The river of energy that keeps a mother going, occasionally gives out in a gush when crisis hits.
But more often it seems that a slow leak allows it to trickle out. If left unstopped that mother may soon find herself gazing around in dismay at her life all a-mess.
It's not always that she has made poor decisions. Yes, there are times when she might say yes too many times.
But sometimes things just pile one upon another in ways that are beyond her control.
There is a rhythm here on the farm, an ebb and flow of seasons... a time for raising chickens, a time for breaking new ground in the garden, a time for allowing the garden to dry up and die. As the years pass, we begin to learn the language of our farm and understand the seasons.
Now, April, is a season of new life. Babies.
Baby pigs. Baby cats. Baby cows. Baby chicks. Baby plants. Everywhere renewal, life just bursting through. It is a time when the farm calls out to me loud... work here, be here, live all this goodness.
And yet April is also the season for retreats, and book sales, and Easter and fundraisers. It is the season when we are thinking of finishing up our school year, and what we need to do to round out our academics.
A few nights ago, at the end of another full day, I stood at the sink of dirty dishes and just felt tired. Dirty dishes, again. So much left on the to-do list. Heaviness settled and I fought back tears.
Perhaps what I should have done then was to whisper a prayer and dive in, but instead I asked my husband to pray for me, for my constant struggle against my lazy sin nature, then I picked up my camera and walked outside.
It was a lovely soft spring evening. I walked through bird song to the baby pigs, and watched them through slats in the fence as they vigorously nursed. The walk calmed me.
I kept thinking about renewal. New life... transformation... fresh starts.
Fresh starts don't always come through brand new things. Despite what our consumption driven culture tells us - buy this! start new! bigger and better! - real life, the created world, tells us something else.
Life comes from life. Babies come from their mothers, drawing their very life from their mothers' own body. There isn't new life without a giving.
Life even comes from death. The flower fades and droops to the ground, in its death bearing seeds of life to the soil, seeds which will spring up and bloom the next year... life from death.
I left the pigs and headed to my garden. My garden is a weedy mess this year, woefully neglected, a blinking red neon light on my to-do list. The only thing I have planted is tomatoes. A few weeks earlier I had picked up tomato starts. Shortly thereafter we had a surprise freeze... forecast said lows in the mid-40's, I woke up to frost on the grass. Most of the starts were frozen.
I planted them anyway, hoping. Because I know about renewal.
Now, into the tangle of weeds I walked, scanning my planted row hopefully. And there, in the crook of death, in an angle between green stem and dead withered branch, new life sprung.
From the brokenness comes healing. From death comes life.
Then a shoot will spring from the stem of Jesse,
And a branch from his roots will bear fruit.
The Spirit of the LORD will rest on Him,
The spirit of wisdom and understanding,
The spirit of counsel and strength,
The spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD.
~ Isaiah 11:1-2 ~
It is a mystery that defies explanation (although we try, oh how we try)... in Jesus' death we have found life. Real life. Always and forever life, not just after our earthly bodies perish, but now, NOW!
Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.
~ 2 Corinthians 5:17 ~
Drinking in living water from God's very creation, His whispers to my heart from the life bursting out on our little homestead, I was refreshed that evening. The leak was plugged, my energy renewed.
I capped my lense and walked back in the house to find my husband sweating over the sink. I rushed to assure him my prayer request was not a veiled hint and he turned, smiling gently, to me.
He put his arms around me and said, "'Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it?' (James 2:15-16) You asked me to pray for you. I am praying for you."
He turned back to the sink and began to lay out a family plan for managing the kitchen work. From the broken places, newness coming forth again.
Today I am thinking about the broken bread, the broken body. In these next few days before Easter brokenness will be much on my mind.
But brokenness is deep in my heart. It is the unceasing reminder that I would be perishing if it were not for the miraculous fact that life springs from death.
My life from His death. Hallelujah!