Our home had been vacant for nearly two years when we bought it. It was a short sale, and the recycling had never been take out by the previous owner, so you can imagine the yard hadn't been high on the priority list.
It looked much like this:
Maybe, not quite that bad.
In fact, we needed a machete to get to the front door! Okay, we don't own a machete, but you get the idea.
Everything was overgrown, and the weeds had run rampant with their freedom. The dandelions raised their smiling golden heads at me and dared my to try and bring them down.
My husband is responsible for all other weeds in the grass, but somehow it fell to my lot to be Queen of the Dandelions. I looked over my kingdom. It wasn't a pretty sight. It would take serious persistent effort to rid the lawn of the yellow heads.
Also, try explaining to the four year old not to blow the dandelion fuzz all over the yard because it only makes more dandelions and more work for mommy. Yeah, right.
The first year, I would spend an hour a day for weeks on end, pulling off the heads and dousing the stems with weed killer. (If you know of an all natural way to get rid of theses weeds, I'm all ears.) It was tempting to give up the fight. There were too many of them. I'd empty 3 beach sand pails a day. What was the point? Did anyone besides my husband and I care how the lawn looked. The HOA doesn't fine you for dandelions or even write you a courtesy note to say your lawn isn't up to snuff.
"Just throw in the towel," the dandelions taunted me. "You'll never win."
But, the goal was a weed free lawn, and endure I must.
Season 2 went much the same as Season 1. Endless buckets and hours of persistence in the spring. I even offered monetary rewards to my children for full buckets of dandelions. They were too smart for that.
Season 3 was when I finally saw change in the war swinging toward my favor. I spent about 2 weeks, 15 minutes a day clearing out the dandelions. What a difference!
Now I had a little time to clear out weeds from the flower beds. Not much better, really, but a necessary evil to a pretty yard.
I'm really not a fan of weeds. Why don't they go bother someone else?
At this point you may be wondering, What is she going on about? What is with the dandelions?
For nearly the past 3 months, I've been in a Sunday school class focusing on the Atonement, based on the Addiction Recovery Program. I've been following the 12 steps one at a time and relating them to sin instead of addiction. I've spent hours listening to the Addiction Circle recordings. The last 3 steps they refer to as "Maintenance Steps."
Once you've done all the hard work of clearing out your past, you then turn your attention to maintaining "clean" living.
As I reflected on this idea of maintenance, the battle of the dandelions came to my mind. It had taken hard work, effort, perseverance in the face of failure, staring down temptation, support from others when I asked, etc to get to the point where if I just stuck to the program, I could keep the new status quo.
Ridding my life of sin was like clearing the yard of dandelions, but, instead of using weed killer, I used the Savior's Atonement.
The yard = my life. Dandelions = sin. Weed killer = Jesus Christ.
Checking in daily, I have to go through and clear out the errors. If I do it daily, then it's easy to maintain. When I neglect my mistakes, it takes more time and effort to clear things up and the dandelions take root. They are harder to get rid of.
One spring, I dream I will wake up and find I no longer need to rid the lawn of dandelions. They simply don't grow there anymore. This would be equal to perfection. I think it'll be a lot of springs before I get there...but still, it's nice to dream. Look, no weeds!
There are lots of gardening analogies to be found in the scriptures. I hope you can identify with the one I've shared with you today.
Do you have a garden analogy to share? Leave it in the comments below.
Now, let's go out and conquer the dandelions!!!