|First sign of our new front yard coming in.|
Our front yard is currently a muddy mess. We purchased our home three years ago. The people before us spent a lot of time perfecting their flower beds. In fact, the day we moved in, the seller took me on a tour of the yard and told me about all of the flowers. Although the yard was beautiful, it was not practical for our family. We have 10 kids and they really just need lots of grass to play in. So a couple of weekends ago Matt rented a tractor and ripped up the front yard. Then he spread grass seed in the upturned ground. The only thing left to do was wait.
It’s been raining the last couple of weeks, and the front yard looks pretty awful. The kids have pointed out several times that it doesn’t look like any grass is growing. I must admit until today, it was a pretty pathetic sight. But today, today, I saw the tiniest bit of green fuzz covering the earth.
I think the front yard reflects how life sometimes looks.
It wasn’t that the yard was ugly or uncomfortable, but it wasn’t the kind of yard that gave my children the most opportunity to live out their potential. They don’t need beautiful flowers, they need a place to run and kick a soccer ball. I think we are being called to leave the beautiful and comfortable to meet the needs. And it might be a muddy mess. It might look pathetic. It might look worse than when we started. But oh the hope that is restored when those delicate blades start to grow. The vision that is revealed when what was only an inspiration is lived out.
We are in the midst of a season of change, and I must admit it looks a bit like our front yard. There’s more mud and mess than anything else. We have a vision, a concept, an idea, but we certainly don’t know how it’s all going to work out. Matt rented the tractor, and put in the hard work of tearing up the ground and planting something new. To be honest, he crossed his fingers and hoped it would work. We are putting in the work and crossing our fingers for this new season. It would have been simpler and easier to leave the front yard alone. It would be simpler and easier for us to continue on a current path of life we are familiar with. We chose to dig up the yard because we have a vision of our children playing together and getting the most out of the space. We have chosen to change our lives because we have a vision of a community that cares for vulnerable children and supports families in need.
Through this process I am learning a lot about change. Here are my thoughts. We don’t have to change. We can choose to stay on our current path of life. Just like our front yard could have continued to be a lovely piece of property with flower beds. Following a new direction or calling in life doesn’t mean our current path was wrong. After 14 years of serving as pastors to youth and children, Matt and I are stepping down from that position. We have loved being pastors, and we could have chosen to live out the rest of our working days as pastors. We aren’t making a change because something was wrong. We are making a change because we feel God is calling us in a new direction. This new direction has given birth to the non-profit we started, Riverside Community Outreach. Our mission is to serve vulnerable children and support families. We are excited and scared to take this leap of faith. This is stretching us to move beyond our comfort zone and stretching us in new ways. To be honest, it’s a little uncomfortable, and a bit messy.
This brings me to my second thought. Change can be downright messy sometimes, and often looks worse before it looks better. Have you ever organized something in your house, like a closet or a junk drawer? The best way to do it is pull everything out and go through it all, and then put back what you need in an organized fashion. Every time I organize an area in my home I end up throwing things, and giving things away. I always find I’m holding onto more stuff than I need.t’s always a huge mess of a pile in the middle before the task is completed. Once I’m done though the mess is gone and the end result is a much more efficient home. We can’t be afraid of the messy middle. This can make us feel uncomfortable, but I don’t know of a single verse in the bible that calls us to live a life of comfortable. I do know many verses that call us to love people and meet their needs, and talk about something that can get messy.
And finally, in the midst of change we need to hold onto the reason why we are doing it in the first place. Hope is a powerful force. I remember filling out mountains of paperwork, draining our savings account, and spending hours on the phone to adopt our daughter, Joy. The hope of bringing our little girl home to be a part of our family was what kept me going when the process was grueling. The small, but sturdy blades of grass in the yard are a reminder to me of hope. In the muddy ground after showing no sign of life for weeks, the blades pushed through the earth and made their debut. As we enter this new season of change, I will remember to hold onto hope as we break up new ground and begin a new adventure.