Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Manicured Lawns

As we drove into my parents subdivision on Good Friday afternoon, our entire family took a deep breath and I said "Green Grass!". Each home sits on a spacious, thriving GREEN acre of land. To this car load of drought stricken Georgians, that color was so vivid and those lawns were just begging for our bare feet to come and play. These lawns aren't just green, they are manicured...big time. Beautiful flowers and shrubs add a rainbow of color to each home. We oohed and ahhhed all the way to my parent's driveway.

This weekend, Chad and his dad made a Home Depot run and picked up pine straw for our flower(less)beds. They came back with two dogwood trees for our backyard, one pink and one white. I can't wait for them to grow!!! Yesterday evening, the girls helped Chad plant those trees. They took great care to dig the holes deep enough, carefully place those little trees in and then fill those holes back in. We know that the hard work will result in a beautiful addition to our backyard. (I'm looking forward to adding a hammock and a picnic table! That's where I'll be once they are in place!)

As I left for rehearsal and Bible study last night, I saw several of our neighbors working in their yards doing the same sort of things we've been doing. Everyone is sprucing up for spring, working hard to make the yard look good. Everyone waved, smiled and I left thinking what a great neighborhood we have.

When I came home last night it was dark. I pulled into the neighborhood and all those people who had been outside when I left, were now indoors. Garage doors were locked, and curtains pulled. While I could see lights on in a few houses, most appeared dark. Everyone was at their "homebase". They had retreated into their domain and I wondered....what do they live like inside those four walls.

What are these families really like? Do they watch American Idol and Survivor like we do? Do they sit around their dinner table and enjoy conversation or do they eat in front of the t.v. so they don't have to talk! Do they ever have a messy family room, or is everyone always on the go and not really home long enough to mess it up? What really goes on in these homes? What are these homes filled with?

Proverbs 24:3-4 says "By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures." In the margin of my Bible at some point I wrote "What am I filling my home with?". Maybe a better question is "Right now this second, is my home filled with holy treasures,(love, joy, peace...) or temporary "fixes" to my human desires?"

Chad and I have a deep desire that our children and our children's friends feel that our home is safe. We want them to know from the moment they step into our home that first God is here and second it's safe. You can let your hair down here and we will still care and love you. You can be honest about your struggles and your hurts and while we may not have an answer, we have an inside line to the One who does! We will pray over, for and with you.

We can't have that type of environment if our house isn't filled with the right things. (And NO, I'm not talking about the latest and greatest video game, surround sound OR a plasma t.v.) I'm talking about love, joy, peace, patience. The type of place that is a haven or a hiding place...

I guess as we prepare to enter the next stage of parenting I'm feeling God give me a new desire. My heart desire is for God to create more than a manicured lawn at our address.

So, let the bike gang hang here again this summer. I will not have a melt down if they make figure 8's in my front yard. Let me find strange pairs of shoes and extra pool towels in my garage. May I run out of ice cream sandwiches and coke the day after I go to the grocery store. It all means there are little ones here. And if there are little ones here......there are little ones needing to be loved. I wouldn't have a manicured lawn over that any day.


Jenifer said...

Awesome post! I just manicured my living room so that we have more space to spend in there together playing board games, wrestling, and our newest fade- exercising. Yes, you heard me right. We are having family exercise night. You should have seen us all last night-jumping, stretching, breathing heavy and sweating. It was a blast! There's nothing like family time.

Wanted to let you know that we finished our prayer jars. Come on over and have a look.


Cheri said...

I needed this- at this very moment.
Thank you!
~Love Cheri

Carol said...

I feel the same way! I want my house to be a haven - for my own family and for others who need a place of love and rest.

Laura said...

Great post. I loved reading it!

jodi said...

Well said. I couldn't agree more! :)

Darlene R. said...

Great post. Our house is very lived in. I grew up in a house that couldn't be messy, so I fight the urge to want a perfectly clean house.
Reality is that it doesn't happen too often...and that's okay.

Have a great day

BethAnne said...

I so agree (except the part about running out of ice cream of course!)

Laurie Adams said...

I really enjoyed your post about manicured lawns. I think sometimes we get so preoccupied with our busy schedules and all at the same time life is passing us by. I have always tried to create an atmosphere in our home where our children feel comfortable to hang out with their friends, and now that my kids are grown I miss all the hustle and bustle and madness (yes...I miss stocking my refrig with popsicles and cokes for all the neigborhood kids) Relax and enjoy those young ones!

Fran said...

You know...the more we worry about houses and the stuff in the houses and the yards and the flowers in the yards.....we are taking time away from those ice cream sandwiches, messed up homes, laughter upstairs, food missing from the pantry and fridge...

The older I get...the longer I am a mom....I want all that "mess!!" There are way more years when they are gone. I've only got 6 more years with my oldest at home. 6.
Thats it.

Enjoy those babies and all that they have and bring.

Love you girl~

Amy Wyatt said...

I so needed to hear this today. I am struggling with some similar issues. Thank you.

Angela @ Refresh My Soul Blog said...

I bet those trees will look great!

Amen to post.
Much love,

The Small Scribbler said...

I love the last paragraph. Great pep talk for the just-around-the-corner summer months.