Monday, September 15, 2014

Lessons from the Lawn mower

I've been mowing the grass recently.  It has become a task that I don't mind, although I know there are many other things that I should be doing.  I have to admit that it really is something that brings me some measure of comfort.  My dad LOVED to mow the grass.  He even has one of the zero turn mowers.  I know it's really a blessing to have such a machine, but there are times that it terrifies me.  I mean, give me a push mower.  I can operate one of those babies in a hearbeat - pull the cord for power, push to mow the grass.  It doesn't get much easier.  On this beast of a machine you have choke levers, brakes, adjustable mowing decks and NO steering wheel - just two levers to push and pull.  I am not super confident on this machine.  I am capable, but I am sure there is more to learn.  

It is while I am mowing that my thoughts drift to my dad.  He's the one who taught me to use a push mower when I was probably around 10 or 11.  We didn't have much of a yard, just a small patch in the front, a small strip (mower wide) on the side and a back.  It was a task that didn't take long to accomplish. Nothing fancy, just practical straight lines.  

Thinking of my dad is both wonderful and painful.  Wonderful in that I have fantastic memories; painful in that I miss him so very much.  So, while I'm mowing, for that brief period of time, I'm connected to him.  I can see him mowing, I can hear his voice.  I can take pride in a job well done.  I can appreciate the man that he was.  

When I think of daddy, it's easy for me to shift and think of my Heavenly Father.  My daddy was an awesome dad and made it so easy for me to follow God, my heavenly Father.  So while I mow, I get lessons from my Dad.  

Nothing drives me crazier than seeing one lone stalk of grass (or weeds or whatever is growing in the yard) standing there after the mower has gone by.  I am a fairly patient mower.  Remember, this beast of a machine is a bit intimidating.  I don't go super fast, but I'm not patient enough to go really slow either.  So, in my thinking, if my mower has gone over it, it should be mowed down - no questions.  So there I am, mowing away and there is a stalk here, a stalk there.  When I see these stubborn pieces, it just aggravates me.  Back over it with the mower.  Most times, it just requires that extra pass of the mower, but occasionally, it will take a bit more.  Again, IT DRIVES ME CRAZY!!!  After a few instances of this, I was exasperated.  I mean, what is it going to take to show the lawn that I am the master???  I am driving a machine that cuts down grass!!  Grass - you need to be cut down already!!!  

That's when it happened.  In my heart, I heard, "That's just the way it is, my daughter.  Stubbornness doesn't just go away.  You have to work at it."  Excuse me?  "When you think you have dealt with a problem, it may appear to go away.  Sometimes, it just remains and in our hurry and "busy-ness" we miss it.  After time, we may check over things and there it is - still standing and needing to be dealt with again."

Oh, I needed that.  Our faults, our failings - we may think that we have sufficiently "dealt" with our issues, but it isn't until we give it to God that those things are handled properly.  The root is still there, and it often has deep roots that give it strength to withstand what we feel should destroy it.  Sin is sin; it has no desire to go away or change.  It needs to be taken care of (dealt with) by a Master. If not, it will show up, over and over.  

"My daughter, just be patient.  You see there is a problem.  You have tried to handle it by your own methods.  They don't seem to work and you know why.  You need to admit that it is bigger than you (even if it just looks like a blade of grass).  Let me take care of, pull it out by the roots, sharpen your blade.  My precious child, there are so many things that I desire to handle for you.  My strength is made perfect in your weakness."

Over and over,God just reminded me that He could handle all of my faults.  He could make beauty where it just seemed to be unruly and difficult.  He could make the "lawn of my life" perfect - no stray blades/weeds; just smooth, lovely lawn.  

I am sure the neighbors and anyone driving by thought there was something wrong as I mowed the lawn with tears streaming down my face.  How the Lord so gently loves me in spite of myself.  He didn't have to beat me over the head with a big stick.  He just used those simple little stalks to bring such wonderful truth into my heart.  

Now, when I see that one missed stalk, I stop and think about that lesson and check my heart.  Lord, help me to see what it is that needs to be dealt with.  Give me the strength to deal with it open and honestly and allow You to deal with what's going on.  Thank you, Lord - for Your grace and Your mercy.  Thank you for those stray blades.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Keep Teaching Me

What love the Father has lavished on us, so we could be called His children! Lyrics from a song by Matthew West (I know, it comes from other places as well, but for the moment, this is where I'm hearing it).  The song is called Hello, My Name is  .  It's an incredibly powerful song and the lyrics I keep hearing are in the bridge section.  If you didn't know, yes, I am a musician, particularly a music teacher.  Music speaks to me, it is a language to me as much as English.  So, when I'm looking at lyrics, it's occasionally like reading a letter or book.  So, the song starts out with things that we deal with - regret, defeat  - both common to our daily life.  We encounter both of these sometimes daily.  It is our response to them that dictates our feelings and thoughts.  It is when we can respond - with authority and confidence - that "I am a child of the one true king" that regret and defeat have no place in our lives.  While this is encouraging, it is that bridge - the things that bring us from one place to another - that is different.  It repeats itself - not because there aren't any other words, but that our minds need to hear it, over and over, before we begin to believe it.  "See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!" I John 3:1a. 

I have been learning new and different things over the past year in particular (well maybe 2 years). My relationship with God the Father has always been an easy one - I had a great example of a father in my dad.  Approaching God is not all that different from that.  I could go to my dad with anything and have confidence that he would be able to fix it or give me Godly, sound advice.  I didn't ever question it.  I was convinced (and still am) that the Lord in Heaven spoke to my dad.  So, having God as my Heavenly Father was easy.  Now as an adult, I have many friends that didn't have that same relationship with their dad.  (A realization that breaks my heart).  They struggle in their relationship - how/why would God love them; I can't do enough to make God happy - all things that really are untruths; things about a relationship with God that keep them from really experiencing all that God has for them.  As a parent, I begin to understand what kind of love God has for us.  I LOVE my kids - would do anything within my power to make their world better.  My love for my kids is NOTHING is comparison with God's love for me -His child. 

So, for now, I'll just keep hearing about the incredibly awesome, wonderfully comforting, unbelievably humbling thought that God - creator of the universe, all-knowing, all-powerful, ever-present - wants to lavish love on me.  That being said, He wants the same for you.