anna has a resilient passion to see sex trafficking victims experience true healing and restoration. In her spare time, Anna enjoys biking with her husband Chris, reading, cooking, throwing pottery, running and yoga. Learn more about Restore One here.