I’m weird! There is just something about mowing the lawn that I enjoy. Is it because of the warmth of the sun? Or perhaps it’s the smell of the grass or the white noise of the mower? It could also be the immediate sense of accomplishment I receive as I see the nice and neat rows left behind in my wake. Regardless of the reason, I feel at peace when doing this chore. This peace is, however, not without the annoying interruption of turning off the motor to remove sticks, rocks, or a random dog toy hiding in the grass. To preserve my peace, I’ve learned to walk the lawn and remove all obstacles. This tactic works well in this scenario, but it doesn’t when applied to the process of growth and maturity.

There is a term called “lawnmower parenting” in which parents remove any obstacle that might cause discomfort to their child so that life is easy and without struggle. The product is children who lack the necessary life skills and parents who are always on guard (ready to mow away any hardship) and filled with fear and anxiety. A better and more loving strategy is to be honest about the reality of obstacles to peace and offer presence and wisdom when hard times come their way. I would argue that the better and loving way is what Jesus modeled and what God wanted us to know.

Jesus is quoted as having said, “Yet I am not alone, for my Father is with me. I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:32-33). Trouble was real — even for Jesus — but in His overcoming, He was never alone. God did not remove the hardship but instead offered His presence. Soon after, the disciples heard Him pray on their behalf, “My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one” (John 17:15). The evil one steals peace, kills hope, and destroys joy, but as ones who believe in the One who overcame we have life to the full as walk with and in the protection of our powerful Father. God is no “lawnmower parent.” He is the perfect parent whose word is flawless and protection a place of refuge where peace can be found.

Jessica Klootwyk
Group & Women’s Discipleship Director

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