I found myself in "whineyland" today! I get this way every September. In September homeschooling begins and I need more time at home, but public school also begins and they need my husband at the bus garage three times a day to drive a bus. This takes me away from home doing the lawn business as my husband runs between me and the garage. Lawn work is physically taxing on me (I am a grandma you know!)....plus, I just have always hated working outside. Today I found myself left alone to mow what we refer to as "the trinity." It's three 3/4 acre properties side by side. With two people, it takes a little over an hour to mow and trim all three. Alone, it takes an eternity!! I was stuck in eternity!
I chatted with a friend as I was about to start mowing and mentioned where I was, that it wasn't my favorite thing to do and that my daughter had my ipod, so I was not going to get to listen to sermons or scripture or music as I mowed. She said, "well, I guess you'll just be mowing and thinking." "NO!, I said, I can't mow and think because my thoughts have not been going good places lately. I keep thinking that I'll be 75 and still mowing yards just to pay the bills." We're called to ministry but it seems that we really can't fully focus on it because we have to work so many other jobs too. I find myself struggling with this almost every September. I can think of everything bad about what we are doing and get myself in such a funk that I become a grumbler and my nose gets stuck in my navel as all I think about and see is me, me me. So today, I told my friend that I needed to mow and pray, making my supplications WITH THANKSGIVING!!!
Mowing was really slow-going thanks to tropical storm Lee, who had consistently dumped rain on PA for nearly a week! I would have been better to use a baler than our zero turn. With each pass the mower labored to cut and threw large clumps amidst a thick blanket of clippings that soon covered all of the 2-1/4 acres! My heart sank and my mood darkened as did the clouds directly above me. I didn't realize it, but what the weather man calls an "isolated storm" was brewing overhead and in my heart.
As I donned the backpack blower to blow the blanket of grass clippings off the trinity, I decided that I was going to spend that time being thankful and just reciting the promises of God encouraging myself in the Lord as David did. I needed to get my perspective adjusted and my faith in operation!
As I began, I immediately felt the help of the Holy Spirit bringing scripture after scripture to my mind. Things were moving along really well. The sun was shining and the sky was all blue except for a small patch of black cloud that loomed over my head. It was hot, I was sweaty, and soon, like dewdrops from heaven, small raindrops began to fall on my head as quickly as the promises were falling into my heart! "Oh Lord, thank you" I said. It feels so refreshing both inside and out!"
Then, those raindrops began to fall faster and they got larger and heavier until soon I was being pelted with stinging raindrops the size of quarters . All the while I continued blowing an increasingly heavy and soggy blanket of grass clippings that were not moving very far or very fast! "It figures", I said to myself, "I decided to be thankful and now it's raining at the worst possible moment! Well, now I had a choice to make. Either I was going to just believe or I was going to give in to a cruddy attitude. So I decided to just be thankful anyway even though I was soaking wet and all the blowing was proving to be a lesson in futility. But I continued, through clenched teeth, thanking God for all of the promises that were falling into my mind. Faith is not always fun or easy, you know! Sometimes it just means that you decide to believe something, no matter what you see or feel or experience simply because God said it is so.
Soon after my hubby arrived and took over the blowing. I took my drippy head, my grass covered, exhausted body back to the truck to wallow in self-pity and frustration! I just felt miserable! But as I went, I noticed something. The fierce hardness and speed of the passing rain storm and those large raindrops had actually pounded a lot of the grass clippings right down into the ground. As it turned out much less blowing was required than had been before the storm. This creates what is called "thatch" and when thatch gets thick enough it requires "de-thatching"--a service our business provides!
Sometimes it's just hard to look at a situation and be able to believe that there is anything good to be found in the midst of it. Storms appear that just seem to enshroud us like a burial cloth while the rest of world enjoys sunny skies. It's only when we choose to believe what God said AND we act on it that God can intervene, even in the midst of a worsening situation. That's faith.
"So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; 13 for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.
14 Do all things without grumbling or disputing; 15 so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world, 16 holding fast the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I will have reason to glory because I did not run in vain nor toil in vain." Philippians 2:12-16
It's faith that originated with God, was placed in me by God, and works for me in God! He both wills and works for His good pleasure! He takes pleasure in placing it in us and in seeing it work for us! It opens the door for His blessing and the completion of His promises in our lives and we profit by it. The result is that we live in continual blessing and presence and He is glorified in us to the point that we are like a light shining in the dark places of the world!