Downtown Cornerstone Blog
Oct 11

Stories of Grace | New Soil

City Life, Stories of Grace

“The Stories of Grace series is intended to capture snapshots of God’s grace and glory amidst our every day lives. They are real stories of real people who have seen the fingerprints of God amidst the ordinary—God’s favorite canvas. Each story is personal, unique and, often, unfinished. Through it all we get glimpses of God’s steadfast love, sufficient grace, and ongoing presence with his people.”

When you move from one city to another, they call you a “transplant”. As if it’s easy to just lift and reset into new soil. In truth, it’s pretty complicated and messy even when you’re dealing with actual plants; root systems struggle to establish themselves and the plant will sometimes experience a bit of shock right at first. You certainly wouldn’t expect them to yield any abundant fruit or blooms just after being transplanted.

But I didn’t know this when I was new to Seattle. I had just lifted my roots from Northwest Arkansas with all its rolling, bluegrassy hills and had transplanted to the land of gray skies and glaciers. It was all very exciting and I expected to transfer all my “thriving” from one home to the next.

Come to find out, I didn’t transfer so effortlessly. All the things that I wanted to love—neighbors and church and even the landscape around me—werestill foreign. My heart ached for the sense of belonging that came from having years of deep roots in a place. Seattle life was strange and unfamiliar and I felt dissonant in any attempt to recreate what had worked in Arkansas.

But God—there’s not a place we can go where He is not watching us, loving us, and desiring to work all things together for our good and His glory. I prayed for a friend and a ministry, and He began working it all out.

It began with blackberries, which is funny in hindsight because blackberries are the poster-child for a fierce and fast-moving root system. But I didn’t know that then. I just knew that I felt a close-to-spiritual peace when I was in the neighboring vacant backyard, feasting on wild blackberries with my 4 year old. The yard belonged to an English woman that had recently moved into a local nursing home and I had gained permission from her nephew to forage.

And then one day, a little idea sprang into my head: what if I took some blackberries to the old woman? She would adore tasting the fruits from her old backyard, and it would give me something to do. So we arrived one day with high hopes, a bouquet of flowers, and blackberries. Hopes were immediately dashed when the blackberries were scorned, the flowers were unappreciated, and she seemed almost annoyed at the breach of her privacy. But something inside me refused to be scared off and when I offered to return the following week, she accepted.

That was four years ago. It didn’t take long for the woman’s demeanor to change, and her stories and personality captivated me. Maybe it took her some time to decide that she liked me, or maybe she finally realized we weren’t going anywhere and she could drop her defenses. Since then I have had two baby boys who have basically become like royalty if you saw the way they are adored and swooned over by every grandmother in the building.

Hindsight has also shown me that this old English woman wasn’t just a lonely widow that needed someone to take her on as a service project. She was my very first friend in Seattle when I had none. She is my oldest friend here, you could say.

The answer to my prayers was unexpected. My early roots here reached down in a way I never could have guessed or designed myself. The whole thing showed me that God enjoys working things out in ways that astonish us. He is so good and He wants us to thrive! His wisdom, kindness, creativity, even His humor are waiting to be tested if we would surrender even the smallest details and let Him cultivate our lives to His glory and our ultimate delight.

– Britney Baer, DCC Member

If you are a member with DCC and have a story of grace to share please email