I grew up in a church that publicly honored mothers on Mother’s Day. At the entrance to the sanctuary, they placed a box of little carnations to be pinned on the blouses of women with children as a sort of badge of honor. During the welcome, the pastor would ask all of the mothers to stand. It is right to honor mothers. So much of their sacrificial work is performed in middle of the night moments or behind closed doors, and it is good to affirm their efforts, stirring them up to love and good deeds when they may be tempted to feel as if no one sees or their work doesn’t matter.This ritual to honor mothers was certainly a help to me growing up. My selfish childish heart needed to consider all the ways that my own mother laid down her life for our family and to thank her for it. I remember feeling proud of my mom as she stood during the public acknowledgement of mothers. I also wondered why she always cried, and I remember seeing that most of the women cried during this part, seated and standing alike. Despite all of the beautiful opportunity that this holiday offers to affirm the role of mothers, it can also be a trigger, exacerbating deep seeded pain in those with children and those without. For this reason, Mother’s Day provides the church not only with an opportunity to “see” the unseen work of mothers, but to acknowledge the unseen pain of all women, caring for them by reminding them that our God is El Roi, the God who sees.
Last spring a group of large dudes who have come to be known as The Big Guns built some raised garden beds in our backyard. I love to garden, and this project felt like a big ‘ole sloppy kiss from the Lord right on my cheek. The vegetables, the teachable moments, the vegetables that teach me in moments…our backyard is becoming a full heart kind of place for me. And an unanticipated bonus of this whole yard project: the smells.
Now, granted, I have a very sensitive smeller, so maybe this won’t apply to everyone…but the smells, the smells…they are getting me. I *adore* the smell of a freshly pinched tomato sucker. And bitty E tells me blooming bee balm “smells like cleaner.” (Still not quite sure what that means.) The dirt, even some of the fertilizer (that’s weird, right?), my herbs…I love it all.
But there is one smell that is getting me good.
We used 4×4 cedar posts to construct the raised beds. While The Big Guns were here, they went ahead and cut the remaining posts to construct an archway over our fence gate at a later point in time. (Sometimes Big Guns tire of carting around Heavy Electric Saws.)
Those cedar posts have taken up residence in our garage, just to the side of my car. And they have lit up our garage. Previously the garage smells were not of such a nice variety. Yes, on occasion, based on perfect weather conditions and zero humidity, the garage would smell pleasant. Like a garage should. However, we live in the deep south. Like, put on your diving gear deep. And we have a diapered toddler. So most days our garage smells like hot trapped trash.
Enter cedar posts, stage right.
STACEY BOOTH|GUEST “Mommy, did God plan for your mom to die?” The question from the backseat of my car sends me into a tailspin. She’s four. How do I explain to a tender heart just how broken our world is? How do I explain that people die, floods come, and the “boo-boos” that took my… Read More
PATSY KUIPERS|GUEST Probably not the heading you’d expect for a reflection on two decades of widowhood… at least not until you complete the title of the cherished hymn, ’Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus and recall its first verse: “’Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus, Just to take Him at His word, Just… Read More
CHRISTY GAMBRELL|GUEST I learned the word “miscarriage” as a child when an acquaintance lost her baby. I remember thinking it was sad, but that no one really knew that person yet anyway. At that time, miscarriage seemed rare, and also very hush-hush. But when I went through it myself, I learned a new definition for… Read More
RENEE MATHIS|GUEST While not as heartbreakingly tragic as The Pearl or as deceptively tempting as “The Necklace,” or even as fraught with good and evil as The Lord of the Rings, my tale of jewelry is one that has caused more than a few tears. Despite what all the bridal magazines said he “should” spend… Read More