An Invitation

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

It has been the coldest winter I ever remember having. It has chilled  us to the bone and trapped us indoors. I bought R new shoes over the weekend so had her try them on. Which of course lead to an immediate request to go outside. The dog needed out anyway so I told her she could go out, fully expecting a quick re-entry to escape the cold. But yesterday was a warm and sunny respite to the harshness that has dried out our skin and made me want to hibernate with a mug filled with hot liquid and under a warm blanket.

So my sister and my littles headed outside with me. We played and ate and pulled weeds until I couldn’t put naps off any longer. After I got both of them down I went back out. My sister was still pulling weeds.

When we bought our house we quickly established lots of dreams and wants for our yard. Gardens and decks and furniture to allow for meals outside. But with news of a pregnancy within a couple months of moving in, the busyness of life and never having cared for a yard before those thoughts have remained dreams. It didn’t help that within the first 6 months we had multiple people with way more knowledge than us raise suspicion about the health of our tree. So plans were delayed until we, finally, had someone come confirm that it needed to be removed.

I felt sad. I remember driving up the first time we looked at this house. There was life in that tree. She was green and appeared to be thriving. There were baskets with flowers hanging in her limbs. She has provided entertainment during meals with the life she invites to explore her limbs. I have delighted in my daughter, delighting in the birds and squirrels that have explored there.

But we have seen less life there and it was confirmed that this tree I loved was not thriving. So we had her removed this weekend. It was my birthday so I left while they were just taking down branches. We came back later that day and our yard was empty.

Then yesterday out back my sister started the endless project of pulling weeds back there. After I joined her without kids I looked at the part she had worked on and it looked barren. Before a quick glance at the yard and you would have seen green and flowers and life. But like our tree it wasn’t healthy. It was full of weeds and the healthy grass beneath was suffocating.

Early in the morning while disciplining my daughter and reminding her that God loves her she asked, “Where is God?” I told her that God is everywhere and she pointed around the room asking, “God’s on the floor? God’s on the wall? God’s on the ceiling?” I loved the simplicity of her understanding of that truth. And was reminded of it myself in a moment I desperately needed it.

With the memory of his presence I heard him speak to me through His creation. He gently showed me that I am not healthy. That even the things that appear healthy aren’t coming from a place of thriving life. He spoke his love and his desire to remove the things that bring death and make room for life. Not like the men who in what felt like to me (although likely not to them) one fell swoop took our tree. But like my sister. Sitting in the dirt, determined but gently using her hands. Not with a goal of making things look good for now but with a desire to make room for life. So slowly and carefully she grabs each weed at the root and pulls. This picture of tenderness is what he promises me. With loving patience he will grab at the things in my life that bring nothing but death and make room for life.

It will hurt. It will take time. It will leave the reality exposed and barren, like my backyard. But it will make room for life. It will make room for me to thrive. So where there has been fear of this season that I feel Him calling me into, today there is peace. Because I see so clearly that he isn’t sending me into this alone. He is inviting me to come and sit with him so that I can find Him.

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