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.