In the Weeds (or, Lessons from My Lawn)

Some weeds from my lawn

Some weeds from my lawn

My husband and I are not really the most adept home owners. Aside from the most basic of maintenence duties, we’re fairly clueless when it comes to home improvement projects or how to troubleshoot issues–and our lawn is no exception. Let’s put it this way, everytime my husband has to go out to mow, rake or shovel, he makes some exasperated remark like, “I think I was made to live in a luxury apartment where I wouldn’t have to deal with this stuff.” And, my mother-in-law and sister-in-law had pity on me and planted some “hearty–you barely need to do anything with them” plants out front so our home didn’t look abandoned due to the lack of landscaping.  

Having a kid with autism has added an extra level of difficulty to our upkeep–not just the dearth of free time to increase our curb-side appeal, but also the fact that environmental toxins from pesticides can contribute to the toxic load in these little guys. These toxins mess with their brains even more. So, as I started researching, it was apparent that the chemicals that we paid to have on our lawn for the last couple of years would be a no-no this year. We have this wetland, prairie grass buffer running along the backyard bounds of our subdivision, so you never know what can be spread from that area, but we thought we’d take our chances and go au natural. I know what you’re thinking… “Oh bless their poor naive hearts!”

AMONG THORNS AND THISTLES

As summer started out, I remember commenting to my husband, “See, we probably wasted money in previous years on our TruGreen treatments. The lawn looks just as good now as it did then.” Yeah, so things changed as the summer marched on and the rain went on strike. In the last few weeks the weeds have sprouted up absolutely everwhere. Thanks, Adam… you just had to get more knowledge back in the Garden of Eden, and now we have to deal with your punishment of cultivating among the “thorns and thistles.” Well, we finally located a company that did organic, non-toxic lawncare, but they wouldn’t be coming out for a couple of weeks, and we had some intruders that were downright dangerous and had to be addressed NOW.

We were out playing in the yard the other night, and we saw some weeds that freaked us out. Like, “Little Shop of Horrors” kind of things–all spikey and intimidating. If our precious Josiah were to fall on one of those evil lawn-mines, we would be in big trouble. So, off we went to Target to try to find some sort of tool and some heavy duty gloves to get ahold of them. With my trusty new garden knife in hand, I decided to go out for about 20 minutes and take care of our problem. Twenty minutes turned into two hours, two blisters and a full bag of weeds, but I did have some time to think while I was out there. Some life lessons and spiritual epiphanies sprouted from my extreme weeding experience!

LESSONS FROM MY LAWN

Start out well and sustain it. Preventative care and nourishment will make for an inviting lush lawn for family and others to enjoy. Making sure that weeds can’t take root is easier than dealing with them after they pop up. But, in life, how often do I just try to coast on an infusion of energy but neglect daily maintenance for myself as I deal with other worries and cares, and everyone else’s demands of me? This leaves me parched and when my defenses are down, that’s when little seeds of chaos get spread.

Weeds steal resources. At first, you may notice a few weeds here and there. No big deal. You can live with them, but if they are still not addressed, they multiply fast. And, they come in all sorts of varieties. Some even look kind of like flowers. But don’t be deceived. They’re still weeds, and they will steal the nutrients from the grass. The very soil starts breaking down because of the energy that goes to feeding the greedy weeds. Even ants move in and build resorts under their shade. In my life, I often feel like my energy gets sapped because my mind and resources are being diverted to negativity, fear, pride, bitterness and hurt, rather than being focused on fruits of the Spirit like love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, and kindness.

Don’t always take a weed at face value. Weeds are not only ugly nuisances, but they can be dangerous enough to pierce the skin or penetrate a shoe, and must be rooted up–not just cut off above the surface, only to come back quickly. Surprisingly, some of the biggest, ugliest weeds above the surface can actually have quite shallow roots. Some of the smaller weeds can actually have very prominent roots. There was one grand-daddy thorny weed I popped off that was literally the size of a dinner plate, but it barely had any root. There was one fairly harmless looking weed I grabbed, and I would’ve sworn there was a turnip under the ground I was pulling up. Sometimes people never see the depth of my own issues because there is more hidden than people know.

The weeding knife is needed for the prickly jobs. I wonder if God, the Master Gardener, sees the same variety of weeds in me that sometimes need a hard core weeding tool to pluck up so I can be restored to the potential he sees in me. Some of the big, ugly, thorny circumstances may flare up quickly, but really don’t have deep roots. They can be plucked out and will quickly wither. Whereas, there are some things in me that are character issues or hurts that have turned into roots of bitterness that run deep. It takes more muscle to get those out. The pulling through leaves the ground with a hole–that gets your attention!–and new seeds really should be spread there to keep it from being barren. Is it possible that if I let God get rid of that junk, he will get to work planting something in me that is much more healthy and beautiful? He won’t leave me with just a big empty hole.

After the weeds are gone, you have to return health to the soil. There are still a lot of weeds in our lawn, even though the scary ones are gone. If we don’t get the organic lawncare service out here, even over the winter when the grass dies and the snow covers the ground, the problems won’t really be gone. The weeds indicate a potential soil problem, and unless we try to fix it now, by the time next spring rolls around, we’ll have to till the ground up and start over completely.

These days, I’m asking God to restore my soil–under the surface, deep in the places where only he and I see and know of. Then, healthy things will grow. Right now, I feel a lot of chaos, issues everywhere, and have an overwhelmed, parched spirit. I’m looking forward to spending a couple weeks off of work in the second half of September. My mommy is coming to visit, and the task before us is to get before God and be nourished by his Word so that my joy may be full again.

 Psalm 65:9-10

 You care for the land and water it;
       you enrich it abundantly…

You drench its furrows
       and level its ridges;
       you soften it with showers
       and bless its crops.

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5 Responses

  1. Maybe we should just put some astroturf down in the spring?!

  2. This is so good – it reminds me of a verse I came across a few weeks ago: “Keep a sharp eye out for weeds of bitter discontent. A thistle or two gone to seed can ruin a whole garden in no time. Heb 12:15 (MSG).

    It looks to me like you may know a lot more about gardening than you think! I love the idea of returning health to the soil – that is so profound – if there’s any place that that healing can occur, it’s in the presence of the Lord. I hope you and your mom and the Lord have a wonderful time together!

  3. Thanks for the other reference! That would have been a perfect verse for the post.

  4. Awesome. I’m going to share this with my Mom’s group. Tahni you should think about writing a book. If Jenny can do it, YOU CAN for sure!

  5. Thank you for sharing. Its helped me very much!

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