Mowing is to the Grass as Faith is to Life
I’ve been married for over 20 years now, and I just recently mowed the grass for the first time. I’m serious. I guess I thought it was a man’s job. Plus, my husband has always just mowed it, which means I’ve never had to think about it. One of my Warrior Mom friends, Tracy, told me that she’s mowed the grass since day one of her marriage. “What?!” I exclaimed. I couldn’t believe it. I started wondering if I could mow the grass too. I pushed the thought aside for a few days after I remembered that the Georgia heat and humidity would probably kill me if I tried. “Yeah, it will be too difficult anyway, I don’t even know how to start the lawnmower,” I thought to myself. I had seen my husband push a button a few times and pull a long cord, but that’s all I knew about it. Again, I thought, “Yep, it’s a man’s job; I’ll let him do it.”
My husband is a teacher, and the teachers always go back to school one week before the students. The grass was getting a little long and my husband was swamped, I looked at the lawn and thought, “I bet I could figure it out.” As soon as his red truck pulled out of the driveway the next morning, I started planning my surprise. When I told my kids about my plan, they both simultaneously exclaimed, “What?!”
“Mom, you don’t know how to mow the grass!” my 14-year- old daughter exclaimed.
“Mom, you might get hurt!” my 11 year old son added.
“I can do it; I’m going to pray and just do it,” I answered.
Just for the record, I was in the military and I love a challenge. I was actually kind of excited. I bent down and pushed the soft, little black rubber button 3 times. I knew to do that much. (There was also a picture. I love directions with pictures. Plus, etched into the metal, next to the buttons was the following instructions, “Push 3 x”). I love simple instructions. Then, I held the metal bar thing back against the handle, and pulled the long cord, which had a plastic horizontal handle on it to hold onto. The engine roared into action. I was set. I started pushing the mower along the edge of the grass. “This is just like vacuuming, except a little different,” I thought to myself. I was having fun for a while. It reminded me how rolling the first line of paint on a wall is fun: the rest is just plain work! Eventually, the mower seemed to get heavier. It wasn’t as fun anymore, but I kept pushing. Our front yard is a sloping long hill, so it became extremely difficult to push the mower back up towards the house. Still, I kept pushing. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me, (Phil 4:13)” I said aloud. Sweat was running down my scalp into my eyes. No wonder my husband wears a bandanna on his head when he does this. I always thought it was just to look cool. I would find a pink camo (Warrior Mom) bandanna the next time I ran errands. When I got to the middle of the yard, the mower just stopped. “Hmm,” I thought to myself, “I wonder if it’s out of gas.” I checked, and I discovered that it was empty. I abandon the lawnmower to go find the gas can. Besides, I needed water and a towel for all of this sweat on me! As I stood in the middle of the garage and gulped from my water bottle, I felt as I’d just emerged from the desert after forty years of wandering. My eyes scanned the garage for a gas can. “Aha!” I saw a gas can, but then I saw another one. “Hmm. I wonder which one I’m supposed to use.” Then I remembered the big rusty one was the one I saw my husband carry around all the time when he mowed the lawn. It must be that one. I found the funnel, and started pouring gas into the mower, carefully. “There,” I said aloud. I filled the mower with gas. I ought to be good to go now. I repeated the previous process. I pushed the button thing 3 times, and pulled the cord. Nothing happened. “Hmm,” I thought to myself. “Oh, I bet the bag is full,” I said. I wrestled with it for a moment, pulling the bag too hard, which caused me to fall down 2 feet behind the mower. Chunks of grass flew everywhere. Pieces of grass were stuck all over me (due to the amount of sweat that was on every ounce of my skin.) I laughed out loud. “If Brian could see me now,” I laughed. Nothing was working, and I thought I should stop pulling that cord because I’d probably flood the engine. That sounded like something that I had heard before, and it sounded probable. I stood there, wiping more sweat off of my brow. My ponytail was soaked, dripping with sweat as if I had just jumped into a pool. A pool of water sounded wonderful about now. “Hmm, Okay God, please help me here,” I said. Then, it hit me. I bet the blades were stuck on top of clumps of grass left over from my recent bag-overload event. I pushed the dead lawnmower to the driveway so that the blades could have enough room to kick themselves back into action. Upon the driveway, the engine roared back to life. I was so excited I almost let go of the handle to jump up and down and look for someone to hug or high five. Fortunately, it hit me that if I let go of the handle, the engine would die again. I would save my hug and high five for another time. Besides, nobody was there to celebrate with me anyway. Well, God was there. Fortunately, God takes high-fives in “thought form” – so I gave him an invisible one as I continued to mow. A few lines of mowed grass later, I stepped on my left now green tennis shoe with my other now green right tennis shoe, which resulted in my left shoe coming off my foot, abandoned in front of me. I happened to be pulling the lawnmower backwards (a new technique I learned for hills) and I almost mowed over my poor little left shoe! Fortunately, I realized what was happening in a split second, and I stopped the lawnmower just in time to save my shoes’ life. I laughed out loud again. “Okay, Cinderella, let’s get that slipper back on and finish this dance,” I said to myself. I was actually having fun. I couldn’t wait to get done and just wait for my husband to pull into the driveway. He’d be so surprised. I thought of that visa commercial where they show items to be purchased and then they show a family spending time together at a baseball game and then they say, “Priceless.” I started grinning about how priceless my husband’s face was going to look when he came down the road and saw the mowed lawn after a long day of work.
As I continued to work, I decided to talk to God about how mowing the lawn is like walking by faith. When we forget where the source of our strength comes from, we run out of gas. When we believe lies about how we have to carry everything ourselves (resulting in an overloaded grass clipping bag), forgetting to lay our burdens at the cross, we can feel frozen in our tracks – unable to move one step more. If we just rely on mere physical tools, leaving the energy component of faith out (or vice versa), giving up and laying flat on the ground, our faith can’t propel us onward. This makes sense because faith, without works is dead (James 2:26). If we focus on the hill rather than the one made the hill and who walks the hill with us, it can seem impossible to climb. And living by faith feels hard and exhausting sometimes, as spiritual sweat drips off of our brow, or escapes from the end of our ponytails. However, not living by faith is worse because when we try to live by ourselves, and our own might, it just leaves us feeling flooded and overwhelmed. Oh, and last but not least – it’s actually fun to live by faith because we try things we never would have dreamt of trying, we accomplish more than humanly possible on this earth, and we get to know and depend upon the maker of the grass, the hills, the mountains, and the skies. An added bonus is that when we live by faith, our Dad, Abba Father, gives us invisible high-fives when nobody else is around to celebrate with us.
I finished the lawn that day, feeling like I had climbed Mt. Everest or something. It was exhilarating and fun. I couldn’t wait to see the look on my husband’s face. And most importantly, just like a visa commercial, the time I spent with my Father was priceless!
Mowing is definitely to the grass as faith is to life!
If anyone serves he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ.
1 Peter 4:11
Warrior Moms Unite!®
The Warrior Mom Ministry was founded by Kristina Seymour, author of The Warrior Mom Handbook – Equipping Women through the Word, a Bible study for moms who desire to live by faith in the midst of their everyday lives. Kristina has learned that moms can't survive on caffeine and animal crackers alone; women in the Word and in community are united and able to stand firm. To learn more about The Warrior Mom Handbook, the Warrior Mom Ministry, and to sign up for daily encouragement, visit, www.warriormoms.net.