Spring is a wonderful time of year. Spring to me, represents rebirth, new beginnings, and growth. There is something about seeing tulips bloom that time of year that lifts my spirits and pulls me out of the my winter fog.
With the arrival of spring comes spring clean-up.
In previous years we have done our own landscaping. Early spring used to consist of frequent trips to our local garden center to purchase tools, products or chemicals for our yard in hopes of creating our own little Eden. Gardening can be wonderfully enjoyable when you have the time, but we don’t.
There is always someone that needs to be fed, taken to the bathroom, and just when you think all is well, someone falls down and needs hugs, kisses and a band aid. My husband or I would take turns running diversions for the kids so the other could get something done. We are rarely ever able to work together as a team and things would progress slowly.
This year we hired landscapers to do the work for us. What a wonderful feeling to come home to a yard that has been freshly tended to after the long winter. Dead leaves picked up, lawn edges trimmed, and mulch laid in a fraction of the time it would have taken us to do it.
This is exactly what we encountered when we came home one afternoon in April; even the kids noticed how nice the yard looked. All of us were thrilled, that is until we saw a little white flag in the grass. I read it to them. The flag said “KEEP OFF” because the yard had been chemically treated. The kids were excited at the prospect of playing outside after being cooped up all winter. They were crushed when I explained to them that they wouldn't be able to play in the yard for the next couple of days.
They had a ton of questions for me.
Q: “Who put the flag there?” A: The landscapers Q: But what’s on the grass mommy?” A: Chemicals that aren’t really good for you. Q: What will it do to us? A: I don’t know, it’s just no good for you. Q: Will it kill us if we play on the grass? A: No honey, of course it won’t Q: Well, then why can’t we play? A: Because you can’t, it’s best to just stay of the grass to be safe.
What an interesting conversation to have with a 5 and 6 year old. These are the times when I wish I was a walking encyclopedia or had instant access to the internet in my head so I could give them better answers. I didn’t say it out loud but I thought “What a ridiculous question for my daughter to ask me. “Will it kill us…?”” Needless to say, I did not let them play outside that day.
Later on God began to speak to me through my mirror moment. That wasn’t such a ridiculous questions to ask, after all, I myself have asked the same question in the face of temptation many times. Well, maybe I didn’t quite phrase it the way Ava did. Any of these questions sound familiar to you?
“Will it really hurt anyone if I…?”
“Is it really all that bad to …?“
“What’s the big deal? I am not really…”
"Are you sure you want me to do that?"
When God nudges me not to do something that doesn't come naturally or requires me to come out of my comfort zone I tend to ask these questions. This includes taking the time to bless someone I don’t know well, refrain from an activity, of take create some distance in a relationship that is not right for me in a particular season.
I am not the only “grown-up” that struggles with this. Eve did too. She and her husband were hanging out in the garden when a serpent approached them and said "Did God really say, 'You must not eat from any tree in the garden'?". "You will not surely die,”. Eve began questions God’s wisdom based on her own knowledge. (Genesis 3)
There seems to be a tendency within us to test boundaries that are set in place for our good, especially if we don’t fully understand them. Just as my with my children that day, we are to seek God for understanding (Proverbs 4:5) and trust in the love of our Father as well. He has our best interest at heart.
“ For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)
God guides us through His Word and the Holy Spirit because he loves us. His guidance is meant to protect us not keep us enjoying ourselves. He wants us to thrive in our relationship with Him, not be separated from Him. Sometimes it’s obvious why we should or should not do something; other times not so much. It’s then that we need to trust.
My kids had to trust me that day. While they didn’t have all the answers they wanted, they kept off the grass and waited a couple of days until it rained. By then the coast was clear. They were able to enjoy themselves outside knowing they were protected because they honored my request (and the landscapers) to stay off the grass.