I step outside the door into the evening summer sun in time to see it happen. His large eyes, so much like his father's, are filled with determination and my heart melts at the tenderhearted towhead before me. At the same time, I wince in sorrow at the sight of what he's just done.
He looks at me, pleased by his efforts. And I, too, am pleased. His heart's desire was to bless me, and despite the damage, I am blessed.
I reach for the container he holds in his hands and smile down at him. Lifting his chin with my finger, I look deeply in his eyes, "Thanks buddy. Mama appreciates your help."
His smile mirrors mine and we stand together looking at the flowers. I know I must tell him.
"This isn't fertilizer, buddy."
He swings his eyes up to meet mine. "It's not?"
"No." I say. "It's weed-killer." We look back down at the flowers that would never bloom.
"You mean they're gonna die?"
"I didn't know, Mama."
"I know. It's ok."
We walk hand in hand to the shop, my boy and I, and put away the garden tools.
I considered making a trip to Home Depot. Considered replanting. Considered what might have been. But I chose instead to let it lie dormant in the dry, heat of summer. And to my surprise, I find myself loving that empty flowerbed more than if it were bursting with the reds and yellows I had intended.
The empty spaces remind me that I have a Father who knows my heart. He understands that sometimes my best efforts fall far short of perfection. He recognizes that though I fail, my desire is to serve Him. To bring Him glory. To fill His heart with delight.
And there is nothing I could do, to make Him stop loving me.
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