About a month ago, my daily routine was disrupted. First and ongoing by the Governor’s declaration of the stay at home order, then by the declining health of our son’s dog Glory.
Accustomed to slow early morning time with Jesus, coffee, and sunrises, my mornings became more abrupt. I developed a heightened awareness of where Glory was and what she needed - long walks in circles in our small yard, sitting in clover together. I was always assessing her condition. Was she stumbling more? Less? Confused? Dizzy?
It was a Thursday morning, before sunrise, and it felt like it would be our last day with her. My heart was broken, I was crying, my tears soaking her fur, my heart cried Jesus, I’m not ready for this.
It is wild how, for some of us, the quarantine has brought the far-flung adult children home for a season. Our son and his girlfriend came home from Philadelphia, choosing to “quarantine” between her parents’ house and ours during this uncertain time. He had arrived that Thursday afternoon, in time for our veterinarian to share hope with us and medication for Glory. We prayed for healing.
I used to spend my mornings caring for Glory, feeding her, spending time with her outside, walking around the yard, her sitting oh-so-near me … and my coffee. Until a month ago, as her body slowly stopped working. She used protest being loved on; but now, she embraced the love, the nearness, the being together.
Jesus, I see Your kindness, your tenderness in the last month all around us, as if You ordained this time for us. Truly, what a blessing for Steven to be with us through Glory’s eye removal surgery in January, then for him to be home with her in February, and now, the order to stay home, allowing him to love her and be with her in her last days. Beautiful. Priceless. Tender. Kind. Divine. Sacred.
Between the sudden onset of and increasing symptoms and the lack of response to medication, we realized the time had come. Our little family cried and held each other, heartbroken. I slept with Steven and Glory on the living room floor together that night, loving and comforting them.
The next evening at sunset, she fell asleep in Steven’s arms for the last time. That night, we cried, grieved, remembering and sharing stories as we journeyed through photos, thankful to be together, to be home together. Choosing to stay in this grief together, in this stay at home time.
In the midst of moving through the sorrow of Glory’s remaining hours, Steven uttered these words, from deep places in his heart, and ultimately, from Jesus’ heart to mine, “Thank you, Mom, for loving me in this, for all that you are doing. You love me so well. Thank you for seeing, loving, and tending to my heart. I want you to know that I love you and I see you.”
In all the different places we’ve been and lived over the past decade, Jesus has been redeeming the nurturing part of my heart, unseating the lie and breaking the agreement that I am not nurturing. Through this healing, I’ve come to delight in the freedom of nurturing the hearts of women around me, cultivating life in relationships, work environments, and more recently gardening. And now, while in this place of ‘stay at home’, whilst nurturing and caring for our sweet ailing dog, Jesus whispered to my heart, “You are nurturing, kind, tender, compassionate; you love well, not perfectly, so beautifully. Keep looking with the eyes of your heart, Sherry. Don’t close them, don’t shut down, stay at home with your heart and what you’re experiencing. Walk with me, explore with me as we cultivate beauty together, you were created to nurture, to love, and are most alive when you are doing just that, whether you are caring for your husband after his tooth extraction or journeying with Steven through his first day of kindergarten or his dog’s last days.”
For me, this stay at home season has been one of nurturing, learning to be being fully present to experience each moment, allowing each day to unfold. It has been an invitation to nurture my own heart, as well as Scott’s and Steven’s. And Jesus has been nurturing my own heart as I've delighted in tending and caring for my gardens, and as I’ve cared for and nurtured Glory through her last month of life. Caring for Glory was an invitation to journey with Steven, to care for and nurture his heart through the loss of his dog, and to journey with him through the grieving.
Sisters, amidst the distractions and demands of each day, every day is a beautiful invitation to stay at home with your heart, journeying with Jesus for your own heart and the hearts of those around you. Distractions and ways to numb and leave your heart are all around – social media, binging on Netflix shows, taking you to a dull, bland place far away from your heart. What if you stay present, at home with your heart, experience each moment and feeling, and explore them with Jesus? That is the journey I am on, and I’d love to hear from you in your journey.
I love how Robin shared about the warfare we face as women and as mothers. It is so very important to see what is coming against our hearts, and what is luring us to leave our hearts for those far away dulling and distracting places. You can read and join Robin in this exploration here.
The Zoweh Women’s Guide Team shares stories of exploration of their hearts, the hearts of their children, and the hearts of those around them in an audio session from The Deepening Weekend.