"To the nest, to the nest"! I remember those words like it was yesterday, sitting on the bleachers at my daughter's 5th grade basketball games. Her coach was shouting to the girls to hustle back on defense to guard their 'nest'. Those words come to mind now after a long day on my feet, juggling five things at once. Stressed and exhausted from decision fatigue, all I want to do is go home - to the nest! to the nest! As I step outside, the long, cold fingers of winter seem to reach through my warm coat right to my bones.
Once home, I settle in with a warm blanket and a cup of tea. Still wound tight with the stress of the day, my eye catches the hand-written note with a crayon heart. I take it in my hand and open it, as I have many times before:
Mom, I love you more than my puppy.
I melt into a puddle.
It was one of the many Mother's Day cards from my four kids when much younger. I've saved them all, maybe just for days like this, when I need that sweet reminder from those days that seem so long ago. Holding small hands in mine, snuggling together to read a book, and hugs a-plenty. More tears . . .
We are emotional creatures, aren't we? The heart is such a tender thing - it holds hurts and love full up. And when the heart is too full, it overflows into tears, words that can't be spoken.
How we need those reminders that we are loved! I think of my kids, now grown and flown, building nests of their own. But the roots they formed while here will keep them grounded, at least that's my prayer.
My focus this year is to cultivate those things that matter in my life, and to create a schedule that reflects that. But perhaps instead of things, I should be cultivating postures. I remember teaching my kids a song about the fruit of the spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. The melody still easily runs through my mind. What if I put my focus on cultivating those things?
Since it's February, it seems natural to start with love. But where to begin? What does a posture of love look like? I head to the Bible, to 1 Corinthians. The writer says that of all things, the greatest of these is love. And if our actions are not done out of love, then they are meaningless. So I ask myself, if we all need reminders that we are loved, then how am I showing others that they are loved? Are my actions motivated by love? What does true authentic love look like, and how do I cultivate it?
Looking back at the past two tumultuous years, I think about all the things that have divided us - friend from friend, parent from child, and husband from wife. It's heartbreaking, but even in the brokenness, love is the one thing that is stronger. For me, that's the unconditional, forgiving, and endless love of God. That is the kind of love that is greater than all else, and I want to be rooted in it. Loving without condition, loving even when we've been hurt - it's not easy, but its the path back toward restoration.
"And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power . . . to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ". - Ephesians 3:17-18
Knowing that I am loved in that way, compels me to demonstrate it to others. This month of pink hearts, roses, and conversation candy hearts, I'm going deeper. I want a life rooted in true, authentic, Christ-like love. How about you? What if we allow the hard tines to cultivate love in all we do? What if we allow it to be our driving force, and let it fill our hearts until it overflows into our actions, so that our posture becomes one of love?
Hi, I'm Tracy - horticulturist, beauty-seeker, Word-lover, and blessed to be the owner of Bella Botanica. I also love to write about plants, gardening, and about my faith journey. Thanks for reading!