Two days ago, my children and I had the most wonderful morning. We put on mud boots and sneakers and headed to a dear friend’s home, where she let us bounce on trampolines, explore her secret paths, swing as high as we could on swings, and best of all, take in the beauty and abundance of her vegetable and flower gardens.
Beautiful green trees artfully planted to create shade, interest, beauty: planted 22 years ago, when they first built their house. They were looking ahead, and now their grandchildren run giggling through branches and under boughs. Friends, like me, come and hear the rustling of leaves and take in the peace of their tall green presence.
Neatly laid walkways of sandstone, cleverly built tables of sandstone. Swings built here and there. Birdhouses, paths mowed to their pond. All speaking of careful workmanship, sweat and labor, and love for beauty.
I was inspired by it all, fed by it all.
Most of all, I just took in the abundance this friend has to offer in her season of life: the abundance of gentleness, motherly care, perceptive eye, listening ear. I soak in the peacefulness of a woman whose roots have gone deep into the Lord, whose surroundings speak of contentment and thankfulness, and who freely gives out of a deep acknowledgement that God has made her to nurture.
I find such beauty in the seasons God brings us to.
Every day, I look to see the beauty of this, my season — and it is everywhere. It is messy, perhaps, and there are tears and sorrows and sin that mar the image, but even there, beauty grows in the form of the gospel.
I see my mother’s season, I see my friend’s season (and other friends whom I am privileged to know), and there is so much beauty there, too. There is the visible beauty: perhaps a tidier home, more time to create order (and less to disrupt!), new freedom to explore gifting and talents and see them flourish in new ways. To say that I am blessed by every opportunity to sit in such environments would be an understatement. But more, the beauty that emanates beyond artful homes and beautiful gardens is the graciousness with which they continue to give, recognizing that their season enables them to reach back to women who are now where they were, and give a drink of water (as it were.)
They inspire me to sow well where I am. Plow with the future in mind — knowing that the path of the righteous shines brighter and brighter. They inspire me to be the kind of woman I aspire to be: generous, gracious, grounded, God-centered.
“Older women . . . may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored.