Last Updated on June 13, 2018
Huh. Easier said than done.
This year, the kids are out there “helping” me, which can occasionally mean two steps forward and one step back, but at least that means two to six more chubby hands pulling weeds. (“No! Not that one!”) I mean, do any of you know boys who can resist dirt, digging, and sweat? And as long as it’s not too hot — which won’t be for too long where we live — the physical labor gives me some good head-clearing, calming thinking ,and praying time as the breeze plays with my hair.
A couple of days ago, I was hoeing in frustration, partially because my thinking time was absorbed by the burden of friends’ marriages withering around me, and partially because I’d just planted — one of my favorite parts of gardening, full of the promise of good things for my family — and it seemed like the weeds were growing a whole lot faster than the plants. Tiny sprouts stretching their belligerent little leaves into a thin green carpet, defiantly poking their little heads into the air, and no doubt their jealous roots sucking the life out of the soil in which I fully intended to grow only vegetables this year.
I hacked away furiously. Down with weeds! The nerve.
As I chopped at the soil, teaching those weeds a lesson they’d never forget, I remembered that marriage — mine included — is a lot like my garden. Weeds are everywhere, sometimes a lot more prevalent than the things I intentionally try to grow there. I spend a couple of days inside, and they begin to think my territory is theirs, stealing the nourishment there, and maybe keeping some fruit from popping out later on in the season.
And the funny thing about weeds is many of them are just fine when they’re growing in the right place: I have some stunning flowering vines that are great everywhere but hookin’ arms with my veggies.
Getting crazy-busy with the kids, having a stellar career, spending lots of time with friends, or setting aside some of the things that make my husband feel really loved may be fine for some seasons of life.
But in other times, they’re nothing short of weeds.
My husband won’t have to mow my garden this early. But my little square of land doesn’t look like the Amazon in one day, either; weeds grow in steps. They start as sprouts. And often, I acknowledged, so does divorce. Am I taking steps to pull my weeds … or am I just ignoring them?
Wanna grab some gloves with me?
Janel Breitenstein graduated summa cum laude from John Brown University and began her career with NavPress, where she worked on The Message Bible. After having four children she resumed her professional career (around her momlife) by serving as a writer for FamilyLife. In January of 2012 Janel and her husband, John, packed up their family of six and moved to Uganda to serve with Engineering Ministries International (eMi), an organization that focuses on poverty relief and development, providing structural design and construction management for Christian organizations in the third world. Join us as we all learn first hand, through Janel’s posts, what it’s like to go from suburban America, to answer God’s call in Africa!