Monday, September 16, 2013

It's Your Grass!


I've known a few men in my life who have taken great pride in their lawns, and it was interesting to see their attention to detail as they carefully removed weeds from flower beds, trimmed hedges, edged sidewalks, mowed, watered and so on.  I've also known many more men who hired companies to come do all of that for them or who did it themselves with little enthusiasm.

I am a 50/50 guy myself... I do my own planting, weeding, trimming, fertilizing and watering, but I leave the general mowing, edging and weed-eating to a guy who does it for a living.  I don't take  particular pride in the meticulous details of my landscaping, but at the end of the day, I get that if my grass is yellow, thin or dead, I'm gonna have to do something about it... because it's my grass.  And, yard work is hard, tedious and time consuming.  It leaves you sweaty, sunburned and spent, and a week or two later, it's time to do it all over again.

Recently, I've overheard one too many instances regarding a foster or adoptive family where the husband decided he was done being a husband.  Apparently, the grass on the other side was greener.  I don't know all the details of every situation.  I'm not in their home 24/7.  I don't know their history or the intricacies of their marriage.  I'd like to take some politically correct route in espousing a notion of shared blame... and I've tried.  I've retyped some idea of how you both have to work at it, and there's something each side could have done differently, and surely a man wouldn't just up and leave his wife and family for no reason, and on and on and on.  Finally, I just had to call it...

...IT'S YOUR GRASS!

If it's yellow and dying, you have to take ownership of it and do something to restore it!  If that doesn't work, you try something else!  And if that doesn't work, you try something else!  You have to love your wife well, love your kids well, tend to your family's health regularly, provide financially, lead spiritually and start all over again the next morning.  As a father, you are the first to wake up and the last to go to sleep, and when you add foster or adopted children to your family, it only heightens the stakes.  You no longer get to just be a "good dad".  You have placed yourself in the trenches with an abused or neglected child and welcomed the crosshairs of the enemy often requiring you to be the best version of yourself possible.

I get that is a lot to take on, but in becoming a husband and a dad, you are making your vows as a stalwart for faithfulness and stepping into what can be the most incredible adventure of your life.  Yes, you will make mistakes.  Parts of the yard will flourish seemingly without your help while other parts struggle year after year.  You will need a break from time to time... but YOU are responsible for making sure you (and your wife) get the break you need!

In Scripture, before God creates Eve from Adam's side, He calls her Adam's helpmate or suitable helper.  The Hebrew is ezer kenegdo.  This particular title only reoccurs when God references himself being the only help man can turn to.  But as you know, rather than protect her from the deception of the serpent, he idly stands by while she eats the forbidden fruit and then has a bite himself. It appears men have been apt to idly stand by ever since.

Some could say, "Well, Bruce, you've never been divorced, and your parents aren't divorced, so how can you pass judgment?"  My response, "I've never done a lot of things, but that doesn't mean I need to get divorced to tell someone else how to not get divorced."  We've become so excuse-oriented and self-indulgent to the point that when we feel like we've been too sacrificial we decide it's time to abandon ship.

Whatever is potentially contributing to your mental, physical, emotional and relational destruction has to meet an abrupt end... TODAY!  If you're looking at porn and thinking your wife should somehow be more like her, punch yourself in the face real quick for me.  Quit it!  Get accountability, confess what needs confessing, and move forward.  For the love of all that's holy... it's a future version of your foster daughter on your computer screen because the dad in her life was too self-absorbed to tell her she was better than that!  At the very least, the inundation of erectile dysfunction ads on radio and television should give you some pause as to what effects pornography has on the male anatomy.

If your wife has become overwhelmed with the needs of your children that she has lost whatever attracted you to her in the first place, it may be time to take a break, get some respite, call in the reserves, take a vacation or stop foster parenting altogether.  Of course, if the issue is that you're a schlep of a husband and your wife is carrying the load of two people, you're back to the man in the mirror.  Wives, listen to your husbands and follow their lead.  Be patient when their leadership contradicts the Lord's, and wait on the Holy Spirit to be the Holy Spirit.  A special note here: you are not the Holy Spirit.

Again, I don't know the details of yours or any specific situation.  I'm just reacting to the fallout of it all.  If you're a husband out there reading this, and you're looking around at all the dirt in your yard wishing someone would come fix it for you or wanting to scrap it and move onto the next yard... no one but your wife is coming, and if you couldn't care for this yard, what do you think will happen to the next one?  There is no HOA for your marriage.

Your wife... I repeat, YOUR WIFE, your suitable helper, is probably sitting across the room from you or within a phone call's reach right now.  Stop reading this tirade of a post, talk to her and assess the condition of your grass, and get her help.  You may just need a tweak here or there, or you might need to tear up everything you have, and lay down all new sod.  But don't put this off!  The first step may literally be heading outside to work in the yard together... after all, it is your grass.

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