Down To Earth

Touching the Earth

On the northern side of the single-story house, was a row of bushes. Though they only stood about 3 feet in height, their full green branches provided just the right amount of cover from the street view and the house next door. Behind the bushes and up against the side of the peachy-colored house was a perfect little hideout for a young girl with long brown hair.

I took my daydreams and fears to this furrow in the dirt beside my childhood home. The smell of earth, dried up needles, and fresh air was a comfort. I never minded the dirt that collected on my bare skin and clothes. This and the fact that worms, snakes, spiders and blood never scared me…I guess you could say, made me a tomboy. Being outside in the dirt was always a place of solace for me.

Funny, that’s still true today.

My secret hiding place became a graveyard for a few beloved pets, shoeboxes their caskets. And this same spot was also my own private library, or den. Sometimes I’d take old carpet remnants out there to make it more homey, and sit and read books, forgetting time and space, and hurts and sadness.

In the dirt, I was cradled by earth. The earth, powerful, holding life but harmless. Safe. I was safe outside. Safe alone.

Funny, I still feel that way today.

I find myself longing to be outdoors. Outside and alone. Tucked into a little corner with the trees, tending my garden. There is a solace, a comfort, a peace, when my hands are in the dirt and my skin is dusted brown. Maybe it’s the heritage from long ago, the family name – Farmer.

In the dirt, all pretenses are gone. I am lowly and simple. I get lost in the process, the digging, planting, watering and weeding.  The musty smell, grittiness on my fingers, the rocks and twigs and bugs all take me back to those moments, many moments actually, from my childhood. And I feel safe again, grounded, where I need to be.

In the dirt I feel free from the weight of all my mistakes, my faults, disappointments. Here is the opportunity for new life, for renewal, for death and rebirth. And even in all the elements, even in the harshest of weather, there is always the possibility of life again, and growth. The wind, rain and heat of the sun cannot prevent even the most fragile from rising again. All the yelling, the angry faces, the threats both physical and emotional cannot touch me, cannot keep me from rising again, in the dirt.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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My Heart

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My heart is overwhelmed. The days drag on. I linger on some moments and others are a blur. When you give birth to a child, that sets in motion a lifetime of dance. Twirling around in the warm embrace of love and happiness, only to switch partners mid-song, without fail, to look up into the face of pain and sorrow. The dance comes full circle, but continues on in repetition, out of control. I find myself begging to stop, briefly. To catch my breath. To go back. To skip ahead. It hurts and satisfies, all at once.

Life with children is like that. It is our greatest pleasure. I wouldn’t trade it for anything, wouldn’t undo it. But some days…it hurts with unrelenting heaviness. And I can’t see through the fog, can’t tell where the road ahead is.

I’ve been reading through the book of Psalms this past month. Many of the verses I am familiar with. But I’ve also discovered some timely passages that are new to me. I believe that God speaks to us, through His word, at exactly the right moment. I’ve heard some of these phrases before, taken out of context. But there’s something much more powerful that connects in our minds and hearts when we read God’s words within the love story, instead of just haphazardly grabbing bits and pieces.

And He spoke to my overwhelmed heart today.

Has your heart been overwhelmed for your child? Have you felt like you are drowning in dark circumstances, the consequences of bad decisions, in what seems like an impossible situation regarding your child? I’m sure it hasn’t always been that way. Surely, there were times that you saw, felt, tasted the favor of God and His faithfulness. Well, guess what?! He hasn’t disappeared. He hasn’t forgotten you. Like a strong tower, God remains faithful. That’s His character. It just might not look that way when we see only the heartache that is in front of us. That’s why it’s important to remember, to look back.

In Psalm 61, David says “When my heart is overwhelmed, lead me to the rock that is higher than I.” We have an assurance, throughout scripture, that God’s desire to care for us is eternal. And it looms high on the horizon like a majestic mountain, immovable. David goes on to explain why he would trust God, why He would run to Him. It’s because of his past experience with the Lord. For strength and relief in the present troubles, David draws on all the times before that God has been faithful to Him. It’s that steadfast love and wondrous works that keeps David going, that keeps me going. It’s the way God has shown Himself to me in the past, the many times in my life that God has been the rock that is higher than I. All the ways that He has delivered me from terrible choices, foolish thinking, saved me from enemies and even myself – yes, it is a proven track record in my relationship with the Lord that reminds me today, that there will be a better tomorrow.

Today, my heart is overwhelmed. If you’re a mother, I’m sure you’ve felt that way too. I never dreamed that the beautiful daughter I snuggled up with for afternoon naps with her tiny fingers curled around mine, would someday be estranged from me. And who could imagine the turmoil that would chase our sons and daughters through technology?! Friend, there are too many ways to count that our hearts can be broken as parents, too many ways that satan tries to steal, kill and destroy what is good and right and beautiful in our children. It’s all just a little too much to bear some days, most days.

Too much to bear. For me.

But then He leads me to the rock that is higher than I.