Faith Like Potatoes

28 08 2013

In January, it became clear that the procedure done on Brandon’s hip had not helped. The ball of his leg bone collapsed, so he had a hip replacement in February.

Two weeks later, the doctor tried the same preventative procedure on Brandon’s other hip, which had also begun to deteriorate.

At Thanksgiving, they came to our home for the holiday, and brought along Brandon’s cousin, Jason.

On Thanksgiving Day, Brandon and Jason took off to spend the night in a motel. They were gone for several days on a drunk.

Beth finally told the sad story of what her home was like. Brandon apparently spent most of the time drunk, and would be gone for days at a time, leaving Beth and the kids to fend for themselves. This was interspersed with times of church attendance and an improved home life.

That was the year my husband and I first saw the movie: “Faith Like Potatoes.”

If you’re unfamiliar with this excellent story, it’s based on a real Scottish family who lived in Africa. They struggled to “make a go of it” on their farm.

As I watched this hot-headed drunk turn to Jesus – and then into an effective evangelist, the Lord whispered,

“See that man? That is your son-in-law. Pray this for him.”

Lord, are we talking about the same man? I asked.

This truth was settled so firmly in my heart, though, that I began to lift Brandon up in prayer, and trust that God meant what He said.

It didn’t take very long before I realized that I didn’t have what it takes to love someone who won’t “fix.” Brandon mostly frustrated and angered me by what he was doing to my daughter and their children.

I’m a visual person. I finally came up with a plan by which I could carry out the Lord’s directive.

I purchased a heart-shaped box and on its cover I wrote:

“God’s – Hands Off!”

I wrote Brandon’s name on a card and put it inside the box. Then I lifted the box to the Lord and said, “Lord, I can’t love this guy. He’s hurting my daughter and my grandchildren; all the while, He is making You look weak and uncaring. I’m putting Brandon’s behavior in this box and I give it to You.

I know that I can’t change him; only You can. I leave him in Your capable hands.

In exchange, would You give me Your love for Brandon?” (You can read this story here.)

From that point on, every time I began to stew about Brandon, I’d say, “Back in the box! Back in the box!”

This technique helped immensely. Once I put Brandon in the box (along with Beth), counsel was easier to give to my daughter whenever she called in tears.

I would encourage her to remember that Brandon was a “spud.” God was working on him in secret. We were not to dig him up – or risk ruining what God was doing.

After we hung up, I’d say out loud:

Am I out of my mind?”

I’d make plans to drive to their town, find Brandon, and give him a piece of my mind. Every time, the Lord would whisper:

“He’s My spud…don’t dig him up!”

In February, 2010, Brandon’s other hip had to be replaced.

Now, two more disks in his back were also deteriorating. He was in continual pain, and any movement would cause him to yell out.


In August of the same year, I told this story to our chaplain from hospice. After he left, I began to peel potatoes for dinner. I reached into the sink for the last potato.

It felt knobby!

I looked it over, and discovered that it was in the shape of a heart!

I showed that potato to everyone who would listen to my story! That spud was a wonderful gift from the Lord – one that I wasn’t willing to give up, so…

I encased it in resin. I kept it on my coffee table where I could be continually reminded:

God’s! Don’t dig him up.

 A couple of weeks later, Beth also found a heart-shaped potato in a bag of spuds she purchased in her town. I knew this was, indeed, a word from God.

Brandon continued to disappear for days on end, going to his cousin’s to drown his pain with alcohol.

Meanwhile, Beth’s faith was increasing by increments. It was hard for her to live with, but she was learning to trust Jesus more – and lean on others for support less.

Then came the day when Beth called with a new problem:

Brandon was talking non-stop about the Bible, and continually reading it…

…but nothing he said about what he read in the Bible made sense.

The story continues tomorrow.

If you missed the beginning of this story, you can find it here: You Need To Read This.




16 responses

7 09 2013

I’m just catching up on some of my blog reading….I started at the beginning & am anxiously awaiting to read each succession. I’m in a situation with a friend right now (well, have been on & off for about 13 years) where I alternate between “nothing will ever change” to encouragement to a renewed sense of “God sent her to me for a reason” to anger at her for her actions & complacency (for which I always feel guilty about), etc. God told me quite clearly a couple of weeks ago “I am the fixer. It’s not yours to fix. YOU are not the fixer.” So I truly love the potato analogy, the “God’s – hands off.” Thanks for sharing the story.

7 09 2013

He told me time and again, “This is MY spud…DON”T DIG HIM UP or he will never grow!” That was hard! The God Box worked very well in the matter. I’d walk around with the box in my hand saying, “Back in the box; back in the box!”


28 08 2013

I’ve never heard of this film… you’re such a woman so drenched with pure faith!

28 08 2013

If you watch the movie (and you should!), be sure to watch the documentary that is on the same disk. It’s every bit as good as the movie itself – in fact my hubby likes it more than the reenactment.

I assure you, the faith is a gift from Abba whenever the occasion arises. I certainly don’t have it on my own! He is so gracious to provide that which we need when we need it most, isn’t He?


28 08 2013
Toni Sprandel

Can’t wait for tomorrow’s post.

28 08 2013



28 08 2013

Praying for you and Brandon, Beth, and Jason too…love you sis (((hugs)))

28 08 2013

Thank you, for my unspoken request for the 27th involves this episode. It’s not over yet…and won’t be until December. Your prayers are greatly appreciated!


28 08 2013
Planting Potatoes

it is so great to watch God working….but to be able to see it at all is a blessing in itself! I will be praying with you!

28 08 2013

Thanks! The story continues to develop – two years later. It’s exciting to have a front row seat!


28 08 2013
Planting Potatoes

yes, exciting, a bit scary at times, but exciting if we allow God to work!

28 08 2013
Prodigal Chick

Oh mercy, a cliff hanger!!! Waiting to see the glory of god in Brandon’ life is better than any Hollywood tv show or movie!!! Oh how I know and discern the anointing on Brandon’s life! When god hand picks a diamond in the ruff oh my goodness the waters will be troubled and the devil will put up his greatest fight but we know his best just isn’t good enough!!! Our only job is to not be moved by what we see and yell out, “go God go!!!!! I am anxiously awaiting part 3!!!

28 08 2013

Thanks for the encouraging comment! This story is going to take a while to tell. I’m giving the short version – 7,900 words – instead of the 30 page version…and this story continues to develop.

Brandon is my unspoken request. We thought the wrapping up of the phase currently being told would be compete yesterday, but God has other plans. We won’t know the outcome until December. 😦 However, we know we will “make it to the other side,” for Jesus is in the boat!


28 08 2013


28 08 2013
Prodigal Chick

Yes, indeed we know the end of the story!! Sometimes the situations seem to go on and on long after we think they should be over but God likes a lot of suspense with a lot of noise and a great big grand finale!! It’s hard on our ole nerves but we always look back and say, “what was I so nervous and anxious about, I knew God would take care of everything!!” 🙂 I say this while staring at a mountain of a challenge…..Ours isn’t over yet either!! The devil is a liar and the father of all lies!!! God wins every time and for all times!!!

28 08 2013

Jesus is Victor!


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