Spring is finally starting to spring up around here. I love the winter, and snow is my favorite, but even I am ready for warmer days and signs of new life.
Growing up in the nursery business gave me a profound love for the smell of freshly turned dirt and peat moss, and after a crazy few weeks of working more hours than I can count I decided I was in need of therapy of the dirty kind, so I headed to my flower beds with a trowel, shears and a garbage sack.
As I sat and looked around me I noticed that my flower beds looked a lot like I felt. Pretty ugly. Dry. Barren. A scraggly mess. I was so ready to be done with the dreary winter look… in my heart and my front yard.
I’m learning that it’s a lot easier to believe something with your mind than with your heart.
For example, if you’re a single woman on Valentine’s week it’s really hard to make your heart believe that Jesus is better than any earthly man you could ever meet or fall in love with. At least that’s what my friend, Ramona, and I concluded this past Saturday night over a very long dinner.
We walked through the dark valley together, Jesus and I. It was the hardest two years of my life, the two years after my husband decided he didn’t want to be married anymore. The two years when nothing was stable except the Rock of Christ Jesus.
Through the darkness, through the depression, through the questioning and the confusion there was Christ, always Christ, always near; tangible.
Sometimes warriors wear high heels and tiaras and carry flowers.
Last week my friend Jennifer and I had the honor of getting to help celebrate the accomplishments of some of our favorite young women at Saving Grace.
As we stood on that stage asked them to join us one by one as we read simple short paragraphs about their journey my eyes filled with tears over and over again. Girls who were abandoned, abused, neglected, homeless, in debt, pregnant, unloved, alone... one by one they got out of their seats and walked to the front of the room looking beautiful.
(I'm not quite sure I'm allowed to say "sucks" here but "waiting is hard" didn't adequately describe how I'm feeling.)
I hate waiting, and I'm not really good at it. Patience is not my forte. It seems as if everyone I know is in a holding pattern right now. Waiting on new. Waiting on change. Waiting on someone, something, somewhere. Waiting for doors to open, and others to close. Waiting on pain to end. Waiting on joy to come. Some have been waiting for years, faithfully serving, faithfully trusting, day after long day stacked one upon another until so much time has gone by that you begin to wonder what it is you're even waiting for anymore.
I ordered a London Fog, she ordered an iced mocha. We sat across from each other sipping our respective drinks wondering if it was safe to just unload or if we needed to do the whole "small talk" thing first.
Thankfully, neither of us are all that good at small talk, so we just jumped in. She started, "You know that blog you sent me? Yeah. I feel that way too. Why are we like that?" She was referring to a blog I had sent her earlier that morning.
When I brought you home from the hospital you each weighed just a smidge over 4 pounds. You came home needy. You needed to be fed every 2 hours round the clock and needed to be weighed every 24 hours. Heart monitors and home health nurses were constant companions.
The first five weeks of your life were the hardest for me. Leaving the hospital every day without you almost ripped my heart out. When you finally came home I spent the next 12 weeks of your life sleeping on the floor of the nursery with my hand on your crib.
I don't know about you, but my life feels like I just move from one crisis to the next. Oh sure, some moments would probably better be defined as irritating interruptions to my schedule than a full on crisis. But still. It. Never. Stops.
So I pray for a break. Just one week where nothing goes wrong. Just one weekend in a cabin, in the woods, alone, with no alarm clock. Just one evening where I don't have to cook dinner or drive anyone anywhere or clean up gold glitter fingernail polish off of every single surface in my bathroom (yes, I'm serious). It's always something.
We sat across the table from each other in silence; me with wounded pride, her with fear that she'd offended. In the silence I asked myself some hard questions. Questions like: is this truth or a lie? Is she saying this because she loves me or because she's irritated with me? Is she righteous and trustworthy?
The words she said to me were truth. I couldn't deny that. But they still stung. And the woman sitting across from me was a faithful, trustworthy friend. A friend who had walked dark valleys beside me and taken me to the feet of Jesus on many occasions. I knew it was the voice of kindness rebuking me.
This past weekend I had the opportunity to travel with a group of single moms to the Survive and Thrive Conference. My head is still spinning with information and encouragement and heartbreak from the weekend.
I feel like I need a week in solitude with my journal to process all that I experienced in those few days. But one thing from the weekend just won't seem to go away. It's begging to be processed first, and I think it must.