Autumn’s Grace Five: Tending

Throughout my life, there is this odd thing that happens to me. I used to think it was odd, now treasure it. Please allow me to explain.

I am a lover of words. No surprise for those who know me. I love books, and written word. I actually miss spelling tests. I am sensitive to how words evoke feelings.
For as long as I can remember I will hear or see a particular word…it doesn’t have to be odd or unusual, although sometimes it is…but it can also be a very common word. Over a period of a day or two, I will hear that word used in different settings, conversations, or writings.

I used think it was just this crazy thing that I do, now I’m finding out that it’s a signal for me to pay attention to the what is being said, and how this word is speaking to me.

Some people hear melodies, I hear words. I often wake up, and find myself repeating one word over and over (and over) in my head.

Embellish. Embellish. Embellish….

Trajectory. Trajectory. Trajectory….

My favorite word is: Abundance.

My second favorite word is:  Exquisite.

My least favorite word is: Phlegm.

So back to one word showing up for a day or two….

This last week, the word was “Tend”. It showed up in my Ladies Bible Study on Wednesday evening, in a book I’m reading, and in the sermon in church today.

After hearing it three different times, from three separate people, I looked up the definition.


Tend (verb)
“To pay attention. To act as an attendant. To serve.”

Isn’t that beautiful?
When I think of this word, I imagine a mother holding her baby, and tending to its needs. I think of a son, helping his elderly father walk across a room. I think of my grandmothers, tending to their gardens, and reaping buckets of delicious vegetables.

This word also stirs deep emotion for me.

In the Bible study I’m participating in, Beth Moore pointed out that one of the greatest needs in life, is the need to be nurtured, or tended to. She was using it in reference to a Father or Mother, with their child.
She taught that when that basic human need goes unmet, a child will suffer deep consequences.  The child will often go through life, looking to get this need met from various individuals or sources.

We all know about unmet needs.
Some go deep.
Maybe it’s a matter of communicating what our needs are, and asking for it to be met…taking the chance that it will not be.
Then there are those times, when and where we least expect it, God meets the need.

For a year now, I’ve been telling my story, publicly, and I’ve been trudging through very deep waters. It’s been a devastating, painful year. Every step of the way, God has been there…holding me up, and giving me strength to take the next step. 

I’ve had strong support all around me, really from all sides. God has blessed me with my family and friends…partners, team-mates, sojourners, and cheerleaders. I’ve been blessed and encouraged throughout the entire process.

Yet there has been this void. It’s been there….forever. I started to say it’s this little spot in my heart, but it’s actually a gaping hole. 

This week, in Bible Study, when Beth said, “Every child needs their Daddy to hold them, and tell them they matter more than anything else in this world. To tell them, “I will protect you. I will take care (tend) of you.”, this grown-up girl crumbled. 

I didn’t shed a tear, for fear that I would unleash an ocean. Instead I drew pictures all over my workbook, ferociously. It was my effort to block out what I was feeling…and for the time, it worked…sorta.

I won’t go into detail about how I’ve been processing it all, but I will say that God and I have been talking a lot. 

***     I want to pause here, and insert this, and I need you to hear it—
I am blessed to be married to an absolutely wonderful man. He is God’s perfect gift of mercy and grace to this girl! 
I’ve learned the hard way, that there will be areas in my past, where my husband cannot fix what happened to me.
He so very gently and lovingly tends to me, and provides for my needs. 
In short, God did good work when he made my husband, and extra good work when he made him mine! I mean every word of that!    ***

Today, we spent the day at my Mom and Dad’s (step-dad, but we’ve dropped “step”). We had only been there for less than 5 minutes, when I walked out of the kitchen into the family room. Standing there with his arms out, was my step-dad, Bob. As he hugged me, he said, “Happy Birthday beautiful daughter of mine.”

I closed my eyes, and heard God say, “Sheila, I am filling that gaping hole in your heart. I’m tending to you.”

Tend…my third favorite word.


4 thoughts on “Autumn’s Grace Five: Tending

  1. Oh Sheila. I’m glad I read this tonight. He is tending your heart beautiful daughter… I too understand that gaping hole… in a different way, but a hole still the same… and I feel it with you. We know it is okay to feel the loss and grieve it at different times in our lives, but it always surprises us… especially when we feel that we have “dealt” with it (whatever THAT means…). Let’s soak up the love in the good places God leaves it for us to find…. Love you dear sister!

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