Friday, August 28, 2009

Cairns ~ When Doing Good Goes Bad

Jeff had been away on a staff retreat, yet the grass had not stopped growing. :) He was coming home to a full schedule, only to be leaving again the next day. "How could I lift his load?" I asked myself, so I determined to mow the grass before he came home. Now, mowing our front yard is like strolling a baby across the face of Mt. Rushmore ... steep! "But if the kids could do it," I thought, "so can I!" JoHanna had to babysit that night, and Jacob was concentrating on schoolwork, so I decided I had to do it alone.

I stared down the mower (it's been a while since I mowed), checked the gas, and began to pull and pull and pull. Nothin'. I went back out 4 (Jacob says 5) times to start her up, but every time I failed. I event texted my sister Carrie to ask her to pray for me to succeed, because I really meant well (She, who is ready to deliver a baby, praying about my mower ... ). I prayed out loud in the garage. Didn't God want me to do this good thing I was sure I should and could and had to do? I called Jeff for advice; he told me not to do it. :( Jacob tried to help me, but he had trouble too, and I made excuses that something was wrong with it. I was glad that the neighbors couldn't see me fighting the mower at the bottom of our hill; I didn't want to be labeled as a lawn loser. All I got for my good intentions, my best plans, was a sore arm and two broken fingernails. Ok, I also got a bad case of guilt for being plain "weak." I admitted defeat.

The next day I went in the garage, followed by Jacob. He casually stopped by the mower, pulled the cord, and it started! I overcame my disgust, threw on my sneakers and shorts, while Jacob held her there, and I ran back to conquer the yard.

It wasn't long before I was wishing I hadn't dropped Physics my Junior year, so that I could figure out SOME WAY to make mowing the slope easier. I wondered if neighbors were watching me and shaking their heads that I was having so much trouble. I huffed and puffed and struggled, realizing that I was really not prepared very well to do the task I stubbornly tackled. But I got it mowed! :) About that time I realized that Jeff might not appreciate the intertwined lines across a yard mowed by a "right brain" instead of the orderly rows and columns of the yard mowed by his "left brain." Well, mine was interesting anyways.

When I came in and collapsed on the living room floor, Jacob and the dog seemed concerned about my appearance. They watched me as if they were deciding when to initiate the alpine rescue sequence. :(

This time of year a lot of parents, mothers in particular, wonder if trying to school the way they determined was such a good idea afterall. They may realize they tackled a tough uphill task without being prepared enough or informed enough (public high school, christian school, or home school ... ) They may realize they need help, afterall. They may even realize they're not the best person for the task they chose or that God knows they mean well, but He had other things for them to do. (I think Jeff would've rather I ironed than mowed .... ) Not all of us are suited to mow slopes.

The decision for how we educate and train up our children is a very personal one. God knows we mean well, and our intentions are genuine and good. He may hear us cry out in the night (or garage), and He may see us struggle to stay our course without seeking help. Jeff and I have schooled our children at home, in christian school, in a co-op, and in public school. We're using two formats right now. Different children have different needs, and those needs change with their age and the family's life circumstances. Different parents have different skills and time and energy and abilities to offer. Each year is a new opportunity to ask God:

  • What do you want us to do?
  • How can we best serve You now?
  • What is the best way to grow our children at this time & in this place?
  • What will be best for our family?
  • What will be best for our marriage?

Once we know that we're doing what God wants us to do in the way He wants us to do it, we can move ahead with confidence He will enable us to do it to honor Him.

Next time when I have to time to bless Jeff, I think I'll iron ... that's love. :)

6 COMMENTS ~ Click here to leave a COMMENT:

Kristi_runwatch said...

This is a GREAT post - so true, and thank you for the encouragement to see my limits and listen to God for what HE wants me to do!

At this point in life I feel that God has very clearly led us to homeschooling (at least for now!)... but I'm definitely learning that the way I do it might be very different from most of the women I know/blogs I read. Seems like we are very good at guilting ourselves that we have to do what everyone else is doing in order to be doing the "best thing," rather than seeking God for wisdom as the Creator of our unique children, the Creator of us as unique parents, the all-knowing One who is the source of all knowledge!

Missy said...

i could just see you trying to hard to start that mower and then mow on that steep hill....i do ask myself sometime, why do things seem to be so hard?

high schools in AZ are horrible. my oldest is doing online HS and my 8th grader will be going into HS next year. i have no idea what to do. my prayer is that God will give me and husband clear direction on where to send her next

have a blessed weekend.

Julie@comehaveapeace said...

Kristi and Missy, such good thoughts. I know I struggle before every year (and sometimes DURING the year) to know what the best is for us at that time. So true that we feel pressure from those we see or hear about or know. It really takes the pressure off to seek God's desire, trust Him to show us and our hubby, give us a unified confidence, and then enable us to do it! Missy, I know He'll give you direction for next year. I find myself wishing I knew NOW so I could plan, :) but He always tells me when I'm ready to know. Where He wants us is the best place to be ... and I know He doesn't want me mowing my slope! :)

Chaos Cottage said...

Ooh I just loved this post. I wish I had been walking by when you were mowing Mount Rushmore! Your heart was in the right place even if the lawn was askew! Jeff is surely blessed. Robert has been in that lawn loser category before with a bad mower or bad fuel. Oh how we miss our hired lawn help :)


Lori said...

I just discovered your blog and could totally relate to the struggle with the lawn mower pull cord. I've helped my hubby with his lawn biz a little and am thoroughly convinced the Lord made us all differently for a reason! I'll stay inside with my cakes and leave the lawns to him! :)

Julie@comehaveapeace said...

Lori, it's great news for us that you are sticking to your cakes. :) And I appreciate the mower sympathy! Welcome to my "peace."