Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Fence Grazing


I think about them much more this time of year. Our grass is growing, flowers are blooming, and right along with all of the wanted - comes the unwanted. Especially along the fence.

I sat outside in the grass the other day. In the new grass that we planted last fall. Our front yard - that used to be barren of any grass at all, but was surely every type of weed, is now like Kelly green carpet. It is delightful.

But, there are still weeds. Coming up through our flower beds, around our Crepe Myrtle tree, and in and through the grass. The worst of the weeds lie along our fence. Our yard isn't perfect.

But, it's our yard. And, with some TLC (AKA money we paid to a landscaping company to kill everything, replant grass, and fertilize), a bit of effort, and hearts of thankfulness, I've come to love it - even though we still have weeds.

As I sat on that soft, baby grass last week, I was missing my husband.

I've mentioned this before, but my husband travels quite a bit for work. It can be so very difficult. The wake-up in the morning after a night of little sleep begets an outward groan and a rolling over plea, "Is it morning, already?" I slept alone for 26 years before I married my husband and now, I can't sleep without him. Irony doin' its thing.

When he's gone - I am so tired.

The lunch packing, the carpool, the laundry, dishes, lunch for the littles, naptime struggles, "What's for snack?", homework, dinner prep, clean-up, squabbles, discipline. All of it is mine to face alone.

Because my husband travels, she says, that inner voice inside of me, with a self-righteous pride and a hand on her hip. And, this pride, coupled with inner self-depreciation creates in me a little green-eyed monster.

When I sit and think about these things for too long, my mind goes to dark, unwanted places.

Her husband doesn't travel. Of course she has a clean house.
Her mom lives down the street. She always has a babysitter.
Her life is so much easier than mine.


Can I just tell you how much I hate this? This temptation to compare.

It is said: "The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence."

But, why - why are we standing at the fence, brushing against the splintered barrier of have and have not - where the weeds have taken root like nowhere else - staring over at "our neighbor's" yard and longing for what she has? He has. They have.

I think we all struggle with this - in one area or another. I know we do. Why do we do this?

Theodore Roosevelt said it so well:

Comparison is the thief of joy.

Yes, indeed.

The problem isn't with our grass's shade of green, but with the fact that we're fence grazing at all.

What if we sat in the yard the Gifter has given - whatever shade He's chosen for us - and were simply - thankful?

Have you ever tried to be jealous AND thankful to God? At the same time? It is very hard to do. I'd venture to say even impossible. (I've tried. Believe me, I've tried.)

What if we chose to see the goodness in everyday, the gift of the struggle that makes us cry out in Hope - knowing that not on the other side of the fence, but on the other side of our asking is unlimited grace and mercy?

Oh, this is such a daily struggle for me. This comparing. This "her grass is greener".

But, I am learning to choose thankfulness.

To see my sleepy-eyed, haggard self not as a business widow wearing a set of woes on her sleeve and jealousy in her heart, but as a child loved by a God who longs to have me needy.

So that He can fill those empty places in me.

And, bear in me a joy and thankfulness for the grass that's growing around me as I sit in contentment - with a grateful heart and away from the fence - amidst the shade of green He's chosen for me.

I'm learning.


  1. Just the subject I've been meditating on while in my recovery time. I've chosen to focus on being thankful, having joy, and being content in whatever my circumstance.

    Ahh, I love how the Lord works and that he chose you to add to my discovery of true contentment no matter what someone's grass looks like on the other side of the fence.

  2. I too have a husband who travels frequently and live accross the country from family. It has been hard, and I relate to all you are saying. Jealousy just seems to creep in frequently. I pray...a lot, especially on those tired mornings. I too, though, have so much to be thankful for: amazing friends, lots of wonderful opportunities (FL is recreation capital), a church that's been a huge blessing, friends/family who come to visit, and the way we've grown as a family.

    We, however, are in the process of moving closer to our families soon, and I am very grateful for the opportunity. As I go about life there, still with a husband who travels, I'll remember you in my prayers too as we both try to live content, joyful, and thankful for what God has so graciously blessed us with, as well as joyful for our neighbors in their blessings.

    Thanks so much for sharing. I did not realize I needed to hear this today until I read it. God works amazingly.

  3. You wrote something I needed to hear today! Comparison DOES steal joy!!! Thank you for your honesty and your blog.

  4. ahhh, this is SO SO SO TRUE!! Can't tell you how many times BRian has to "Admonish me" to NOT COMPARE!!! It is a struggle....but, it really does steal your joy. I tell my kids that all the time!! Thank you for the humble reminder to be happy JUST where the Lord has us!! We are so blessed! And, you are a beautiful writer!Love you Sar-bear!

  5. oh dear. so very very true. we almost all do it. thank you for putting into words. and gently admonishing me on this very subject. i am very blessed and must be more thankful for all that 'I' have...

  6. this same topic has been on my heart a lot as well... so well spoken dear one! found your blog today via her :)

  7. sarah...thank you.
    though my husband doesn't travel for work he does work ridiculous hours and many nights he is home after our littles are snug in their beds. sigh. comparison has been stealing my joy. because "her" husband gets home early. and "her" husband doesn't do any work on the weekends.

    i am learning too that jealousy and thankfulness can not co-exist.

    this was beautifully written. and has stirred my heart this morning...

  8. I struggle with contentment and gratitude so much. I mouth the words, but they are not from my heart, far too often. I say I can be happy for others in their blessings, but my happiness is politeness more than heartfelt gladness. Thanks for writing this.

  9. so, so, soooo well said Sarah... I know I didn't comment on this right away... you know how that can be sometimes... but I wanted to say I've thought lots on these words since you first posted. Thanks friend!