Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Look up, Mama.

This afternoon I was meandering through my flower beds just before my husband arrived home from work.  I often walk around the perimeter of our house, looking for new blooms, pinching off spent ones, or replacing mulch where a squirrel has been digging for nuts long-buried.

As I walked I noticed something.  Just past the Japanese Maple, near the Nandina that somehow reappeared after being dug up 4 years ago (I decided that it proved it's resilience, so now it thrives in it's odd spot behind the dwarf Magnolia) was a thick patch of weeds.  They were seedlings, actually, of the tall oak that dropped acorns last Fall.  I squeezed between an Autumn Fern and an almost-blooming Hydrangea and pulled up the unwelcome guests.  As I straightened back up from my crouched position a sweet smell wafted across my nose and I almost jumped in surprise.

Where is that coming from?

It smelled like perfume.  Delightful.

I went over to a just-opened Hydrangea bloom and took a sniff.  It smelled nice, but it was not what struck me as I was pulling the weeds.  I looked around to try to identify what was producing such loveliness and spotted a huge white bloom.

magnolia white bloom God weeds

I was completely taken aback.  I thought the magnolia blooms had all faded away.  Peak season for Magnolias around here is usually in May and, as you are well aware, we are into the second week of June.   I had stopped looking for the blooms.

I leaned in to take in the scent.  It was exactly what had caught my attention.  It was perfectly perfumey and strong and one step back revealed two more blooms...the last holdouts before Summer heat sets in and wilts them away.

There is a saying that goes like this:  "One is nearer to God's heart in a garden than anywhere else."

Today I felt that, for He revealed something beautiful to me right there where I stood.

How often do I miss beauty because of the weeds?  How easily do I become frustrated at the difficulty of maintaining order, of training my children, of dealing with negative habits or even willful disobedience?  

It is too easy to focus on the work.  When our hands get dirty and there is grit under our fingernails and blisters on our palms, we groan at the burden that is harder than we feel we can bear.  The weeds seem endless at times...pull one up and three more grow in it's place.  Our knees become calloused and numb and we just stare at the stubborn ground that refuses to release the roots and look to see if there is a "special tool" or an easier way to do this.  Surely there is a book somewhere that tells us "5 steps to a weed-free life" or something like that, right?  Spring has passed and the sweetness of early childhood has faded and we think of all the things we would do differently if we knew then what we know now.  

Or would we?

For if we look up...

Look, Mama.  Look up.

There.  Do you see it?  While you were on your knees pulling weeds, a bud has formed.  It is just beginning to open.  Yes, I know there are more weeds that demand your attention...but look.  All of that work is paying off.  You are tilling fertile ground and there is a bloom!  It is fragrant.  Take a deep breath.  Remember that scent that caught your attention.  Yes, Spring is ending but those blooms?  They are today's reward.

Every weed you pulled was sucking life from the roots of that tree.  You kept at it, and you will keep at it until they no longer grow back...which may not happen this side of Heaven.  But still we have to keep weeding, we have to not grow weary in well-doing because God is creating beauty just above us.  While you are bent low He is opening up a blossom bigger than your open hand.  Stop.  Take a long look and rejoice for the Lord your God is growing a Son and Daughter right before your eyes.  Your labor is not in vain, sweet mama.  

OUR labor is not in vain.  

Keep working.  But don't forget to stop and breathe in the scent of joy that emanates from your children.  When your teenager hugged you hard at bedtime?  That is a bloom.  When your child who struggled to attach let you carry her sleepy body in your arms and kiss her goodnight?  That is a bloom.  When you received that note telling what a blessing your child was to someone today?  That is a bloom.  Rest now and take in the beauty of your garden.  There will be plenty of weeds to pull tomorrow.


  1. Oh, Jeanine...

    THIS is lovely! I love the spectacular show of a Magnolia, and that you have a repeat performance? A lovely gift! But mostly the way you found it, how you saw grace and goodness and GOD in your garden! Beautiful, all.

    I had to come over to your blog to thank you again for your generous comment on my post today. It meant more to me than you'll ever know.


    1. Robin, thank you so much! You truly blessed me today!


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