Amy Carroll » Investing Passionately » The Powerful Beauty of Something Tiny

The Powerful Beauty of Something Tiny

You know the saying… “Great things come in small packages.” That saying may be truest of one of the tiniest things I can think of– a seed.

Years ago when the boys were small, we moved into a new house with a barren yard. Even though I love landscaping, there was no budget for it that year, so I hesitantly bought a packet of zinnia seeds. Because I usually bought full-grown plants from the nursery, I wasn’t quite convinced.

Later in the summer, as I looked out my window at the tall, colorful zinnias gracing the front of my house, I basked in the powerful beauty that comes from tiny seeds.

In today’s devotion “Why Your Big Life Starts with Something Small,” I ask the question, what seed(s) do you hold in your hand? God’s given you something powerful to send into His world. What is it?

If you’re not quite sure, I have two resources for you.

“How to Grow Into Your Calling”

Next Friday, June 17th, I’m going to do my quarterly mailing to my faithful subscribers. This mailing will include, “How to Grow Into Your Calling,” a practical resource for identifying your calling, the seeds you hold in your hand. I know that sometimes our calling is clear, and sometimes it’s not. Occasionally, the word “calling” is too intimidating to even contemplate! This simple tool will acts like a magnifying glass, helping you to discern the seeds you hold in your hands by seeing the clues that are all around you.

If you’re already subscribed, thank you! Hang tight, and “How to Grow Into Your Calling” will arrive in your inbox on the 17th.

If you’re not subscribed yet, click here to subscribe and enter your email so that you can receive “How to Grow Into Your Calling” along with free weekly encouragement from me. You’ll also stay update on all things Exhale, including our upcoming announcements about group study materials. (Note: Only those subscribed by June 16, 2019 at midnight will receive this quarter’s free resource.)

 Exhale: Lose Who You’re Not. Love Who You Are. Live Your One Life Well.

The devotion today is an excerpt from my new book Exhale: Lose Who You’re Not. Love Who You Are. Live Your One Life Well. which is co-authored with my podcast co-host and partner in crime, Cheri Gregory. Welcome to the world, Exhale!

Isn’t she a beautiful baby? 🙂

Exhale is for the woman suffocating under the pressure of being all things to all people; of filling every unfilled spot at church, work, and home; of trying to do it all right, make decisions that benefit everyone else, and keep everyone happy.

Rather than adding more to your to-do list, Amy Carroll and Cheri Gregory show you how to

  • lose the ill-fitting roles you’ve been trying to fill so that you can be lighter and freer
  • love your truest, God-created self with all your glorious gifts instead of trying to shove yourself into a mold
  • live your one and only life in a way that you know truly matters

This isn’t a time-management book filled with how-to lists and calendar tools. Instead, it walks you through a process that releases you from the things that have created unbearable pressure. Then you’ll be able to live the combination we all long for: fulfilling the desires of your heart, loving your people well, and bringing glory to God.

Live the life you were created for!


In celebration of Exhale’s birth, Cheri and I are giving away two Exhale books and two stamped necklaces. Keep one to enjoy, and give the other to a woman you love.

To enter, tell us what seed(s) you hold in your hands OR simply say “I’m ready to exhale!”


(Tip: Next month’s giveaway is a big one, so make sure you’re subscribed! Cick here and enter your email.)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


  1. I am so ready to exhale. I would love to see the chart on page 72 of the book. I need it to guide my conversation with my oldest son. Our communication is so strained. I always am weighing everything I say. Thanks

  2. Connie Hastings says:

    “I’m ready to exhale!” The book description describes my life right now…..

  3. I am ready to exhale!:)

  4. Ann Boyer says:


  5. I am so ready to exhale!!

  6. I’m ready to EXHALE! God, please help me use the seeds you’ve entrusted to me in ways that please YOU. Ready for JOY.

  7. Patricia Gilliland says:

    I am ready to exhale and see what seeds God has entrusted to me!

  8. I am ready to Exhale. I need to learn to take more time for myself instead of always being worried about my job and pouring so much of myself into it.

  9. My work schedule has changed so that I go to work super early a couple days a week after working super late the night before. It has totally messed with my quiet time with the Lord. I spend quality time with Jesus on the mornings I’m not rushing out the door while still half asleep, but I feel like a loser spiritually because I can’t seem to get into a disciplined routine! I know these feelings of condemnation are from the enemy, but I
    also know that I have to find a way to make what is most important THE most important part of my day. I need to EXHALE!!!!

  10. In ready and very much need to exhale!

  11. Susanne Trout says:

    I am ready to exhale… and also listen to your message on the 17th that will show me the seeds I already have in my hand. I have gone through a moving transition, and a retirement transition, and I have never felt so out of my comfort zone, and a little lost. Ready to get focused and find the place God wants me to be in my present season! Thanks Amy!!

  12. Mary Ann S Boone says:

    I’m ready to EXHALE!!!

  13. “I’m ready to Exhale “

  14. I’d love to read your new book. The topic is very timely and I love the title! That’s exactly what I need to master to do in my life. When I read that this book is for ‘ the woman suffocating under the pressure of being all things to all people’- I feel like it’s been me in the what feels like a prolonged season. Being mostly an introvert I think it adds even more pressure and exhaustion (or feeling like) when trying to do all things that other people expect me to do…

  15. Sondra Kaye Gregory says:

    I so desperately need to Exhale, but it hurts less if I just keep holding my breath..

  16. I’m ready to exhale!

  17. Susan Bricker says:

    I’m ready to exhale!! I can’t wait to read this book because I am suffocating! Thank you for the beautiful words you write and the blessings of your powerful messages!! This is so timely! I’m grateful for your faithfulness in honoring God in all you do!

  18. Several times this week, I’ve told a few close friends I am running on empty. I have been a long term caregiver to my elderly parents, recently buried my mother, struggling with a father in mid stage dementia, and now have taken on a new emotionally disturbed step daughter. There isn’t any thing left in me to fight with! I am ready to live a more peaceful life!!!

    1. Amy Carroll says:

      Rayna, that’s a lot to deal with. I know God sees your faithfulness, and I’m praying for His provision for you, including people around you who give you some respite from care-taking.

  19. Marsha Rodriguez says:

    I’m ready to exhale!!!

  20. Ellen Traum says:

    I hold the tiny seed of a heart that wants to be used of God even thought it isn’t always clear how I am supposed to get that done.

  21. Monica Archer says:

    I’m ready to exhale!

  22. Beth Parsons says:

    I’m ready to exhale!

  23. Katie Titus says:

    I’m ready to exhale!

  24. Debra Pruss says:

    I am ready to Exhale!!!

  25. I’m ready to exhale!

  26. My sweet hubby of 42 years died 178 days ago. I don’t know what seeds I hold in my hands. I don’t even know who I am apart from my hubby. I haven’t lived alone since I was 22 years old!!! So, I am ready to exhale, but not because I am overcommitted. I truly don’t know me or what seeds I might possibly hold.
    Ready for God to show me and praying to become willing to learn a whole new way of living without my man. We had a special love that only grew thru our trials. God was our anchor……so now what? is all I can say at this point. Asking Him to carry me until I can walk on my own~

    1. Sondra Kaye Gregory says:


      I lost my husband in April and it still hurts to breathe. I find myself holding my breath literally. I don’t know who I am without my Bill. He was my soulmate. We did everything together. I don’t know my purpose or identity anymore. I wish I had words of encouragement, but all I can tell you is that you are not alone. I will keep you in my prayers. Sondra

      1. Amy Carroll says:

        Sondra, I’m praying for you as your grieve. My heart is with you.

    2. Amy Carroll says:

      Connie, I’m praying for you today in your grief. Even imagining the hole my husband would leave in my life makes my heart break with yours. Praying for God’s deep comfort for you in this season and strength to move forward when it’s time. Much love, Amy

  27. “I’m ready to exhale!”

  28. Stephanie says:

    My feel like my seeds involve nurturing and encouraging others. Hospitality would be included in that as well. However, I am still trying to discover what all I have to sow and would love to win your new book!

  29. My 3 girls & budding college ministry our the seeds full of potential in my life right now.
    I’m a pastor’s wife & minister. I just quit a job I loved & had had for 13 years because I felt God calling me to some change in my life. I’m still not sure what all that is going to look like, but feel that this new college ministry & ministry to my children are a big part of it.
    Your book sounds great & very timely for me. I look forward to the freebie coming June 17!

    1. Oops…I do my best editing after I hit send. Lol That should be *are not our

  30. Ann Souza Boyer says:


  31. Heidi Bair says:

    Thank you for this devotion! I’ve been having to rethink my calling and purpose the last few months after suddenly losing use of my legs and finding out I most likely have MS. I have been so afraid that my work with special needs children is done because of my own disability, but the Lord has been reminding me that His plans are better than mine and I still have plenty of seeds to sow! I’ve learned so much about natural medicine in these past few months and am finally turning a corner and regaining my ability to walk, so in this time the Lord is actually giving me even more seeds that can be sown!

  32. Jennifer White says:

    So many seeds planted in me. Mothering….adoption…..encouragement….etc. I love to look back and see those seeds planted when I was least expecting them.

  33. I’m ready to Exhale… and I think I have seeds of inspiration through art, but time is so limited that I am questioning how to do this or if it’s really one of my “seeds”.

  34. I’m ready to exhale!

  35. I can’t wait to see what seeds are in my hand! I’m ready to Exhale!!

  36. June Christine says:

    I’m ready to exhale!

    I enjoy sharing Gods Word and In Touch Ministries daily devotional magazines.

    I have 50-250 mailed to me to distribute anywhere. (They’re free and anyone may request they be sent to them)

    Some places I distribute them are food pantries, doctor’s appointments, neighbors etc…

    My favorite seed to gift is a Bible. 19 years ago a stranger online gave me a beautiful Bible because I didn’t have one. Since then, I’ve gifted many.

    1. Amy Carroll says:

      What a practical way to spread the seeds God has given you. Thank you for sharing!

  37. Brandy Beekman says:

    I’m ready to exhale!

  38. I’m ready to exhale so I can feel confident in sowing seeds of encouragement wherever I go but especially around my family and friends.

  39. I’m so ready and in desperate need of a long over due exhale

  40. I’m ready to exhale.

  41. I’m ready to exhale. I don’t really know what seeds I have.

  42. I need to Exhale and I am so ready!

  43. Is “giving” a seed? If someone needs it and I have it, I give it. I have a compassion for the elderly. I love spending time with them. They have life wisdom ( and some very stubborn attitudes!) So I guess my seeds are love and encouragement. Thank you for this devotion. It would be great to Exhale!
    My boss and best friend Kathy who is like a daughter to me, needs to read this book. 2 boys (10years apart), a Rottweiler and an American Bully plus a gotta-getter-done mentality leaves her 3-5 hours of sleep per night. Her husband works longgg hours. They both could use a little Exhale!!

  44. I am letting go of my last baby as he graduates from high school (exhale!) and holding the seeds of women’s ministry for the first time. I did a few years of youth ministry as a leader. When I stepped down from there, a few months ago, the women’s ministry leader and our pastor’s wife asked me to join their team and start leading one of our women’s Bible studies. I told the Lord I would do whatever He calls me to at this time of my life, but I thought it would be something more with children because women intimidate me:) However, I see the Lord’s hand in it; I am to lead the women who are raising His children that I love so dearly. And the women I have had the pleasure of leading are an absolute delight to be with. Most are not intimidating at all.

  45. I’m ready to exhale.

  46. I am a stepmom and I want to plant the seeds of a God driven life and live by example for my kids that may not get that at home. I am ready to exhale!

  47. I sow seeds to encourage, inspire and heal spirits.

  48. I hold a pack of seeds not sure what is going to spring forth from them. I am sowing them in faith believing they will bring glory to Jesus. He is my provider!

  49. Shari Ortner says:

    The seeds that I am trying to sow is that of loving people, healing people and to love them to Jesus if they do not have a relationship with Him. We already see that Revelations is upon us and each passing day is a day that God has given to us to win souls for His kingdom. The enemy prowls, plays and torments. People are showing signs of being loss, speaking hate, not caring about anyone but themselves. I do not want to see one person not see the glory of our Lord. This is a battle and it is intensifying, we know the ending, but will others get to see the light? If I can be a warrior of God, they will. May God bless all of you! Amen

  50. Connie Stegall says:

    Hi Amy, How encouraging this has been.
    I have prayed feverishly often asking God to send someone in my path that I can sow into.
    I can sow marriage support
    I can sow friendship
    I can sow mentorship
    I can sow helpfulness
    I can sow God’s Word into someone heart
    I can sow love and compassion

    I pray God will direct my paths as well as all of the ladies here, that we may go forth and sow God goodness into other’s lives.

  51. Trina Phillips says:

    I am ready to exhale!

  52. Good morning! I’m a dance teacher to tiny ballerinas and I think the seeds I hold in my hand are to encourage their love of dance and keep the art form fun and inspiring. There is so much pressure to be perfect in dance, even on little ones just starting out. I want to make sure my students feel loved and supported so they are able to cultivate their passion and feel empowered!

  53. Hello Amy;I love your Blogs and I love reading them also you are amazing Woman of God!
    “I’m ready to Exhale”

  54. Teresa Berry says:

    I open my hands slowly and tentatively, almost afraid to look. Not because I think I won’t see seeds, but afraid that they have been kept in the dark, sweaty palms of my tightly clenched fists for so long that they will be old, shriveled, moldy, and of no use. I’m ready to stop hyperventilating and letting fear be my constant friend. I am ready to expose them, embrace them, and let the “Sonshine” revive them!

  55. This devotional really resonated with me because all my life I have looked to others as examples of good mentors. When I was engaged to be married I watched other women and how they partnered with their husbands. When I was expecting my first child I looked at other Moms and how they mothered their. children. Those women planted seeds for me to grow in my roll. I definitely think God placed them there so I would have good example,es to follow.

  56. I am Exhaling!! The seeds I am holding in my hands are the seeds of Truth that I am beautifully and wonderfully created by God for a purpose that is His. He has broken chains and He is my Savior! The seeds I am holding need to be shared with others who need to know the love, grace, and forgiveness of Jesus!

  57. I loved your devotion this morning. I fell head over heels for my 3rd grade teacher too, an elderly woman probably should have been retired. She noticed me, saw me, made me feel significant. I hold those seeds and have been giving women of faith and young children the gift of being seen for 60 years now. But I never really identified it until your post this morning.

  58. Jennifer Howeth says:

    I’m ready to EXHALE! ❤❤

  59. Nancy Griggs says:

    I hold the seeds of eternal life that I can spread out to others.

  60. Patti Scroggins says:

    I am a retired preschool teacher that is a Nanny for two little girls in my home now.
    I was also a Ministry assistant for both the Children’s Pastor & the Youth Minister at our church.
    We are moving toward a new chapter and getting ready for retirement in a couple of years.
    I’m a little lost in the changes & am not sure what my seeds are now. I’m praying that we will not tire of waiting on Gods best plan for our lives.

  61. Oh how I need to learn to exhale and live in the moment. Really excited to receive Growing into Gods Calling as really feel like I’m still floundering in life in my 50’s

  62. So ready to exhale❣️

  63. Michele Weiss says:

    I’m ready to Exhale ?.

  64. Kimberly Carroll says:

    I’m ready to exhale!

  65. I’m ready to exhale… Seeds of encouragement, a listening ear, a love of basic writing to young ones, my story of hope and health…

  66. I am leading a Celebrate Recovery course and am learning to forgive myself and to not hope someone will do something but only working on the things I can change.

  67. Elizabeth says:

    I am looking forward to reading Exhale and learning how to discern in what way God really wants me to serve Him. My world is going to change somewhat this fall, with both my girls going overseas to school, and my son got married last year…so the nest will be empty.

  68. At 50, I’m still trying to figure out what my seeds are? I’m ready to Exhale.

  69. Karen Gillum says:

    I’m ready to exhale!

  70. Katherine Perez says:

    I am ready to exhale!!!!!!

  71. Marty Goodwin says:

    I’m ready to exhale

  72. Stephanie Looney says:

    I’m ready to exhale! I’m ready to stop trying to please everyone and be everything for everyone. I’m ready to not be burned out anymore. I’m ready to learn how to love and serve well according to God’s plan for my life.

  73. Looking forward to exhaling over summer break-/ I am a teacher, and it has been a challenging spring for my family with multiple surgeries. I am also excited to be working with college students again through our church and to really have opportunities to spread the seeds of hospitality and encouragement that I have been given.

  74. I am in a new season, many changes (husband’s new job that is three hours away, son graduated from high school and starting college this fall. I want to be planted and grow where the Lord wants me to be. I know He has a perfect plan for our lives.

  75. After all the events of the past two years the thought of exhaling sounds beautiful! To just rest in Jesus, breathe deep and then exhale. Such peace.

  76. Wow Thanks for this beautiful and very inspiring devotion. I loved hearing about your 3rd grade teacher, Mrs.Warren and the other seed producers in your life. the first seed producer that comes to my mind was Liz who is now in heaven. She nurtured me along the way with a closer, more complete, and intimate relationship with our Lord and Savior. I first met her in the seventies when my husband and I were teaching an adult Bible study at our church. Thanks for reminding me of her. I have the seeds of giving encouragement, loving unconditionally, and caring which are all given to me by the Lord,our Creator, and being nurtured by Him and in His Word. All of you’ll who are connected with Proverbs 31 Ministries are seed producers to many women and others. Thanks again Many blessings,much joy, and love to all.

  77. Debbie Duran says:

    Years ago I was given the gift of encouragement which I always try to do.
    Since card making is a hobby of mine, I use them too.

  78. Cassy Thompson says:

    I am ready to exhale! I am.a teacher. Going on 30 years. I have twin boys, just graduated. One is going to college and the other is life skills and gets to continue in school and train for work. Dealing with a challenging relationship with a bipolar husband. I think I need this Love to read your devotional messages with Proverbs 31.

  79. I’m waiting to exhale!

  80. Alyson foy says:

    I am ready to exhale

  81. Patti VanderZee says:

    I love to encourage others with a surprise card or just a quick email or text reminding them of my prayers and support, but I think we all need to exhale at times!

  82. I’m exhaling! Going through a valley right now, and grateful for all the encouragement your words hold for me today. God is SO good!

  83. susan mikeska says:

    God has placed a passion in my heart for women with unplanned pregnancies. We just completed a semester of a new class at our church that is a support group and discipleship class for these precious ones. We were blessed with 2 young ladies for our first class and it was a great experience for everyone. God has planted this seed and I can’t wait to see it grow and blossom each new semester as we’re faithful to continue what he has started .

  84. I’m ready to exhale! I need this like I need the air to breathe. I have my seeds, but I keep dropping them, forgetting about them in the hustle and bustle of daily stresses, or even worse… Putting them in a “drawer” and waking away because I feel like I can’t catch my breath for long enough to plant them. Some seeds HAVE been planted and I’ve not had the time to water them. I feel like things are going too fast and I can’t do what I’m passionate about for the Lord.

  85. Kathleen Knutson says:

    I am ready to exhale!

  86. I am most ready to exhale! I have been praying for my purpose and what I can do in this new phase of my life of retirement!

  87. I’m ready to exhale. I hold the seeds of teaching, leadership, and setting a good example

  88. I would love to have something to show me how my “talents” can be used. I feel so lost at times. I feel like I am wandering not knowing exactly what God wants me to do. I would love to have a guide to help along with my daily bible study. Thank you!

  89. Misty Key Seaborn says:

    I am ready to exhale-)

  90. Karen VanderPloeg says:

    I am a speech-language pathologist who works with geriatric clients and I often mentor graduate students. I usually have students from a state university, but this fall my student will be from a Christian college (where I graduated from)). I hold seeds of compassion, teaching clients new skills, counseling, listening, supporting caregivers, collaborating with colleagues, etc. I love sharing these seeds with my students and I love being more open about doing it in Christ’s name with a fellow Christian. I’m ready to exhale!

  91. I am holding onto a few personal situations and ready to exhale~Lisa~

  92. Tonya Seitz says:

    I’m ready to exhale.

  93. My seeds are peace and encouragement.
    Ready to Exhale

  94. Carolyn Sanelli says:

    Loved today’s thoughts…as a teacher my prayer is that I have sown many seeds to my students…I am preparing to speak to a small group of teachers and hopefully I will sow seeds of encouragement to them so they will continue to spread seeds.

  95. I’m ready to exhale!

  96. Tiffany Goss says:

    I am ready to exhale ?

  97. I’m ready to exhale! Sounds like a wonderfully practical book!

  98. Susan Burns says:

    I feel that teaching is my calling. I have taught various grades and even various subjects. I have taught Sunday school as well as swim lessons. I just love teaching. However, I also realize that I do have a tendency to try to do all things and make people happy rather than learning what I should be doing and how to say no gracefully to the things that are not mine to accomplish. I am looking forward to reading Exhale and learning more about who and what roles I should be fulfilling and which things I need to let go of.

  99. I’m READY to exhale!!

  100. Natasha Simmons says:

    Ready to exhale

  101. Paula Mischler says:

    I’m so ready to exhale!!

  102. Mary Morash says:

    I’m retiring from my teaching job next week but assuming a new role as grandmother! While I’m ready to exhale, I’m definitely looking for ways to plant seeds in the next generation. I’d love this book. It sounds awesome.

  103. Christianne McCall says:

    I wish I knew my calling, or my seeds! Maybe this book will be a resource to help me find them! Thank you and congratulations on your book release!

  104. I have seeds of encouragement and I am ready to exhale!

  105. I am ready to Exhale!!!!

  106. Robin Hogue says:

    I’m soooo ready to exhale.