It's dry in Georgia. School has started back and the kids are wilting under the rainless heat, though they do find it manageable to complain about how cold my room is-- I like to keep it at a temperature where germs cannot live and where meat can be stored along the walls if we had some sort of crisis and needed to do that (yeah, that doesn't make sense to me either :)). Anyway, it's hot. And dry. Good hair days, but not great for the flowers.
And that's why I wanted to write for a minute tonight. I've been woefully negligent of this blog in the last year, and I know it relates to this sense of waiting that I'm still doing. Waiting to see if we'll ever get pregnant again, waiting to see if the Lord will remove the desire from my heart, waiting to see if He has a plan I didn't know about. But this blog... the Lord used this blog and you, my precious friends who read and cried with me through so many pages, to heal my heart after Ben's death. When people ask me how we got through that trial, and are still walking through it, I always say Jesus, our relationship, our family, our friends, our church, and for me, this blog. Writing and hearing back from people-- the ones I knew and the ones I'd never met and likely never will, was like almost daily balm to my burned and bruised soul. I wasn't alone. Other women had grieved the loss of babies-- many, many women, and sometimes the loss of more than one baby...and in the same manner... I cannot imagine-- and held my hands to their hearts and said, "I know. I know." And they did.
Did I ever say thank you?
Thank you. Oh, friends, thank you.
Tonight, I'm thinking of the state of my garden.
As you saw, a few months ago my amazing friends blew our minds and showed up on the front porch with loads of flowers and bushes and our yard exploded in color and responsibility. Planting the flowers is not the extent of the care we are to show to flowers [she says to herself]. They have to be weeded. They have to be watered and Miracle-Gro'd. They need...attention.
And I struggle with paying attention to things, honestly. Fortunately, I am really, really motivated by guilt, though, so I have paid attention and the roses are blooming and the gardenias are blossoming and the orange tree has little tiny white flowers and some tiny green fruits and is growing very, very tall.
But we haven't had rain in about two weeks, and the rain is critical to my perennial ADD (pun, anyone?). If I forget to water, the Lord remembers. If I planted something in too much sun, the clouds block the sun awhile. But for the last couple of weeks, not many clouds have stood guard over my lack of plant-knowledge. It's been straight up them-against-the-elements and I have been hidden safely inside, where there's air conditioning, water, and books.
The phlox didn't make it.
I knew it was time to water and Miracle-Gro tonight when my skin felt dry when I got out of the car after school. My skin never feels dry, so I knew the plants were screaming. I grabbed scissors and a trash bag (unfortunately did not remember mosquito spray-- those things are the devil. They're thriving in the dry weather, it seems. HOW?) and headed for the water hose. I dead-headed and weeded and watered and saturated and Miracle-Gro'd and swatted devil bugs for an hour.
And I thought about the dry leaves. And I thought about how I needed the Lord to help me to remember to cultivate the things I have planted, even when they aren't that exciting to me any more. I need to take care of the things He has given me responsibility for (a class or a certain student or a friend) even when it's not particularly entertaining or starts to feel burdensome. Pulling at the dry leaves of hostas, I prayed that He'd help me to remember the gifts He has given to me-- the calling on my life and on my husband's life-- and to cultivate them. Not to take them for granted. Not to just enjoy them, but to nurture them. And I prayed that the leaves that I allowed to become crunchy would grow back supple and large...and the same for the hostas ...
Moving around the the front of the house, I began watering the boxwoods and azaleas and roses and ferns and this huge awesome other-bush that we don't know the name of but which is really great looking. I started thinking how much better these plants were-- much of it has to do with the fact that they get mainly morning sun, and the fact that we tend to water these more often when we're outside talking with friends. But as I saturated the ground around the camellias and saw the little tight buds tucked into the dark green leaves, I was amazed at how sturdy they are and how they didn't seem to have wilted or suffered at all in the heat and almost-drought.
And I began to think about how old they are-- these camellias are probably 100 years old, and the boxwoods and the awesome-other-bush are probably the same age. Their trunks are 5-6 inches in diameter and their roots reach way, way down to where the water is hiding under the brittle grass. These plants are rooted and established and solid. They can stand drought. They don't wilt in the heat. They bloom in the snow. Their leaves stay dark and shiny in the most harsh conditions.
Planted deep. I want to be planted deep. I want my roots to sink so deeply into the Lord that I thrive even in the driest conditions. I want to be so established in Him that I bloom even when everything around me withers. I want to be so entrenched in Him that no matter the weather, I cannot be moved.
That's the only way we'll live, brothers and sisters, in a world where babies die and husbands get shot at war and dream jobs get cut. The only way to live is planted deep in His word and His presence; watered and bathed in intimate times of worship with Him.
How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked,
Nor stand in the path of sinners,
Nor sit in the seat of scoffers!
But his delight is in the law of the LORD,
And in His law he meditates day and night.
He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water,
Which yields its fruit in its season
And its leaf does not wither;
And in whatever he does, he prospers.
Psalm 1: 1-3