Weeds part 1

August is such a crazy month when you have school age kids. Whether you choose public school, private or homeschooling August is the time when you prep to send them off or start up again. It is the time when you squeeze in the last bits of vacation, sporting events, and summer fun.

For us, August 1st denotes the end of summer and the end of time with Daddy. My husband enters the world of college football, and the luxury of having him home by 5 pm for dinner becomes a distant memory until next May. Don’t get me wrong, we LOVE this time of year. My kiddos (5 and 3 1/2) have a calendar hanging up with a countdown to when “the guys” come back to campus, and the first game. They have special “game day” gear, snacks, and travel games. They think they are pretty cool when they get to help fill water bottles at practice or ride the bus home with the players. I get to take most of the month off from cooking, and we eat dinners with the team in the dining commons.
This year we are entering the world of Kindergarten, and I’ll admit, I’m a little sad to have to do it myself. Hubs can’t take the morning off like other dads to come to see the room, have breakfast the first day of school, and hold my hand while I try to be brave and say goodbye to our first born for a whole day of school. Many of you reading this may be thinking so what, my husband can’t do that either, he works downtown or out of town, but here, in this college town, we’ll be in the minority. The most challenging part of this will be the lack of flexibility to grab lunch with Daddy on a particularly rough day. Kindergarten is all day, and when kiddo gets home, practice will be starting.
What’s a wife and mom to do? What do you do when you have 2 daddy’s boys who will spend the next month watching him run around with other guys and trying desperately to stay awake for a good night kiss. What do you do when you have to explain that yes, it is our time with Daddy at dinner, but someone else needs him right now, and we have to share that time. What do you do when your kiddos are fighting only because they are sad and want to express it.
Every year I’m learning new tricks, new ways of explaining and new fun things to do. We’ll help fill water bottles at practice and bake cookies to hand out at practice. We’ll surprise Daddy with breakfast in bed on Sunday and lots of snuggles. We’ll have players over for meals and teach them our version of “Go Fish” and show off wrestling moves, and we’ll spend the month being VERY grateful for all the amazing people in our community who have that particular instinct and know how to step in and distract, extend some extra patience and are willing to give Momma a break. Finally, we’ll count down the days to the first day of classes when practices go from 3 to 1 a day and game day is just around the corner…you see, for us, August is our January, our “new year.” New players, new teams to compete against, new coaches, new opportunities….doesn’t matter what the record was last year, we start fresh 0-0, every August, a new chance, a new season…
Life is similar, isn’t it? Regardless of what you are currently dealing with, the phrase “this too shall pass” is probably relevant. But what do you do until it passes?

Weeds part 2

With all the changes the last year has brought I have been reflecting a lot on seasons. Have you ever had a time when it seemed like every book you picked up, a sermon you heard, or serious conversation you had revolved around the same theme? I have found myself even doing outdoor chores reflecting on the Biblical references to nature.
Matthew 13 in part contains the parable by Jesus about weeds. The parable talks about an enemy planting weeds in a farmer’s field and how he deals with the results. The parable is explained by Jesus in verses 36-43:

36Then he left the crowd and went into the house. His disciples came to him and said, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field.”37He answered, “The one who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man. 38The field is the world, and the good seed stands for the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one, 39and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels.

40“As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age.41The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. 42They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 43Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear.

A few weeks back this summer I was pulling weeds from my flower bed. It’s not a large bed, maybe 12 inches wide and 15 ft long. I went out to assess the project, and at first, glance saw just a few weeds. I grabbed a grocery bag and began pulling. As I pulled I noticed a few things:

1) Some of the weeds were way deeper than I first thought with really long roots.

2) Some of the weeds were hidden and only discovered upon closer inspection.

3) Some of the weeds were really, really hard to pull out.

Isn’t that true of our own lives? When we first start to think about flaws we only see a few, and we think, those are no big deal, they are small and easy to get rid of. After we start to focus on those areas they can become consuming, overwhelming, and defeating.

After a few minutes it became apparent that my quick pruning was going to take a little longer than I first thought. I was starting to sweat and even wished I had taken the time to find my gardening gloves.

When I finally finished my task, the flower bed looked great. I hadn’t even noticed how over run it was looking and was actually surprised at how much better it looked. I was also surprised to see not one but three bags of weeds to throw out. What a sense of accomplishment!

Weeds part 3

So, I left off that I had a freshly weeded garden. I have to admit, I was tired when it was over. I was looking forward to enjoying the flowers without having to put in any effort for awhile. There was even consistent rain, so I didn’t have to remember to water the plants. Then we left for 2 weeks on vacation.
When we returned the first thing I noticed was how dry and wilted everything was. You see, I had put a friend in charge of watering, and they hadn’t really done it. They had their own things to worry about, and couldn’t tend to mine.
The second thing I noticed was there were ALL THESE WEEDS!!! Not ONLY were the weeds I had just pulled back, but they had multiplied! It was as if I had never weeded in the first place. Now I have to admit, I was pretty frustrated, and my first instinct was to give up, but then I remembered how content I had been when everything was looking clean. I got to work, the next morning. You know a really cool thing? It wasn’t as hard. The weeds hadn’t taken root. I had caught them early enough and they pulled right out. What a relief!
1“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunesa]” style=”font-size: 0.75em; line-height: 0.5em; “>[a] so that it will be even more fruitful.3You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.5“I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.6If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. 8This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.

9“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love.11I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. 12My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. 14You are my friends if you do what I command.15I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. 16You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. 17This is my command: Love each other.

Did you know God was the first Gardener? In Genesis 2:8 it says that God planted the Garden of Eden.
In John 15 the symbolism of God being our gardener is so relatable! Working in my plants this past summer was such a great reminder of the following truths:
1) We must weed in order to allow space to bloom. If we don’t allow God to cut off the dead areas it will drag us down.
2) WE must remain in God. We cannot allow others to be in charge of tending us. It is our responsibility to stay with God, tend to our own relationship. We are promised if we do so God will be right by our side.
3) If we stray (and most of us will because we are humans) we must begin the pruning (or weeding) process quickly. We must not let those roots grow deep!