Our Rose Garden

Last weekend Ryan and I took our girls into the backyard to do some yard work. Can I be honest with you? Last weekend was not my shining moment. Nothing really happened but you could say I woke up on the wrong side of the bed. All. Weekend. Long. [insert “Poor Ryan” here]
At church on Sunday I prayed for the ugliness to leave my heart. I didn’t want to end the weekend on a bad note and I was sure Ryan and the girls were over my ugly mood. Ryan decided he wanted to get some yard work done and, half ducking, asked if I wanted to join. I, of course deep in my funk, said no but changed my mind a few minutes later. I took Minnie out with me to meet Ryan and JoJo on the side of the house. When I turned the corner of the house, I nearly changed my mind again at the sight of our little rose garden. It was FULL of weeds. My only regret is not getting a “before” picture to share with y’all.
As I started cutting back the rose bushes and untangling the weeds from the beautiful stems, it took my breath away – the peace and irony that filled the moment. Do you ever have those moments when God is speaking to you as clearly as if He were literally standing in front of you talking? This is how I felt in that moment. I could touch the face of Jesus.

For whatever reason, my heart was full of nasty weeds all weekend. Maybe it was from the stress of the crazy week we had previously, or the bitterness of the injustice we can’t seem to get away from with the girls, or maybe its because my body seems to know May is coming and the loss of my mom has stretched on another year. No matter what the reason, I felt like God was using this overgrown garden to teach me a lesson.
The sum up of this garden being a mess is because the people tending to it (Ryan and I) had let it go. The winds here have been bad lately, we haven’t checked the sprinkler system in a while, and you could say this little rose garden was “out of sight, out of mind.” This can so often be the same reason for the ugliness that grows in our hearts. We’re too busy to relax, too stressed to take a break during the day – there aren’t enough hours in the day anyways. I often wonder what my heart would feel like if each day I took 30 minutes to do something mindless that I love – be it taking a bath, painting my nails, crocheting, sewing something for my sweet babies, etc. More importantly, if I found some time each day to spend with my Father. Not the typical, semi distracted time, but full attention, quiet mind time.

Sometimes thinking about finding me time is more stressful than anything. Trying to schedule a time out. This is where priorities come in.
Finding this time IS more important than folding that pile of laundry sitting in the dryer.
It IS more important than unloading the dishwasher.
It IS more important than answering that text, or that email.
This is the time that is making me a better mama, wife, and friend. It’s my time to unwind and renew. Now I know all this but I can’t honestly say I’ve mastered when to fit this time in. I can’t even say I have fit it in everyday since this moment we were cutting back the rose bushes. But what I can tell you is when the weeds were pulled, the dead roses removed, the planters raked and watered, and the branches trimmed of their weight, we were left with a beautiful rose garden. When I first saw the garden I didn’t think there was ANY roses worth saving. It just looked like a big ol mess. But when everything was cleaned up, I was left with TONS of gorgeous roses. I trimmed a bunch and put them throughout the house and there were still TONS of beautiful roses left on the bushes. You just couldn’t tell in the beginning because there was too much distracting you from the beauty of what mattered.
So, as I sit and write this, I’ve also come up with my game plan. I have two options – getting up before the girls and having some time to myself or, when Ryan gets home, taking a half hour after dinner to unwind. I’m not a morning person and would probably grow to resent waking up earlier and Ryan already takes over bath time at night, so for me, this is the perfect time. I would normally try to clean up the toys or do dishes or laundry during bath time, but I’m committing this time to work on my heart. I would have felt guilty about this a while ago – needing time to myself – but its not fair to myself to feel guilty. We have to recharge our batteries. For me, it’s crucial to spend time in the Word without the distractions. It sets me up to be a better wife and mama. Isn’t that enough to make this time worth it? Absolutely.

What are some things you do to recharge your batteries, or tend to your garden? When do you find time to do those things?

“Rejoice always, pray continuously, give thanks in all circumstances.”
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

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