They moved out last week. To their own homes for the year. Two daughters, both cherished. Both pretty much grown up. Within twenty-four hours, our nest became two-thirds empty, and I’ve been swallowing back tears ever since.
As the days in all their busyness have continued to march on, behind each regular task’s requirements and each persistent tear-gulp, I’ve found myself whispering a phrase I’d not thought of in years: “We’re growing kids, not grass.” This past week, though, that phrase, first said long ago, has run through my mind backwards. It’s sounded like this:
“I’m now growing grass, not kids.”
I swallow back tears even as I write those words. Let me explain. And I hope in the explaining, you’ll, no matter your stage of life, be encouraged.
Fifteen years ago
A decade and a half ago, when my kids were five and three and one, a friend (whose kids were also five and three and one) and I talked about how our front yards were the ugliest in the neighborhood. Mostly just weeds and mushrooms and dirt spots, any grass had been worn thin by hundreds of preschool feet running and skipping and trampling in gleeful games across the yard. I told her I actually felt sorry for my across-the-street neighbors who had to look at my yard, while I got to enjoy their lovely, untrampled grass view.
She laughed, my friend who was wiser than me. She said, “Someday maybe our yards will look that pretty. Right now though, we’re growing kids, not grass.”
Here’s the point. That day has come for me. Grass can now grow, untrampled, unhindered. But I’d rather a thousand times over that the happy giggles of running preschoolers reach my ears. And it’s often that way, isn’t it? We want the other season. The other stage of life. The other.
But it’s in this moment, this stage, this God-ordained place that I’ll know God. It’s in this job, this locale, this set of circumstances that I’ll learn of Him, and need Him, and experience His wondrous love for me and mine. This one. None other.
So, what to do?
So I should do a few things:
- I should pray for the ability to quit coveting her situation, her locale, her moments. I pray to believe that God cares for me. My path is my beautiful path, carved for me by the sovereign Lord of the universe.
- I meditate on the truth that time is fleeting, fast. And so I work to understand that within the blink of only a few eyelids I’ll be “growing grass, not kids.” I immerse myself in the very place He has me now. I serve and love and pour myself out for the people He’s placed in my current spheres. Today, on this day, those people are the people I’m to concentrate on. All the lures of the prettier life (as seen online often) are lies. This life is your current life. Live it!
- And I ask God to give me the passion for an all-out, arrive-at-life’s-finish-line completely worn out by the wholehearted race I ran for Him kind of life.
So that, whether I’m growing grass, or kids, or whatever I’m doing, I’m not wasting my earthly-life’s limited time wishing for a different experience. I’m, rather, experiencing the amazing honor of entering into the amazing works God prepared beforehand, that I should amazingly get to walk in them.
“Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. Remember that the Lord will give you an inheritance as your reward, and that the Master you are serving is Christ.”