Grow Grass, Grow

encouragement, faith / Tuesday, October 2nd, 2018

When Neil and I moved into our first home well over a year ago, we knew very little about taking care of our yard. More specifically, our grass. I have fond memories of weeding our flowerbeds growing up, under the supervision of my dad. I felt like I had done my fair share of yard work throughout the years, so I was equipped for this element of home ownership. While I provided much of the labor, my dad was the one that had all the knowledge, which I now realize is a key ingredient in the world of lawn care. Nevertheless, I expected we would have a meticulously maintained lawn just like I did growing up. However, “meticulously maintained” would not be the words I would use to describe our yard. Our lawn, of all things, has been a place of tension in our marriage and source of significant learning for both of us.

We learned that you have to water it. When you don’t, it starts to turn yellow.  We also learned that the soil isn’t just naturally healthy. If we don’t fertilize, we get weeds. And don’t even get me started on the types of weeds. It turns out, being able to nail down what type of weed affects what type of treatment you use.  We have treated the wrong weeds on numerous occasions. And then wondered why our yard looked worse than when we started. We also have to mow. If we don’t, it becomes overgrown. All of these things may seem obvious, but as I struggled to reconcile my expectations of how our yard was supposed to look, with that of reality, I realized that we first had to put in some effort. We had to get out there and take care of it. We had to do a little bit of research. It was significantly harder than I realized, at least for us.

Another big lesson we learned this summer, was that if you leave a large object on the grass for a few days, you will effectively kill the grass below. We emptied a plastic pool full of water from Amelia’s birthday party. We turned the pool upside down, and then left it in the grass. Eventually we moved the pool, probably to mow, and there was a giant circle of dead grass. I about tore my clothes. Why are we always ruining our grass? Why can’t we have a nice yard? Also, why do I get so worked up about our lawn?

We were hosting a big party for my sister in our backyard within a few weeks and I was hopeful the giant circle of dead grass would repair itself by then. It was quite the eye sore.  Except, it didn’t. Apparently grass grows slowly. Everyday I would look at that giant yellow circle and nothing would seem different. My sister’s party came and went. The dead grass remained. Until finally, I started to see a strand of green grass creep into the circle of dead grass. It was subtle, but once where there was death,new  life was taking root. That strand was the only one I saw for awhile. It seemed like things had stopped growing. And then a little more appeared, coming in from one of the edges. The circle is still mostly dead grass, but I look at it each day, searching for signs of green. It is a slow process, but the new grass is coming in.

As I inspect this part of our lawn each day, the Lord has begun to impress upon my heart this hope for new life. As I watch this new grass grow in an area that was barren, I feel hope rise up within me.  It is like I am watching an agricultural parable that mirrors what I want to happen in my own life. My heart in so many ways feels like it has been crushed. My mind is tired and worn down. The seasons of waiting and loss have left me feeling dry, much like the grass in my yard. So when I see that green grass replace the dry thistles, it is as if the Lord is whispering, “I can do that for you”. I am reminded of the verse in Joel where the Lord promises to “restore the years that the locus have eaten”{Joel 2:25}.  And in Ezekiel 36:26  when God promises “to give a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.” That is what the dead spot in my grass reminds me of. God coming in and replacing death with life. The old with the new. Unhealthy with healthy. Sorrow with contentment. That is my prayer to him these days, that He would give me a new song, and that He would heal the parts of me that are broken and hurting. In faith, I believe that He will do just that. It might be a slow process, much like the regrowth of grass in our backyard, but unlike Neil and myself, God is the Master Gardener. His hands are capable.