Life Compass
Keeping You Pointed in the Right Direction

Blessing Smells Like Fresh Cut Grass

It’s funny how our senses trigger memories and feelings. Today I did the “it’s Saturday morning so mow the yard” thing before my son’s baseball game. 

After having lived most of my life in Upstate New York … Central Florida takes some getting used to. I come from rural farm land country where the grass is lush and green (when it’s not covered under 14 feet of snow) and the soil beneath is rich and dark and filled with nutrients which are perfect for growing and cultivating flowers and vegetation. Here …. sparse, patchy stringy grass and sand. Unless you have your yard professionally sodded or your lawn is St Augustine grass (which is really a thick, crunchy weed) lawns on the Space Coast look like balding men’s heads in a nursing home.

When we first moved here we rented a house that looked like a lost mission outpost in the jungle. Veggetation, weeds, and grass were level with the front eaves of the roof. I did not own a riding lawn mower … just a weed eater that wasn’t hungry and a push mower that was not designed for cutting trails through a tropical rain forest. It was a difficult time in our lives. I was out of the ministry, filled with shame and guilt, had no job, no prospects, and had placed my family over a thousand miles away from anything and everything they had ever known.  My wife got a nursing position which required travel and our pastor gracious allowed our children to attend the Christian school without payment of tuition. I will never forget the day we met with the school financial director, and I looked at the total tuition bill of nearly 20K. Leaving that office was a low point for me. My wife, despite all my failure and letting her down, was my biggest cheerleader. I said there was no way we could afford that. She said, “all those years you forgave peoples’ school bills in New York and allowed them to come without compensation, all the kids you paid their way to camp and Little League, all that planting into peoples’ lives … God will allow you to do some reaping.” Reap we have!

My wife went to work as an RN in a nursing home and the kids went to school. I worked odd jobs and did janitorial work at the church. Each day I tried to tackle that 6 acre lawn that was an absolute a monument to my sinful pride that put us there. One day I finally broke. At my lowest point the mower gave out, the weed eater died, and I hated the smell of Florida grass. It was the aroma of failure, of sin, of spiritual death, of miserable bitter consequence. I went into the house and fell to my knees and told my wife, “I give up.” I cried. She cried. She consoled me. We wept. She prayed. As we were weeping before the Lord we heard a rumble and roar that shook the house. Out the window we could see grass flying everywhere. I went outside and my son’s football coach had shown up with his crew to cut our lawn. I was beyond words. Tears of sorrow became tears of joy. The Bible says He turns our mourning into gladness.

Once the lawn was cut then I could keep it down with our push mower. 6 acres by hand in Florida humidity was a 2 to 3 day job each week. No kidding. A few months later we took our Income Tax refund and bought a Sears Craftsman riding lawn mower.

Now, some 18 months since that day, God has certainly allowed us to continue reaping. I still own that riding mower. But our new home doesn’t even have an acre worth of mowable yard. It takes 15 minutes to cut my grass and another 10-15 minutes to trim and weed eat. As I inhaled the scent of that Florida fresh cut grass today I realized  it is the aroma of God’s grace, restoration, as well as the sweet blessing of His favor. I stopped mowing just to enjoy the smell. How has God allowed us to reap blessing since our arrival? Well, I am now the administrator of the school I needed some benevolence from. I now extend that same favor to other students and families. I am now the youth pastor of the church that welcomed my family with open arms when we came with not much to give but in serious need. Now my wife and I are able to minister to families and young people who are in need. I have been blessed with a Pastor who is a friend and friends who are brothers. My kids have adjusted beyond my wildest expectations and are excelling in every area of their lives. My wife is able to share and teach women and young women. I host a daily one hour radio program and hear from listeners each day from across the entire state of Florida through a relay signal.

Oh, and as far as the grass goes and grows … my oldest son Ira  now cuts the lawn of one of the church deacon’s and my son Andrew mows the lawn at a mission house owned by the church. To whom much is given … much is required. I have been given a second chance by the good hand of God. I am blessed. I have the fresh cut grass to prove it.

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