I could only imagine what motherhood was like so I planted a garden.
I dug into the earth with my shovel and pushed it as deep as I could with the help of my foot buried inside a steel-toed shoe. Mindfully in the moment, I heard the melodious crunching sound the shovel made as it sliced into the dirt hitting buried rocks and matured roots from past plantings. The sound exhumed memories of watching my dad dig up space for a garden in the backyard when I was a kid. I dug shovelful after shovelful of earth and flipped it upon itself and worked the soil into a place of new beginnings.
Backyard nesting and oh, that fresh dirt smell.
As I made my way down the aisles at the garden store, I found a large selection of Knockout Roses. I felt like I was peering into the hospital newborn nursery window as I looked at rows and rows of rose bushes. Each rose similar in species had a unique look. I reached down and gently pulled out the one from the group that resembled me and put it on my cart. As a new mom, I was sure to gather together the potting soil and nutrients my budding plant would need to flourish in the space I had prepared.
I dug out a space to fit the rootball and added weed-killing plant food to the hole. I talked to the new rose bush, attempting to ease its fear of change leaving the pot it was grown in and introduced it to my yard. I loosened its roots so it could feel its way into the new space and feel at home too. I filled new soil around the root and pressed it into the earth. Wearing a new mother’s glow, I knelt down next to the rose and said, “Welcome to my yard; welcome to my life! Enjoy your first refreshing drink of water from the garden hose.”
This was a process repeated five more times.
I observed mothers who put their all into raising their offspring. That selfless act was revealed in the maturity of their children at an early age. In a similar fashion, I put in a lot of time and energy into warding off weeds so they would not interfere with the growth of my roses.
My garden was spoiled.
I fertilized and watered and the sun was my daycare provider. Here they are a year later! Oh, how my babies have grown!!
I could only imagine what motherhood was like, so I planted a garden.
9 I will sing a new song to you, my God;
on the ten-stringed lyre I will make music to you,
10 to the One who gives victory to kings,
who delivers his servant David.
From the deadly sword 11 deliver me;
rescue me from the hands of foreigners
whose mouths are full of lies,
whose right hands are deceitful.
12 Then our sons in their youth
will be like well-nurtured plants,
and our daughters will be like pillars
carved to adorn a palace.
13 Our barns will be filled
with every kind of provision.
Our sheep will increase by thousands,
by tens of thousands in our fields;
14 our oxen will draw heavy loads.[a]
There will be no breaching of walls,
no going into captivity,
no cry of distress in our streets.
Living with grief takes a toll on one’s emotions, health, and spiritual life. There is a time to mourn just as there is a time to laugh; so I had an idea. I put grief and joy in the same room with me (with 6 feet separation and we are all wearing masks). Here is what happened.
Grief: “Hi Kristine, are you going to introduce me to your friend?”
Me: “Hi Grief. Yes, I am going to introduce you to my friend. Grief, this is Joy, Joy this is Grief.”
(Neither can they shake hands, nor can they see a smile on each other’s face, so they nod to each other.)
Joy: “Hello, Grief.
Grief: “Hello, Joy.”
Me: “Grief, Joy, I brought you two together because I need you to know that you both exist in my life. Grief, you and I were spending way too much time together and it was taking a toll on my concentration. I had some negative comments when you were at your peak, but not everyone knows how tight we have been and it just looked like I was not on my game. I was reading the Bible one day and I met Joy.
As the Bible states in Ecclesiastes 3:4 it is okay that both of you are in my life. The verse says, “a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance”. I don’t always want to be sad and I don’t always feel like laughing or dancing, but whatever emotion I want to feel, I need you two to respect, as well as, get out of the way of the other. I would like to send you away, Grief, but Jesus said that in this world we will have trouble, but He has overcome the world and that is why Joy needs to step in between us more often. I am hanging onto Jesus’s promises rather than settling in with sadness. Jesus overcoming this world is really good news for me because I cannot do this alone or with my own strength.”
Living with grief takes a toll on one’s emotions, health, and spiritual life. Let Jesus in with the joy He has in store for you and watch your emotions, health, and spiritual life be rejuvenated.
It came in the mail the other day. The 4″ x 6″ white envelope had no return address, but my name was handwritten in beautiful calligraphy.
I sliced open the envelope to find it was an invitation. The beautiful calligraphy continued on the inside and I was being invited to a Thanksgiving Dinner and a Christmas party. An RSVP was requested, but there was no contact name, email, or phone number. As I read futher, I noticed the time and location were not listed either. Confused, I flipped the card over thinking the details would be on the back, but alas, they were not. I scrambled to pick up the envelope and look at the back to see if there was a return address written there, but there was nothing.
“What a cruel joke” I mumbled to myself while tossing the invitation in the air and slumped in the oversized couch in my living room.
I hugged the pillow made out of my mother’s clothing. My mind raced trying to think of who would send an invitation without any details. Then it dawned on me. It doesn’t matter where I go this upcoming holiday season, grief is going to be there. I have never been one to say, “If so-and-so is going to be there, I am not going.” But this time, I am allowing myself to make an exception.
Grief is excited for the holidays. It’s his big debut. He is going to make an appearance in so many hearts this year. He will be in every store, mall, and restaurant. He will be singing Christmas karaoke at the top of his lungs. He is a bit much; too much actually.
For the record, I am RSVPing MAYBE. It is okay to not do anything on the holidays if my heart is not up to it. Grief is as unique as a snowflake and does not come with instructions or an end date. MAYBE is my best answer…for now.
7 I will be glad and rejoice in your love,
for you saw my affliction
and knew the anguish of my soul.
Driving home the other day, I was on a highway overpass waiting for the red light to turn green so I could get onto the entrance ramp toward home. While waiting, I looked around at my surroundings. There have been many news reports about people driving the wrong way on the highway causing fatal accidents. I scratch my head and wonder how this happens as at each off ramp big signs are posted that read, “DO NOT ENTER, WRONG WAY”.
From the news reports, the people who enter the wrong way on the highway are either drunk drivers, or people with dementia who lose comprehension of their surroundings.
But going the wrong way can kill.
I think back to life decisions I have made. I know I should not have married my ex-husband; red flags were waving all around me. But I was young and figured things would change in time. They didn’t change; they got worse. The sad thing about that marriage is others saw the red flags too before the “I Do”, but nobody pulled me aside to talk about them. We all let them flap in the breeze. However, I take full responsibility for my decision to marry, and learned that wrong decisions can kill who we are and what we believe in. By the Grace of God, my life got back on track.
At the last supper, Jesus warned the twelve disciples, “One of you will betray me”. They looked around at one another each murmuring, “Surely it is not I”. Judas, like the wrong way drivers, may not have comprehended the direction he was headed, but went ahead with full gusto. His decision killed Jesus.
God created the world and everyone in it to be interwoven. Our very own decisions to go the wrong way in a situation can affect many more people than we could ever imagine. But check this out!
1 Corinthians 10:13 No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.
With this verse in mind, I have been trying to follow some advice that was presented to me one day during my morning devotions. Before each activity you begin, no matter what it is, ask God to direct your way. That way, we ensure that we will not go the wrong way. God knows the repercussions of our actions before we do, so why not ask the one who knows best?