The sun’s shining hot today, and I’m pushing the hoe into broken soil, furrowing rows long and deep.
Placing tiny seeds into soil and covering them up is a task for the trust filled. No one knows how, but those seeds actually bring forth life in the dark earth. Who knew that death for a seed could mean life for a family?
The kids run wild on the dusty farm that’s being renovated for our friends. This massive place is a gift to our summers, as well as the people who own it. Eight kids learn gardening together, hoeing down rows of weeds in summer sun. They dip in the creek and run wild, chasing chickens and cuddling furry bunnies.
We all soak up heat from bon fires while spring peepers end their nightly song and the world goes silent under a dark sky.
Even the cows cease munching when the moon comes out. And here, we sit, thoughtful and quiet in the wake of another night.
The body needs rest just as the soul does.
Lately, we’ve all needed soul rest because we’ve gotten another call with dread news. They don’t seem to end. This time, it’s one of my dearest friends who’s lost her mother in the blink of an eye before she could get there.
My heart breaks, tears apart a little. Losing a mother is no small thing. And on Easter, when we were all smiling and hunting eggs and I had looked into her face while we spoke of Christ rising in victory above all things in our lives—right about then, her mother rose to meet Jesus.
We didn’t know it until later. And when she got the call that her mother died, it was hard to feel that she risen, instead.
It’s more like news pounds us and hits so hard we go into shock. We’re devastated beyond words. When it happened to me, I couldn’t believe a person could go numb quite like I did.
Now, it’s her.
I sit at my kitchen table the same day with my another friend who’s just lost her mother. And I watched little ones a few weeks ago who had lost their mother a few years ago, when the boy was just a baby. Other friends have lost their brother, and it doesn’t seem to stop, this saying good-bye thing.
Sometimes, we don’t even get to say good-bye. They just slip away—we call it death.
My bare feet dig into soft, black soil, as I sacrifice clean feet for the feel of earth on my skin. My friend prays aloud over the seeds she’s planting, and then places even rows of labeled markers at the end of each row.
That night I’m showering the day’s dirt off my body, and He asks me if I’m willing to give up my fondest dream. I say it loud in my heart, a great big yes. I’m willing to die this death because my God is One of Life, and when He asks me to die to something, He always replaces it with life lessons I’d never learn if I hung on to what I wanted—or even thought I needed.
I know in my heart that if I were to die a thousand deaths, He would allow me to live a thousand blessings to replace them. This is why I hesitate less and less to let go of things I’ve held on to so tightly my knuckles became white.
God never, ever asks us to give something up without replacing it with something better. And when we hang on to what we want, we lose the peace we need most of all. We may run aside of God’s will for us, but lose out more even when we think we’ve gained.
Because what the soul needs most of all is to die to itself so that new life can come. When the heart breaks wide open, rather than close it up tightly, we need to leave it open and broken so that Love can pour itself all the way into the deepest cracks.
When you cover up, close up, and curl into a tight ball of avoidance, Love doesn’t get to seep inside.
It’s OK to be broken. Christ came to make us whole, and He can’t make us whole if we’re not broken first of all.
It’s OK to feel like you’ve lost it all. It’s Ok to let go, to release the very thing you thought your life depended on. Because when you let go, you get to hang on even better. Hanging onto God Himself, means you’re safe—from all of it.
I pick up the phone to call my friend who’s lost her mother . She doesn’t answer. I know the feeling of having the life drained right out of you so hard you can’t even answer your phone.
My heart breaks for her. It’s going to be a long road through grief. Walking into your mother’s empty craft room the months before Christmas, alone, when you’ve always created gifts together wouldn’t be easy.
But how could our loved ones meet Jesus if they stayed here, clothed in their earthly bodies? How could they know their greatest joy if their spirits hadn’t let go of mortality? How can immortality be known without the death of mortal bodies?
Do we know, right in our tears, that letting go means abundant life? That when we get the call, and our hearts go down, our loved ones are rising high?
And us still alive on this planet, when we die a thousand deaths, when we release the things God is asking us to give up, we can know beyond doubt that following through means we get to live a thousand blessings.
Because God never asks you to die without promising you life. He only asks you to die temporarily so you can live eternally.
I push the seeds into black earth, and I smile.
No one but God could bring life out of death. And I trust Him fiercely.