Friday, April 3, 2015

The Mower and my dating life—a story about endurance. God’s and Mine.

I hate mowing. I mean, seriously and completely HATE mowing. 

To me, mowing is something my husband is supposed to do. For a woman who is extremely “I don’t need you” I still have certain things in my life that just seem to be a husband’s role—if I had one. Mowing is one of those things. So when I mow I feel as if God is throwing in my face “your still single!”

When I first became single the kids and I had a yard and frankly yards need mowed. In the beginning I would spend my time crying while mowing. Literally. I hated being single and mowing was just a very out loud reminder that I was. It didn’t take long before I started hearing back from God during my mowing fits. God used that time to bring to mind things I needed to work on, people I needed to ask/offer forgiveness, basically areas that I wasn’t doing so hot in. After a few times of this I began to dread mowing for more reasons than because I wasn’t married. I felt like every time I mowed I was scolded by God. So, I did what any mature single mother would do…I made my son mow. 

“Ha! Take that, God!” I thought to myself as I watched my son mowing while I was sitting inside sipping ice tea. 

I flat out refused to mow.  

Several summers passed and still I wouldn’t mow. When my son wasn’t home, the yard just didn’t get mowed. I was open with people about why I wasn’t mowing; I suppose one could argue that was my way of yet again saying to God, “take that!” Each time I told the story I felt some sense of winning the battle.
And then…we moved. We moved to a house that sat on nearly TWO acres! I’ve often described God as relentless—I have good reason for that description!

I bought a riding mower right away, because if I’m going to mow, I’m certainly not going to push mow that much yard! The first trip around the yard on the rider resulted in the blade falling off. For real. Fell off. The mower broke three times the first summer. And each time my son was gone and the yard HAD to be mowed. So, of course, I push mowed. And of course, I heard from God. 

We lived in that house for three summers and two of those summers our rider was out of commission. But I had begun to notice something. During my times of mowing I was no longer feeling “scolded” by God and I didn’t cry when I had to mow. I was actually beginning to ENJOY mowing!  At the beginning of the third summer (mind you, summer came very early that year) I discovered the rider was still not willing to start. Without hesitation, I drug the push mower out. The weather warmed up quickly, the grass also grew quickly. My son, a teenager, was rarely home to mow and I was mowing once a week, occasionally twice. It didn’t take long for me to begin to question God—again.

“How long are you going to make me push mow?” I would ask.
“Until you are thankful” instantly crossed my mind.
“Great. I’ll be pushing forever.” I sighed and fought back tears.

Thankful! To push mow?! How can ANYONE be THANKFUL to push mow almost TWO acres?!!!! I mean, come on, TWO acres! But each week I would go to the rider and each week it would be dead. (Mind you, I kept getting it fixed.) Each week I would drag that stupid push mower out and grumble the entire three hours it took me to mow.  Then, one day I found myself saying things I was thankful for. While I was mowing! Little by little, each mowing session, I was more thankful. 

One day in particular I was mowing in the back; I’d gotten everything finished but the very back part. I was on hour 2.5 and was exhausted. I began telling God “I know you can make the gas stretch so that I don’t have to walk all the way to the front where the gas can is.” I knew I was about out of gas but the thought of walking to get the gas, then mowing, then putting the gas away and the mower and then walking up to the house seemed impossible to my body. And then, as if on cue, the mower sputtered and died. I was out of gas. Sigh. I made the journey and retrieved the gas can and slowly walked back to the mower. My mind was too tired to even be upset. I simply said aloud “of course.”

After filling the tank, I pushed the choke button and pulled the string to start the push mower. Nothing happened. I pulled. And pulled. And pulled. And pulled. Nothing. I sat down, literally on the edge of my property (the corn field was touching my leg) and told God I was too tired to move and I was determined to finish mowing. 

I was tired of this battle.

 I wasn’t sitting long before my then 9 year old daughter came walking out to see me.
“What are you doing, Mom?” she asked as her eyes darted back and forth between the mower and me.
“Well, the mower has over heated because a push mower isn’t meant to mow for three straight hours so I’m letting it cool a bit in the hopes it’ll start and I can finish mowing before the sun goes down. And I’m too tired to walk up to the house so I’m sitting here waiting.”  “Ok” she said as she turned to walk away. She got about 100 feet from me and turned back saying, “Why don’t you just quit?” The tone in her voice was different. Harsh. And in that instant I knew the battle was real.

I jumped up and shouted “I will NOT quit!” I could see in her face that I startled her by my reaction, but she didn’t realize I wasn’t yelling at her, I was yelling at Satan and frankly I was yelling at God, I was yelling to the world and more importantly I was yelling to myself…I WILL NOT QUIT! I bent over, grabbed the string, and pulled and pulled and pulled and pulled and then….it started. 

I was walking to the house after I’d put the mower away (relieved the yard was finished just as dusk came) and realized I was telling God things I was thankful for, and one of those things was the ability to push mow. 

So, you might be saying to yourself that’s a nice story Carla, but what does it have to do with dating? 


Dating is about more than going to dinner and a movie. Dating, as a Christian Mom, is about having your life centered on God so much that you are willing to sit in the grass and wait on the mower to cool down instead of calling “whatever his name is” to come to the rescue (stand on your own two feet).

Dating, as a Christian Mom, is about fighting to not quit, so that you can see how God IS meeting all your needs. God is the one that gave me the power to fight that day, the energy to endure my tired body. God. Not some guy. God really did mow my yard. Through me. 

It’s a lie when we hear or say “but I need a man to take care of me.” It’s a lie to believe we cannot do it on our own. It’s a lie when we believe “God cannot meet all your needs.”

Dating is not bad, desperate dating is.  Arguing with God is not bad, refusing to hear Him is. Shifting our perspective is vital. I still don’t like mowing, but I’d do it and I would be thankful the entire time because I learned during that season just how much God is for me and just how deep my endurance really is.

Philippians 4:19…and my God shall supply all your needs from his glorious riches. 

*Disclaimer* This story is from a season of life 4 years ago spanning the previous 4 years. I was a fairly new Christian and totally consumed with my dating career (yes, it was a career sadly). Please know, in no way am I condoning arguing with God (though if we’re honest we do it). Today I would mow a yard, that’s no longer a battle for me—I have new battles. If we’re honest with where we are, if we’re determined with wanting to improve, we’ll most certainly grow—it just may take a while ;)