Unfortunately, on a steamy July
afternoon this past summer my hubby came to inform me that our bees
had swarmed…again. My countenance fell and ugly accusations came
rushing in, “You can’t do this” “Why did you even say YES to
Josh’s desire for bees,” “See, you’ve failed again.”
Honeybees are fascinating creatures.
Did you know they do a little dance for their friends in the hive and
based on their movements their fellow friends know just where to fly,
miles away to find food?
They also lay eggs and multiply
quickly. When this happens they need their caretakers (us) to give
them another level to their home. This is called a “super.” If
this is not done (which we had neglected to do) then the bees get
overcrowded and raise up a new queen and FLEE the hive- “let’s
get outa here fellas and go find a new home!” If the swarm is out
of reach, then you’ve just lost a lot of honey.
Thankfully this swarm of thousands of
bees in the shape of a football clumped together on my husband’s
portable disc golf basket. I knew if we didn’t act soon we would
lose the hive & they would fly off to find a better home.
Lord, help me to care well for the
little ones in my home. I know they too will fly off way too soon.
Forgive me for being so consumed about cleaning out and organizing that
I sometimes lose perspective on what truly matters.
Although I enjoyed the months of
studying the life cycle of the bee with my son and visiting honeybee
farms and even painting our hive and gathering supplies, I can’t
say that working with them has been easy or even fun at times. And
after a horrible whole body swell and scary reaction my husband is
now off the hook from working with the little critters. This thrust
me into the beekeeper role of feeding with sugar water, checking to
make sure they are not overcrowded and the whole process of
Once I am out there among the bees with
my son the wonder of it all is glorious. Josh and I laugh and talk
about how crazy it feels sometimes that we are really doing this! It
is an opportunity for him to lead and make decisions on what he
thinks is best. We are learning together. We sweat. We problem
solve. We pray out loud, with our eyes open as we work.
I seek to make a beautiful, hands on
life for my family but why do I just keep feeling so overwhelmed by
the responsibilities of it all? Do you ever feel this way? Or when
was the last time you were totally aware of how behind you were on
Josh was quick to put on his bee suit
and light the fire for the smoker. Although I appeared to be excited
by the adventure of capturing the swarm and returning it to the
hive inside, I was irritated at the time lost from my overdue
cleaning project and beating myself up for not putting the darn
supper on sooner. The transition to get boys to be self-starters and
hard workers at ten years old is tricky.
The July heat smothered us like wool
blankets as we walked outside in our suits, white sheet in hand with
the smoker to blow to keep the bees calm. We placed a white sheet on
the grass near the swarm with a new home (hive body) at the end of
the sheet. Heart pounding, sweat dripping down my head, I picked up
the whole contraption with the football sized swarm a foot from my
face and shook it so that the bees would fall off and onto the
white sheet. AHHHHH!
“Holy freaking cow, what have I
done?” “This is crazy, Amanda, you’re not a real bee
keeper” “Give it up & lay down these wild farming notions
& desires to do cool things with your kids, its all TOOO
much.” These words zooming like a night train through my mind
before I even had a chance to tame them.
Josh could tell I was freaking out a
bit and he sought to console me. “It’s okay, we can do this Mom.
Remember what you always tell me…Your totally protected by your
suit, there is no way they can get to your skin. Remember Mom?”
I stood there dazed by the large clump
of bees on the sheet that had 2 long feet to walk to get to their
home and the other two thousand bees that were flying around in the
air. “Mom, they need us to take care of them so they can do
what they were born to do and thrive.” Tears burst from
deep in my soul. My little man cub was speaking truth to me,
speaking from deep within something I’ve spoken to him millions of
Children also, like bees, need Mama
Bears to raise them up, work with them, spend time and energy on
them, pray for and with them, cultivate loving, thankful hearts and
manners into their lives so that they can thrive in this world and be
light- bearers reflecting God to the world.
His words brought an axe to the
condescending voices in my head and I went to work tapping on the
hive body so the bees would feel the vibration and walk towards it
(that’s what Crawford, our bee keeping expert neighbor, told me to
do minutes before on the phone).
I whispered thanks. “Thank you
Jesus for my son’s words, thank you for your love, for your
incredible design of the honeybee. Thank you, Father that even
though I often feel like a failure, I am not a failure in Christ.”
I then spoke calmly to Josh that we
could do this, and directed him to keep smoking the bees flying at
head level. Minutes passed and we worked in silence not knowing if
the bees were actually going to make it into the hive. Then, slowly
a wide line formed and the bees all turned their heads toward me and
started walking. I sat behind the hive body tapping the back of it.
A long holy pause. Wondering if the little creatures were going to
trust us and come into the new home or just flee off to a branch.
Amazingly within 30 minutes they were all safe in their home. Every.
Single. Last. One.
My husband and other children were
standing on the deck cheering for us. It felt like we had just
conquered Mt. Rushmore or finished a marathon! Joy, relief and thankfulness swelled and I hugged my son large and long.
As I sat alone in the grass, my four
delightful children playing throughout our yard, I wept inside.
Those “I can’t” words I heard when my husband first told me
about the swarm were true. In my own strength, I cannot
feed, cloth, organize, give zerberts, love, be a silly mama, organize
play dates, teach, train, watch over habits, bless the neighbors,
nurture a few friendships, be involved at church, keep clean,
matching socks in everyone’s drawers, grow food, take and pick up
kids from music lessons, keep a clean garage, make sure our animals
are fed and watered. It truly is too much.
What we Mamas do each day is amazing.
We hold tremendous amounts in our heads and hearts. Our jobs are
big. But our God is bigger. And this is what he reminded me of on
this swarm catching day.
In my own strength I can’t. And I
need to stop asking for help even. I need to ask Jesus to
live his life through me and trust, by faith, that he truly
can and will. Moment by moment. It’s like I have Michael Jordan
in me during a basketball game but I keep trying to show him that I
can do it. How silly! I can’t do it. If only I would surrender
and allow him to play basketball through me, I think I would
experience more victory. Don’t you think?
“For I through
the law died to the law that I might live to God. I have been
crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives
in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in
the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” Galatians
I don’t know about you, what set of
circumstances you’re in, where you feel way over your head, but I do
know that we all have access to one Great God who loves us and poured
out his life for us. He didn’t leave us here alone to figure it
all out, remember? He sent us a Helper, the Holy Spirit. We have
access so let’s invite him to live his life through us today.
Wanna join me in the asking?