Yesterday, on our drive home from school, the kids and I noticed a farmer burning one of his fields. The flames licked their way across, then climbed steadily up the hill to the road, where we sat in the car, and watched.
“Why do they do that, Mommy?” one of the children asked.
“It helps clear away all the dead,” I explained, “to make way for new growth.”
The field was undergoing a literal baptism by fire – a cleansing, a renewal.
Sometimes, I wish I could do that… expose my soul to an intense, scorching heat that would, in one swift breeze of a moment, melt away all my rough edges, my imperfections, my faults, fears, inconsistencies, once and for all.
Oh, to stand spotless, unhindered by the the moments when I shouldn’t have yelled, but did, shouldn’t have judged, shouldn’t have criticized, assumed, blamed, and did. Would that I could stand, right now, in a lush field of green, a promise written in the sky overhead that I will always be a perfect mother, a perfect wife, a perfect friend.
I am human. I am flawed. A garden thick with weeds and dead growth too strong for a single flame, too complex for one sweeping moment of perfecting renewal. No, I require more precise work. So I do work, daily, consistently. I attack one thorny patch of imperfection at a time, working until my hands and heart are raw. And then, asking the Lord, the Master Gardener, to come and consecrate my efforts, I watch as He fills the spot with goodness, grace, and beauty, making me much more than I could ever be on my own.
Renewed, and uplifted, I turn to the next corner of my garden heart that needs attention, and rolling up my sleeves, I dig in. Sometimes, it’s very overwhelming work. Sometimes, I don’t know where to start. Sometimes, I finish pulling weeds in one corner, just to turn around and realize they’ve grown rampant everywhere else. Sometimes, I work to nurture one particular spot over and over again and yet still fail to get anything lovely to bloom.
But I always see Him, the Master Gardener, ready and waiting to take the shovel from my hands, clean the dirt from my fingernails, and finish what I can’t do on my own. It is in these moments that He reminds me that He never said I had to be perfect. He died because He knew I couldn’t be. “You’re enough,” He says gently. “Just the way you are, you’re enough.”
And I am enough – a complex tangle of weeds and blooms, beautiful stretches of lush green, and darkened patches of dead growth all wrapped into one imperfect person.
Because of Him, I am enough. And so are you.