When I first moved to NYC, I kept noticing things around the house that needed help. Some areas were neglected, falling apart….it just needed some TLC. It has been slow going, and sometimes frustrating, but we are fixing things up and updating one project at a time.
The latest project has been the front yard. When I moved here, the yard was little more than dirt and weeds, with a few misshapen bushes. But it had potential. There were some old rosebushes, but they no longer bloomed. There was a hydrangea bush that was healthy and beautiful, just covered in old dead flowers and leaves. There was also a fig tree, and the figs were delicious. Clearly, it was once beautiful, and had simply fallen into a state of neglect.
So, I made it my personal mission to restore it to its former glory. Armed with gloves, hedge clippers, a shovel, and a rake, I took it on, totally confident that I would prevail over the errant plants. Where to start? The rosebushes. It took me almost a full day to pull up the weeds from the flower bed, and that was just the prep step. After that it was time to dig the trench for some brick edging. The digging went well, as did the bricks, but when I got to the last one, it was too long. I was over here working hard, with visions of a perfectly maintained yard in bloom, and the whole dream was about to be thwarted by 2 measly inches of brick. Not to be deterred, I called Home Depot to see if they’d cut it. They wouldn’t. Still undeterred, I went to a local hardware store down the street to see if they could help. They couldn’t. Slightly daunted, but with visions of roses spurring me on, I bought a brick hammer. I’d chisel the thing myself.
Or so I thought. Over an hour later, all I’d managed to do was chisel a score line down the side, but no actual crack. The solution? Hit harder. Right. So I’m hammering the chisel as hard as I can, hoping I don’t split the brick, but it turns out that I shouldn’t have worried because after another 45 minutes, the crack had barely even gotten deeper. Was I doing something wrong? Am I just weak? Doesn’t really matter – either way, I was stuck.
That’s when it occurred to me to utter a prayer. It was a prayer born of frustration and a tired arm. It was simple, and not very eloquent or articulate. In fact, it was only 2 words. Jesus….help. Sure enough, within 5 minutes the brick was cracked. Thanks Jesus!!
The experience was a simple reminder that I can’t do it myself. I can do it with God’s help, but not by myself. Jesus is by our sides, cheering us on whether we ask Him to or not. When we make attempts, He applauds. When we fail, He applauds our effort. He delights in us, whether we’re successful or we aren’t. But it’s when we turn to Him, and ask Him for help and guidance, that He can take a more active role in our lives. He can remove weeds, protect from thorns, and split bricks so that everything is a perfect fit.
Today, I give you the same reminder that Jesus gave me. Turn to Him in all areas of your life, even the ones where you think you can do it yourself, and watch Him move. Let Him live your whole life with you – the difference is immediate.