Grass Day 5: Not every seed takes

We made it! I blogged all week about grass (Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4) I can’t imagine being a farmer and not believing in a God. I get over and over again why the Bible uses agricultural metaphors. And the one I like to avoid is the parable of the sower.

Grass and grass and grass

Maybe not quite that much, Lord.

The bottom line in that parable is that not every seed grows. Every time I have been taught the parable of the sower it is always the same take away “make sure your heart is not of rocky soil, make sure your heart is a place where God’s word can grow.” I think that is a valuable lesson. God does want to sow all kinds of good seeds in my life, and I am discovering some rocky soil in my heart as of late. May God continue to rake it on out of there.

But as I was scattering grass seed in my yard on Saturday, all of a sudden I was looking at that parable not from the perspective of the soil, but from the perspective of the sower. Not every seed I sow is going to grow into a blade of grass or a wildflower. That is not the way things work.

Sometimes the seed doesn’t take because the soil isn’t right, or a bird came and ate it, or the wind blew it away, or it never got watered. But sometimes the seed has everything going for it and it still doesn’t grow. And sometimes grass starts sprouting in the most unlikely of places. Simply because it can.

It is hard for me, to know I can do and say all the right things, and yet sometimes the seed will not grow, that thing I am trying and waiting for simply will not come to fruition. I like to think that if I just work hard enough, that the seeds I plant will all grow. If I just pray enough than everything I am planting will bloom into beautiful works of God. But this is not it. Sometimes I am meant to do the work because God asked me to, and nothing comes of it but a better me.

And sometimes, growth just sprouts up. Just because God is good like that and doesn’t really need me to do anything, or just because He knows I would enjoy it. Grass starts growing in the most unlikely of places, just because that is the way it is.

But it isn’t my job to grow the roots and the stems, to pop hope out of the ground, to make it all work perfectly. It is my job to prepare the soil to the best of my ability, to scatter the seed, to water it until it rains. Growing it isn’t my job. It is God’s. And that is terrifying and peace giving all at the same time.

Grass Day 4: Rainy Weekend

The forecast for this weekend is rain. Normally I would be bummed about this. I love a good sunny weekend. And the potty training is defnitely benefitted from the Peanut running around the backyard naked peeing with the dog. But not today. Today I am hopeful for the rain. Rain makes grass grow.

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You see that green? That is what I am holding out for.

It is inconvenient, rain. It makes people stay inside and ruins thier plans. Rain makes everyone in the city of Atlanta drive like an idiot. Seriously, light showers will make everyone turn on their blinkers and drive thirty miles an hour on the interstate. And when you pass them they honk at you like you are the moron who can’t drive. No one is excited that there is rain.

But I am. Because rain is beneficial to making things grow. All of those tiny seeds need rain.

A month or two ago I tweeted this “Take my pride oh Lord, steal it from me.” And the Lord is faithful and is answering that prayer. It is hard and sometimes inconvenient. It is a little gloomy and doesn’t feel nice all the time. Sometimes I had other emotional plans that get rained out.

But without rain there is no growth. So I am learning to be thankful for the rain. Hopeful about the promise of growth in it.

Grass Day 3: Waiting for Grass to grow

So here we are after  day 1 and day 2 waiting for the grass to grow. And I have to confess. I am not good at this part. The waiting.

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I know Audrey.  I am waiting too…..

Every time I go in or out of the front door I check for new growth. The wildflower garden is in full bloom in my heart and mind, and I keep hoping that I will be greeted with a matching picture when I walk out the door.

I know that God can do this. Have a full garden spring over night. But most of the time He does not. Most of the time you see the start of something poke out, and like right now at my house I think, surely it is too early. But then think well maybe before I decide it must just be a weed.

The backyard…the waiting is leaving me in knots. I want so badly to believe that the grass will grow, that the seeds I planted will turn into a real live yard. But I don’t seem to have the faith for that. Instead what runs through my head is this “surely this won’t work. I can’t believe that I wasted all that time energy and money.” (Forty dollars is a lot of money at our house right now.) But then “wait, is that grass, new grass, no that was already there…I think…maybe.”

I am not good at waiting it turns out. And I already knew that. You should see the journal entries I wrote to Juliet when I thought she may be the twins. And my mental state after my second ultrasound. But there is nothing for me to do but wait for them.  I have been able to rest in that pretty well. Especially since I hope they don’t show up any time soon!

But I want the grass to show up soon, when I get home today would be perfect. I want to be able to do something, you know? And worrying feels like doing something…even when it is not. Worrying isn’t doing anything but making me unable to look in my backyard without feeling like I am going to throw up. It is me attempting to gain control of things I cannot control.

When I stop worrying I can  learn to grow other things along with my grass. Trust, faith, hope. Trust that the Lord wants good things for my life, faith that things will work like they were designed, hope that there could be change for the better. And the pragmatic part of me thinks, Lowe’s is not going to run out of grass seed anytime soon. Worst case scenario I have to do the whole thing over again. And the even more pragmatic part of me is rolling her eyes, “muddy backyard? If that is the only problem you have you are pretty danged lucky.”

It is such a little thing to be consumed by, considering the bigness of my God.

Grass Day 2: Seeds of Faith

 

As I explained yesterday, Juliet helped in the grass seed throw down in our back yard. Rarely is she allowed to grab handfuls of stuff and throw it all over the place and not get told “no, no.” Having a 22 month old (I am very aware that at this point I am just refusing to call her two because….she was a baby two seconds ago!) that you are trying to explain things to, makes you realize just how very little you actually have figured out. I mean, really, why do we have to wear pants outside anyway? What is up with that?

                                                       Little in the Hands of God is much…..
 
 

So I am tossing this grass seed out and I am thinking, this girl has exactly zero idea that we are actually doing something here. She has no idea that I expect something to come out of this activity. She just thinks we are running around the backyard having a good time. And really how would I explain it to her? These seeds are going to bury themselves in the ground, then they are going to open up and grow roots down and poke up out of the ground beautiful green grass. In two to four weeks.

The Peanut can’t even comprehend the time it takes for a cookie to cool down. She just knows there is a cookie on the counter and not in her mouth. So the time thing alone is impossible. And when you actually break it down, no matter how scientific you get, it still sounds a little mystical. Because it is a little mystical. This teeny tiny seed has everything it needs to become a blade of grass that can then die and regenerate itself. Everything it needs, with the right set of circumstances and this seemingly worthless seed becomes the grass I have been dreaming about for two years.

I was thinking about how if someone who had never seen anything planted came to my backyard they would laugh at me. This is surely not going to work. Sprinkle little beeds of dead looking grass in the dirt. Put water on it and you honestly expect the ground to be covered in grass? You are an idiot.

But I know that this is possible, that this is what I can expect, because I have seen it. Every year from preschool through the third grade I planted something and watched it grow, from a seemingly worthless seed to a styrofoam cup of live green stuff that I held with two hands because I did not want to spill it. Because I was proud of it, and thought it was pretty cool that a plant could grow out of a seed. We had a garden one year where I even grew pumpkins and cucumbers, and lets not forget the space tomatoes that we got from our LEAP class. ( I am aware there are maybe 200 people on earth that understand the back end of that sentence. Shout out to Mrs. Salvage!)

The doubts are creeping in, about these seeds that have been planted. (That is my post for tomorrow). But it is easy to keep them away right now because I have seen with my own two eyes, the evidence that given the right circumstances, plants do grow from seeds. There is not a way to explain it, you simply have to see that it is true. I think that is why we have small children plant stuff. The evidence takes hold stronger if they experience it for themselves.

I had seeds of faith planted in my childhood, and I got to watch them grow. There is a huge difference between understanding that God is your provider mentally because the Bible says it is true, and watching a “random” check show up a week after you prayed for the mortgage bill to be covered. Or have the light bill come back on after your dad met someone on the street who handed him a check on his way to tell the electric company he didn’t have the money. Or getting a phone call just hours after you prayed for a car, offering you the exact same car you just lost, only two years newer.

It is easier for me to believe the Lord wants to physically heal people, because I was healed. It is easier for me to trust that God will provide for our families needs because He has never screwed us over before. Even in my car accident, the Lord was faithful. But if I stop noticing, stop talking about them, I can forget about those seeds, and how they grew into blooming bushes of God’s goodness. Just like it is easy to forget that every living plant I pass every day starts from seeds.

It also makes me want to intentionally plant seeds with my girls, to pray for things and watch with the right circumstance of faith and love, those prayer seeds grow into bushes of God’s goodness. And to remember that those things started out as little seeds of faith.

How about you? What bush of goodness is growing in your life?

Grass Day 1

A week in planting grass.

Saturday we got out of the house so Christian could write. Plus Jill hates going anywhere by herself and she had two anywheres to go. So we piled into the station wagon, just us girls, and headed for all the errands. We ended up at Lowes, where I got some grass seed and a bag of “southern wild flower seed” on a whim. I had a surprising number of thoughts about all this. So here we are a week in grass seed. 

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This is pretty much what I was dreaming of…I found it via flickr.

Part 1: The emotional roller coaster that is my lawn.

I showed up at the Lowes, my babies and sister in tow. By the time we got around to buying the grass seed, the Peanut had decided she was too big for the riding business, and was in charge of pushing the cart. (She may have had some grown up help as we did not want her to ram Rooster into anything. No killing your sister is officially a rule at our house.)

It was intimidating. I don’t know anything about grass except that it grows in lawns and it is nice to have. And we need some. But we went out to the lawn and garden section and found a guy who could point us in the right direction. Just your every day average lawn? There were two choices. As I went to choose a woman mentioned that she had planted her grass seed just two weeks ago. Hers was growing in really well and she was buying more seed just to fill in the patches. Sweet. Two weeks? The lawn would for sure be in, in time for the Peanut’s second birthday party! To be on the safe side I got the fifteen pound bag.

I was feeling really good about my fifteen pound bag of grass. I can do this. All I have to do is put it down and water it. No problem. My lawn is going to be beautiful! It is going to be lush and green and Peanut and Rooster are going to play in it all summer. They will roll around in it, getting their clothing all stained green and smelling of earth. This will be awesome it could even be fun.

Then I got home and read the back. I had gotten distracted with my wildflower garden and had spent some time and energy raking that out and repositioning the brick border. So when I read the back of the grass package, I was already a little over the raking part. It just the actual doing it seemed a lot less fun than the idea of planting the grass. It was certainly less fun than playing in the already grown grass with my girls (we are studying alliteration in class, hey!). Which is what I kept thinking about when I bought the “super easy” grass.

I was supposed to rake out the debris, then evenly spread the seed, then rake it in really good. Wait a minute, this is not what I signed up for…I thought it was a drop and grow kind of seed. Just how much of the debris needs raked out? How deep do I have to rake? How evenly distributed? I have a 22 month old who is dead set on helping….. Maybe I was in over my head.

I raked as much debris as I thought necessary. Then I started the process of distributing the grass seed. I didn’t have one of those push spreader things, so it was just me and the Peanut tossing handfuls of grass seed across the ground.

I started by going up and down in rows, stopping every once in a while to rake the seed around more evenly. But the Peanut wanted to help and I have never been one to be able to stick with any sort of organization, so our rows became much more rambling and pretty soon we were just running around all willy nilly throwing grass seed everywhere. I mean, I had a plan in my head and I think we covered it all,  but we didn’t go as evenly or as perfectly as I had once set out to go.

Then I started to feel bad about that. What if I didn’t get the grass all perfect? What if it is all clumpy and there are bare spots? What if it doesn’t grow at all and I may as well just throw forty dollars worth of pennies all over the backyard for all the money I wasted?

And then I started to feel bad about myself. Calvin would have done this perfectly, Tiffany can make anything grow, I should have shelled out the money for sod. This was a terrible idea and I wasted time and money (neither of which I have a lot of lately) all for nothing.

So I decided that if I get sporadic clumpy growth I will be happy. And I started this thing dreaming of rolls of lush green carpet for me and the girls to sink our bare feet into.

And then I realized that in many ways I do exactly this. Especially with the things I believe God has called me to do. I am a little intimidated at first starting a blog, or (and again I hesitate to write this, but I feel like it may be my next step) marketing myself as a Christian speaker. But then I get a little information and I am pumped. Yes! I can do that! Yeah, this is going to be awesome! I will start publishing posts and the Holy Spirit will take over and I will get a couple thousand hits a day! (on a good day I get 60. And I have been at this for over a year.) I think that God is big enough to do that, but for this He seems to want me to do the work.

When I actually start doing it I have a plan. Sometimes the plan is manageable and sometimes it is not. But often I abandon it and start sporadically dropping things here and there all willy nilly.

Then I beat myself up about not sticking to the plan. A million other people can do this better. I finish, but defeated, sure that no grass will grow, nothing will come of the work that I just did. And my faith in a great work, the one the Lord entrusted in me, is shrunk to just hoping that He can grow something, anything out of it. But it certainly won’t be that thing I had in mind to begin with. I’ll just be happy with a little bit, God, could you just manage that?

Somewhere between the green lush grass my babies will nap in that is in my head, to the actual planting of the seed, to the waiting, waiting, waiting….I let my faith die. Until I am begging God for a sliver of the dream that I was promised in full.

I think I am selling that grass seed short. I think it probably will grow and be fine by May 1. And I am selling my dreams short too. They weren’t labeled specifically, but these here posts are seeds I am planting. And I know that God will grow it into something beautiful.

What are you planting in your life? How is God growing it?

Let the Record Reflect

Aside

Let the Record Reflect: That Jill called me at 5 to 10 and no one was out of there PJ’s or showered. And I got the girls out of the house by 10:30. I was showered and everyone was dressed. And everyone was fed.

But Let the Record Omit: That the Peanut and I both had Girl Scout Cookies for breakfast and I did my hair and make up at the house we were headed to after we got there. Oh, and that the Peanut had last nights ketchup on her face until Aunt Jill wiped it off for us.

When good enough is good enough

I never would say that I am a perfectionist. I never strived for perfect grades or was overwhelmed by wanting things to be just so. Heck, I probably should be a little more careful with my edits on this thing. (Lucky for me I have a truly supportive husband who goes back through and quietly corrects my spelling errors.) I thought I didn’t really deal with that.

Thought is the operative word there. When Rooster was still in the hospital we got some pictures of her done that were simply too perfect not to buy. I was sure I wouldn’t want them, but then I saw them. I know why some religions think a still image can capture a person’s soul. Then I looked back at Peanut’s new-born photos. I found the picture there that speaks to the fact that there are simply some things, beautiful things, that God creates in us from the very beginning. And these photos compliment each other in a way that I did not plan, just like those sisters that are in those photos.

So I bought frames and printed out these pictures. I had every intention of hanging them on the wall. But then, I just couldn’t find the perfect spot. I didn’t know the perfect place to hang these photos. So I waited, and bought another picture to hang with them, and waited some more. Until two weekends ago a half hour before people started coming to our house, I pulled the trigger and had Christian put them up. Even though the third thing I want hanging up is still in need of being printed out (but I did buy frames, so there is something). And you know what, it isn’t perfect, but I am glad it is up. It looks good, my wall in progress.

This past weekend was a pants-less weekend at our house. Not for me, just for the Peanut (Aside: If I ever have a band full of mom’s and dad’s I am naming it “Pants-less Weekend” like many aspects of parenting it sounds like more fun than it really is.) She has been talking about potties for a while now, and likes to watch other people go to the bathroom and give her commentary. Mostly “eeewww, yuck. all done. shut it, flush.” People always say that you have to potty train while the window of interest is open or else it is a nightmare. I have been worried that the Peanut is losing interest, so we spent Friday and Saturday hanging out watching movies and sitting on the potty in the living room while drinking juice. She did a good job for the most part, and even the accidents happened almost exclusively on places that are not carpeted.

But I was wanting perfection. I was hoping that we would remove her pants and she would immediately figure out how the whole thing worked and bam, my not yet two-year old is potty trained. It didn’t work out like that, and once Jill pointed out to me that perhaps my sights were set too high, it all got a whole lot easier.

Teaching is like that too. You will never be a perfect teacher; you can always do better. I am reminded of that every day as I teach ninth grade for the first time. It isn’t going to be perfect, it isn’t going to be as good as the tenth grade stuff I am teaching for the fifth time. But that doesn’t mean we should just sit in class and do nothing. We try it out; we work it out. Next year it will be better, but that doesn’t mean the kids now aren’t learning anything valuable.

I think we don’t come to Christ sometimes because we aren’t doing something perfectly. We are ashamed and frustrated that it isn’t perfect yet. Sometimes we won’t give him our writing, our school work, our prayer because we don’t think what we’ve got is perfect. But that isn’t what Christ is asking from us. He is asking us for what we have, and in Him our good enough is made perfect, what we were hoping for by withholding it.