By Maridel Sandberg, TFG President/Executive Director

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The tears came easily as I looked at the weeds and the flowers in my garden.

It was a mess. I had waited too long to pull out the weeds, and now they were bigger than the flowers.

This is the perfect picture of the mess we all are in…we have waited too long. We’ve allowed the weeds of injustice, bitterness and strife to grow among the beautiful flowers of unity, community and friendship.

As a result, pain has been increasing in our world. There is so much pain right now. It’s not the time to fight. It’s time to take ownership of these weeds. Together we can pull these weeds. For such a time as this, we need to do this together.

I’ve been parenting children for 39 years. And I’ve spent 29 of those years parenting black children. Four courageous black women chose life and an adoption plan for their child. This choice has marked my life and theirs.

Being entrusted with someone else’s child is a title I do not take lightly. They call me Mom. What an honor.

My husband and I fiercely love our children.

Transracial adoption has defined us. God has done some amazing work in uniting our hearts to our children and theirs to ours. Our love is true. Our love is real.

I’ve spent years fighting for racial justice in our church and community. I’ve talked to school principals, school boards, Sunday School teachers. I’m “that white woman” fighting for her black babies. I have been misunderstood and judged countless times.

As white parents of black children, we are close witnesses to their suffering. Our black kids rarely received the benefit of the doubt. Our white kids did.

While the struggles have been real, the beauty is remarkable. Each of my children has grown through the struggle. I am so proud of who they are becoming.

Each has a unique voice. One bound by both cultures, black and white, blended into one family. I’m praying they will step courageously and confidently into their God-given place – for such a time as this.

As tensions continue to rise across our country, I watch and I pray as most parents do. My children are all mostly adults now. But still I worry, with extra caution and extra prayers.

Could we have done more to prepare them? Should we have fought harder? Are they really prepared to face this very difficult place in history?

In John 10:10, Jesus warns us about the evil that is in this world. He says that satan prowls around like a thief on-mission to steal, kill and destroy. This is the devil’s age-old scheme. It’s nothing new. And we are seeing this in our world today.

Yet in that very same verse, Jesus says He came so we “may have life and have it abundantly.” This is Jesus’ promise to us, regardless of our circumstances.

As I sit here in my garden, just days after murders and riots have taken over my city of Minneapolis, the weeds have grown so high they are on the verge of taking over. These weeds are causing us to miss the beauty of the flowers right in front of us.

Today, take an intentional look at what is around you. Ask the Lord for discernment.

Which is a flower and which is a weed? Can you tell at first glance? Or perhaps you need to study it before coming to a conclusion. Please be careful who you listen to. Please be careful what you read.

The best way to get to know the real flower is not to study all the other leaves but rather to study the flower – the truth – the real thing. Dig your foundation deep into the Word of God and spend time with Him.

As we spend time with Him, He rains down His healing presence. His wisdom. His peace. His counsel. To soften the soil of our hearts…to plant seeds of truth…to bring clarity, peace and the promise of abundant life fulfilled in His presence.

Would you join me in prayer? That the Holy Spirit of God will rain down on us and soften our hearts and minds? That we would recognize and pull up the deadly weeds of bitterness and unforgiveness rooted within ourselves? Until we can all behold the beauty of our Father God’s creative reflection of Himself – in us.

Together we will come out of this stronger and more unified than before. But it starts right now, right here in the gardens of our own hearts. If we will do the work, I’m confident the flowers will grow until there is no more room for weeds.

In the Garden


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