“Stressed.”   That’s what my lawn fertilizer company technician said when he looked at the yellow-brownish grass in my front yard a few weeks ago.   Concerned and worried that my once green yard was ruined for the rest of the year, I asked him what, if anything, could be done to get it back to green.  His suggestions were to increase how many times a week I watered it and to water it in the evenings.  He added that my lawn was just like so many they’d seen over the last few weeks.    That last part made me feel a little better that I wasn’t alone in my battle to save my lawn.

In addition, his words made me think about what I saw a few weeks ago when I was flying home from a trip.  I looked out of the airplane window, as I like to do, as we got closer to the Dallas Fort Worth Airport.    Instead of seeing the normal bright green fields, what I saw most was brown:  Brown fields and lawns.     This summer has been brutal with excessive heat since May.   It’s 85 degrees at 7 am, 100 degrees by noon and feeling like 110 degrees by 5 pm.   It’s not good for pets, humans and for our grass.

Another friend suggested that I water my grass more than twice a week and for longer periods of time.  He said that if I do that, I should see a return to my green grass in a couple of weeks. So, between his advice and the fertilizing tech, one thing stood out to me:    It’s not just about how often I water but for how long.  He explained that the water has to go deeper to nourish trees and grass when it’s hotter outside. Because of the heat, it quickly evaporates

I’ve been doing what they suggested and seen some encouraging results.    I see a few specks of green in the midst of the yellow-brown patches.     And in some spots, the green patches are maintaining their color and expanding.  Yay for my grass but it probably won’t be good for my water bill!

Now that it looks like my plan to re-green my grass is working somewhat, I’m thinking about those many scriptures that talk about the importance of watering.   One of my favorites is I Corinthians 1:6-7 “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth.  So, neither he who plants, nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth.”

Now I see that scripture completely differently.  Talking to people isn’t enough. We have to be willing to be empathetic and connect with others beyond the surface level.   Just like watering on a surface level isn’t enough, we have to be patient and wait for growth.

It’s hard being patient but there is a blessing that comes from seeing something grow.   It is especially rewarding when we see something that looks like it is dying come back to life stronger and more vibrant than it was before.  As I continue to water it intentionally and deeply,  I’m looking forward to seeing my lawn transform back to green. Likewise, when we choose to pour into others, we have the awesome opportunity to see true transformation when we get out of the way and allow God to do His perfecting work.

Shewanda Riley (Aunt Wanda), PhD, is a Fort Worth-based author of “Love Hangover: Moving from Pain to Purpose After a Relationship Ends” and “Writing to the Beat of God’s Heart: A Book of Prayers for Writers.”   Email her at preservedbypurpose@gmail.com or follow her on Twitter @shewanda.   You can also listen to her podcast at www.chocolateauntiepodcast.com.