When Life Gives You Onions

Full grown onion in a bowl

full grown onion in a bowl

One day last week, I retrieved an onion from the refrigerator for a recipe I was making for supper, only to find out that it had started growing roots…in the refrigerator.  That got me thinking.

You know the phrase “If life gives you lemons, just make lemonade.”  I am going to amend that colloquial expression: “If life gives you onions, use the tears to grow a new plant.”

The following sections are titled with verbs for the reason that when you come across a situation, you should act.


When you are cutting onions, how many of you cry?  To be honest, I usually do not, but sometimes my eyes water.  If an unfortunate situation comes your way, feel free to cry it out.  God created humans to have emotions, and he gave our bodies the functions to exhibit them.  It is perfectly acceptable to show your emotions through shed tears.  The Psalmist writes in his third psalm, “To the LORD I cried out…” and you know what? “…he answered me from his holy hill” (NET*).  The Bible also says of God: “You keep track of my misery.  Put my tears in your leather container!  Are they not recorded in your scroll?” (Psalm 56:8).  He treasures your tears.  The onion might make you cry, but it tastes delicious in the meal that you are cooking.


When I encountered the roots on the onion from my refrigerator, I cut off bottom portion of the onion and used the remainder which was still edible.  Look on the bright side and find the good in a situation.  Use the negative to do, experience, create, or think something positive in your life.  The Bible says in Romans 8:28 that “…we know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.”  The key to this verse is not the former, but the latter.  The promise only occurs if you “love God” and “are called according to his purpose.”  The onion may have grown roots, but part of it was salvageable for the meal!

Furthermore, while at first I thought the rooted part of the onion was not salvageable, I was wrong!  The onion is growing roots because it is wired to survive even in the most non-conducive of climates.  You may be in a desperate situation, but there is always a way out, a way to survive, and your situation will eventually get better.  That onion grew roots, so I planted it.  It was time for the negative in my situation to have a positive effect.  I may have lost a portion of an onion for flavoring; but I now have an onion plant growing in my kitchen that will provide me a minimum of three harvests (two from the green shoots, and one full grown onion).  The bad situation turned into a blessing which will be far more abundant than simply tossing the unusable parts.

Remove the Layers

Practically everyone in the United States knows, thanks to Shrek, that ogres are made like onions, and onions are made up of layers.

The onion makes us cry, but when we peel off layer after layer after layer, we get to the seed.  A lot of times, we pick up the onion ourself.  But if we peel off layer after layer we reach the center of the onion, the seed.  The seed creates new life.  Once you “…get rid of every weight and the sin that clings so closely…” (lies, worry, jealousy, complaints, impurity, shame, guilt), you can produce new shoots and new fruit, and “…run with endurance the race set out for us” (Hebrews 12:1).  Peel off the tear-inducing layers, and reveal the good seeds.  The Psalmist notes that “…[God’s] anger lasts only a brief moment, and his good favor restores one’s life.  One may experience sorrow during the night, but joy arrives in the morning” (Psalm 30:5).

So, what do you find beneath the layers?  Seeds.  Not just one seed, but many seeds.  Many seeds that make new onion plants.  More tears to come, yes, but just like your onions grow stronger and stronger as you learn to handle them, you will get stronger as you handle your problems (which, truthfully but unfortunately, often become increasingly more difficult as well).

How to Grow Your Own Onions

my onion shoots, approximately one week old

my onion shoots, approximately one week old

I hope you found today’s topic encouraging because “Every scripture  is inspired by God  and useful for teaching, for reproof,  for correction, and for training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16).

If you want to grow your own onions, literally not figuratively, WikiHow has a great article on the topic.  I took the onion that was already growing roots from my fridge, and placed it on my windowsill in a container filled with Miracle Grow Potting Mix.  Within a few days two shoots sprang up from one onion!  They grow about a centimeter a day.

’Til next time,

Allison L. Goodman

*Scripture and/or notes quoted by permission. Quotations designated (NET) are from the NET Bible® copyright ©1996-2006 by Biblical Studies Press, L.L.C.  All rights reserved.


About Allison L. Goodman

I am a stay-at-home wife and mother. I fill my days making taking care of my daughter, encouraging others, cooking meals for my family, managing my resources through DIY projects, and writing.
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