Backyard Renovation

Devo By Christa Prill

Exciting. Overwhelming. Chaotic.

If I would pause and tell you how our culture feels right about now, these would probably be the words I would use. Between the dropping case count and the opening up of things like church, school and youth sports, it’s all getting very exciting.

And it’s all a little overwhelming. We have to wrestle with all these things that used to be missing from our schedule and are now filling up all those little white boxes in our calendars. We’re starting to commute again. We’re starting to run our kids around town again. We are starting to spend more and more money out of our bank accounts again.

Our society is ramping back up after a near-12 month hiatus, and if you’re like me, it feels a bit chaotic. Thoughts like “What should I say yes to?” and “I’ve missed All The Things, so how can I say no to anything??” race through my mind.

Let me give you an image that I hope is helpful as you wrestle through the chaos.

One of my family’s COVID-projects has been to re-do our backyard. Our plan is to change it from the weedy-dirt patch that it now is into an extension of our living room. Dave and I have a picture in our heads of what it could be, and we’re excited to work toward the finished product.

One of the very first things that needed to be done was to cut down a large elm. Due to its proximity to the house and the mess that its pollen and leaves make, it just would not work well in our new plan for the back yard.

So, chop it down we did. It took a lot of work: hand saws, chain saws, ropes, eye protection, ear protection, friends, more chain saws, and many hours spend over several weeks.

When that 3-ft-diameter trunk finally fell, it gave a loud thump and landed with power on the dirt beneath it. It was our tree’s final hurrah, and it was the symbol of “moving on from the past” for our backyard.

The next step of our renovation will be getting to thoughtfully choose what we will put INTO our yard, now that we have taken everything else out. Our plans are no longer dictated by the landscaping put in by the builders of this house 30 years ago. We get to start fresh.

Wouldn’t it be silly if Dave and I invited 20 different people over to tell us what THEY would like to put in our back yard? No doubt, it would not end up looking the way we had planned from the beginning, and it would probably be worse than the weedy dirt patch that it is right now. No, we won’t do that. We will keep the vision of what we want our backyard to look like in the end as our guide for what we put into it now.

This point in our backyard remodel feels a lot like where we are in our culture right now. There were some “big trees” that had been in place in our schedules for many years; COVID came along, and God allowed for many of those to be chopped down. Now, we have a choice. Just like Dave and I have a vision for what our back yard will look like when all is said and done, God has a vision for what your life will look like post-COVID.

As you consider which items to include back into your “yard,” take some time to run each one past the Master Planner—your Father in heaven who loves you. He knows what will work best for the future of your life, here on earth and with him forever. He might not want everything back there that you do, but he has a better vision for what it will be than anyone else in all the world.

Trust him with your choices, and be amazed at the beautiful renovation he wants to do in your life.

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6

March 5, 2021