July is here. This is the month when I was planning to be fully immersed in the smell of new baby and bliss out nursing and snuggling and counting teeny toes. Instead, I’m driving my kids up to the cemetary on the hill to see where their baby sister is buried.
We walk slow, across sweet pavers laid in a line by some kind soul. The stones guide through the graves of young children. Reading the names and dates makes my stomach churn. Three months…three years… all these markers tell a story. Some of these stories I know, I remember. Others go back and back before my time or my family’s time in this town. Mothers and fathers and brothers and sisters hearts are wrapped up in this earth. My eight year old begins to read the names, one by one. I feel like I could be sick, but I somehow manage a smile for my other babes, new to this place. I want them to be comfortable here. The walk leads us to a small flowerbead. It is pure grace. It was purchased as a gift to families, to hold small children who never took their first breath.
I can’t walk there without wondering who possessed the thoughtfulness to create this space. It seems inspired to know that mamas holding tight to hope, and promise, and affection so hard inside their swollen bellies would need a place to grieve when inside of a day their babies are gone from them…when hearts are so full but arms are empty.
Who tilled this earth and laid the stones here? Did they know it would bring healing like this as they labored? When dirt rubbed into calluses and worked its way deep under fingernails? I hope they know. I hope they know this ground is sacred.
Watching my girls run a circle around the flowerbed, giggling, full of life, one can not help but observe the paradox. As I take it all in, my eyes wander and I see it. Right by the purple flowers my baby girl is burried beneath is a giant weed. Tears flooding over me, half unexpected, I stomp over and just yank it…hard! I am practically shaking, as more weeds around the blooms crowd my sight and I start hacking. There is a lump in my throat and all I want is to punch and beat something silly.
My fingers are muddy, and I’m just tearing now… I am almost manic and the ruddy roots don’t stand a chance. I’m not afraid to bleed from the prickles and pokes, I just want them gone. I want there to be one less killer of life in this place, one less piece of ugly that takes the sunshine away from the vulnerable. Protecting these flowers, the sentrys of all these departed children, suddenly feels like the most important undertaking I could throw myself into. I want to just scream at the devil,
You will not choke out one more ounce of life today! Not while I am here! Do you hear me?!
In my frenzy I manage to notice the last of the day’s light in the hills.
The beauty distracts me long enough to remember the maker of Heaven. My maker. The one who breathes all life. The one who brings light to the darkness, who comforts, who is here. He knows my heart to cultivate a home and haven, to pull out the ugly and protect the lovely. He taught me how, he teaches me still. He gives me freedom to grieve, freedom to freak out with him, even. But you know, he’s been pulling weeds a lot longer than I have, and once he even sat beside the sea while multitudes gathered around to hear him share about them:
“The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field, but while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat and went away. So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared also. And the servants of the master of the house came and said to him, ‘Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have weeds?’ He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ So the servants said to him, ‘Then do you want us to go and gather them?’ But he said,‘No, lest in gathering the weeds you root up the wheat along with them. Let both grow together until the harvest, and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, Gather the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.’ – Matthew 13: 24-30
Weeds will appear, right along with the wheat, until the very end: The beautiful muddled with the ugly, the laughter of my children at the grave of my unborn baby, the glory of sunshine and the pain of loss etched on stones…It all stands together until the One who will make it all right again sees fit to. And as I stand with the weeds, I can not help but give thanks that they focus me to the One who I know uses them to draw me to himself. How can we sustain the weeds of our hearts without a constant gardener, without the one who cares for us, protects us? Someday, he will yank that weed harder than I ever could and when he does it, it will be forever.
What are some of the weeds that have choked life out of your heart, mama? Is it hard for you to trust that the Lord will uproot them in this life or the life to come? Let’s try something today: If you are struggling, if you are hurting or in pain, if the weeds seem a bit too much for you today, just leave your name in the comments and our little band of mamas will pray for you. It is such an honor to journey with you. If you are reading this through our RSS feed or email subscription, jump over to the blog to comment so we are sure to see it.