The older boys are out back and I’ve got the door flung open wide. The baby naps and I can hear their mini shovels sounding against the hard dirt in the backyard. It was a long, hot, dry Summer. The very earth seems to cry out sharp when you try to break it up, let it breathe.
The breeze synchronizes their blond hair and matching Superman capes and a dog barks distant. I breathe deep and close my eyes.
We skipped church this morning because of Ezra’s cough that has turned his voice into gravel, but even in this I am thankful. This morning as the sun grew warm we all worked in the front yard together, pruning the bushes and raking up leaves and sweeping the walk. As Ezra clipped at the dense leaves, bringing shape back to the hedge, we talked about how letting go of things can be hard- painful lopping off- but it always allows room for new growth. Stronger growth. Greener growth.
As I scooped up the clippings and pressed them down into the bucket, I got lost in the wonder. Again, the kingdom stands on its head and logic can’t grasp it. Chop in order to grow. Clip back in order to spring forth. I find awe in my front yard.
The peace of this moment shatters. It never lasts, it never sticks. Dirt flies through the air. Myer growls angry. Shovel now flies through the air. Ezra yelps pain. I storm out heavy onto the deck, scoop up the dirt covered two-year-old and hiss in his ear that it is never okay to throw shovels. His dirt clings to me as I strip him down to bring him inside. He kicks at me, screams, yells “Go way!” in my face.
Now baby screams, awoken much too early by his older brothers, for the second time today.
I burn hot.
This is par for the course these days… me limping along upon moments of high and low. The highs are the highest they’ve ever been, the lows come more quickly than ever before. How am I, ragged mother, to stand straight and tall before God in the throes of these days? I can almost see the word ‘Pharisee’ scrawled upon a banner above my head. One moment I am praising Him for his gifts, this day, these boys, this house, this job! The very next I am cursing- literally cursing– under my breath and throwing barbed words around hoping they will stick somewhere, to someone, and relieve the pressure in my chest.
Chris comes home from a long morning of playing music at two back-to-back church services. I feel the desire to lash out at him… somehow stick the morning I’ve had to his shirt and walk away from it. It’s touch and go for a moment, he softens me with his eyes.
We talk of the big things coming up on the horizon. My heart starts to beat life again. I wash dishes in the soapy sink and I sing as loud as the napping children’s closed doors will allow.
my strength in weakness…
come rescue me,
As I move my sponge in circles over the caked-on cinnamon roll frosting, I smile because I somehow sang joy into this mess of a day and the floor in front of my kitchen sink is suddenly holy ground. I feel God’s pleasure rise up all around me and I see in my mind a picture of a little blonde tossled-haired girl sitting on her trampoline in the dusk staring up at the mountains that seem to spring up from the edge of her backyard and it’s me! And He’s there! I knew it then and I know it now and I feel Him say, bold:
“I am so proud of the woman you have become.”
My tears mix with the dish water and I sing it back soft:
and Your promise never fails me.
For you are good,
for you are good,
for you are good