14 May Pastor’s Paragraph for May 16, 2021
MAY 16, 2021
We have some patches on our lawn where the grass won’t grow. I’ve grumbled about these bare spots for a while, and we decided last month was the time to fix the problem. My husband and I watched a few videos online on the best way to grow grass. We found one video where a man with a yard in terrible condition taught us the best techniques to grow new grass. Through a time-lapse video, we witnessed this man transform his lawn into a pristine, lush, green oasis. The video made it look easy, so we started on our backyard project. We began by removing the old dirt and rocks, replacing them with enriched soil, sprinkling grass seed with the recommended seed spreader, raking the grass seed, and then we began to water and fertilize the dirt 2-3 times a day. On the grass seed bag and the video, we were promised that if we followed the instructions exactly, within three days, grass would begin to grow, and within 2-3 weeks, the yard would be lush and green. Well, we are on week 5. There are a few weak blades of grass but nothing to brag about. It’s still mostly dirt. The weeds, however, seem to be thriving under my water and fertilizer routine.
I don’t have much wrapped up in my grass-growing ability. But I am aware there are times in our lives when we put in our best efforts and still do not accomplish what we had our heart set on. When relationships fall apart despite years of counseling, when sports teams aren’t made, or when we are passed over for promotions—left out, forgotten, or not acknowledged, despite our hard work.
Each night I read bedtime stories to our young children. One repeated theme in these books is, if you try hard enough, you will come in first, get the lead, get picked, pass the test, and win the award. I wonder if these stories shape unrealistic expectations. I wonder where the stories are about the person who tried really, really hard, harder than anyone else, and still didn’t get picked. The person who put in their best effort but was still mediocre, maybe better than before, but definitely not the best. These lessons are complicated, and they come with disappointment, the feeling of failure, and, often, embarrassment.
This is where I think we need to lean into God. God loves us through all of this. God loves us when we are center stage and when we get cut. God loves us as we stretch, grow, and are disappointed. Nothing can separate us from God’s love. There aren’t tiers; God doesn’t love the star more than those sitting on the bench. God loves the Golden Anniversary couples just as fully and completely as singles, divorced, widowed, and “it’s complicated.” God’s love is not earned; it is freely given. When we can embrace that love, we can truly know God. We begin to realize that, even if it seems that the grass is greener on the other side, it doesn’t matter. God loves us fully and completely, even if our yard and life are patchy. I invite you to remind the people in your life who are going through a difficult season that God loves them unconditionally, and so do you.
“For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39)
Rev. Jennifer Streeter
Pastor of Discipleship