Hope in His Goodness

Green grass with heart 

Image by D Sharon Pruitt

I like being in control. There. I've said it!

I've been feeling rather frustrated and out of control this past week. We are currently living in a rental home, where although we maintain the yard in general, our landlords sometimes jump in with maintenance projects that they would like to have done. This can be wonderful, when it comes to trimming the tree in our front yard or pressure washing the house and deck.

However, this week (as it happened last spring as well), they chose to spray our entire lawn with very toxic weed killers, not once, but twice, despite my objections. (I won't get into it, but here is a link to some of the concerns with one of the types of weed killer that was used on our lawn, and these are not dissimilar from the concerns with other brands as well).

I find it really hard to be out of control in an area like this, where our health is concerned. I want to protect my children, my unborn baby, my husband and I, from these awful chemicals. Were it up to me, I would find a natural alternative, or simply deal with the weeds. The more you know about these things, the more they start to really matter and you begin to make your choices much more carefully, rather than simply worrying about having your grass a little greener or more weed free.

And yet, it's not in my hands. I can't do anything about it. God has currently placed us here, in this house, with these landlords, and with this lawn, in His absolute wisdom and sovereignty.

I've been praying this week that He would protect us from the effects of the chemicals, despite it being summer and near impossible to avoid being out on the lawn (though we do stay off of it for as many days as we can stand after they've recently sprayed). The fact of the matter is, He may choose to protect us completely from the toxins, and He may not (though it's one of those things that I would be hard pressed to ever know for sure- the effects of all the toxic chemicals on our body often add up slowly, over time, and very rarely show their effects obviously or immediately).

But regardless, He is still good, and whatever He allows in our lives is for our good and His glory.

It helps me so much to refocus myself on that eternal perspective whenever I start to let my over-anxious, super-analytical, sinful self get all bent out of shape over the current issue of the day (or week, or month). It's not to say that these issues aren't necessarily important (because many of them are), but they can easily become larger in my heart and mind than they should be, when I am not purposefully taking every thought captive to make it obedient to Christ (2 Cor 10:5).

Once again, in the midst of perhaps too much knowledge and a whole lot of potential fear, I can choose hope. Hope that my God is always in control, even when I am not (and what a good thing!). Hope that this life is not all there is, but that my ultimate hope rests in Jesus Christ and His coming kingdom.

Do you also struggle with letting go of your fears and desire to control what your family is exposed to? How do you realign your thoughts to the truth of God's sovereignty and goodness in ALL situations?

About Stephanie Langford

Stephanie Langford has a passion for sharing ideas and information for homemakers who want to make healthy changes in their homes, and carefully steward all that they've been given. She has written three books geared to helping families live more naturally and eat real, whole foods, without being overwhelmed, without going broke and with simple meal planning. She is the creator of Keeper of the Home.

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  1. Amber B. says:

    I am clearly late in joining this discussion, but I would love a feedback opinion on this. What is your advice for me when I run into conflict on this particular issue as well as other “natural living” issues with my husband? He thinks I’m crazy for being willing to spend 3 hours of my Saturday pulling weeds when we can take 10 min, spray them and be done with it. I feel obligated to “prove” my position, but that seems difficult when I don’t have “concrete” evidence. Just a sense of what is right and wrong for my family. I am praying that I can submit to him and that God will bring our opinions into alignment in one way or another.

    • I think you definitely do need to submit, and figure out what is just a freedom or preference thing (ie. he might think you’re crazy for weed pulling, but if you aren’t making him do it and he doesn’t mind that you’re doing it, then go ahead). However, if there are things that he just really would prefer that you do a certain way, it’s better to submit and go with it, and you can just pray that yes, God would bring unity in your opinions on things. Some things you might continue to disagree on. Other times, he might come across good info on natural living and make some decisions himself (and this is the best- because then he’s truly motivated and it’s not just you trying to drag him along on your own mission, you know?). My husband likes it best when I present a very small amount of good information that supports my opinion or desire to do things a certain way, and then leave it at that, without any nagging or overloading him with facts. Try finding a simple article, explaining a few of the issues with spraying weeds and point out just a couple of points. Then drop the subject and don’t make it more of an issue that it needs to be. :)

  2. This is something I struggle with daily, if I am honest.
    And the hardest thing for me to relinquish control to is my family. The fears that come with children almost school age. Thinking about what their future holds and praying fervently for their futures.
    I have to constantly give God my fears, which is all wrapped up in control.
    I know God is so faithful. And I stand on what his word says. That is why I chose my blog name mommyundone, because I want to be “undone” before God. To give him everything, including control. Not easy but that is my desire.

  3. I have been so annoyed lately with all the dandilions and weeds in our yard. Your post made me not be so bothered by them. :o)

    We played a game in the fromt yard this week…called Buttercup Pull. We time the kids and whoever can pick the most buttercups wins. You’d be amazed how this works.

    Sorry, I would be frustrated too. Mel’s comment gives such perspective though….they don’t touch your soul or that of your children….Praise God! Amazing how the gospel is applied to pesticides.

  4. Oh, I can so relate!! Not to the exact situation but to your reaction to it! It can be very easy to let fear and anxiety take over. As much as I want to be in control of my life, my surrounds etc, I really am not in control at all!! Certainly I need to do the footwork, but as you said, God is the one in control!

    Continue to trust God! And hopefully one day you won’t have to worry about such things!


  5. I have come to the conclusion lately that He will do what he will do–if He wants you to be protected from it, you will be, as long as you of course take proper precautions. If not, then it’s His will. I say this because (as a diagnosed Obessive Compulsive) I nearly drove myself and my husband insane trying to make sure I was never exposed to anything while pregnant–I wore gloves to clean, refused to use soil with pesticides, etc., etc. I went way overboard, but I was attempting to make sure that my baby would be as healthy as possible. It was my way of controlling the situation. Well, he was born perfect but three months later it was revealed to us he has an incurable, untreatable genetic disorder. There was nothing, NOTHING on this earth I could have done to prevent it. So much for my trying to take control. God knows best. Now, obviously, I’m not telling you to go out and play on the grass–just do the best you can and pray that He will take care of the rest. He will.

  6. When we lived in Panama, the base would spray everyday!! for bugs. We lived there for 3 years. All the people off base used leaded gasoline (which was the number one cause of lead poisoning before 1974? when the cadilidic convertor went legal in our country. While we were there, I was pregnant, breastfeeding, and had little ones (our 3rd and 4th were born there). I was a paranoid wreck at the time. It’s been 13 years apx. since we’ve lived there, and no one in the family is experiencing any health issues at all, despite being exposed to so much. I would say this: God is Sovereign. He really is. And he is a good and loving God, which is something we need to be reminded of often. We have much by the way of knowledge and sometimes it can almost be seen as a curse rather than a blessing. (sometimes I think: wouldn’t it be nice to be oblivious?) But it is helpful to know much to make good choices about what we CAN control. And as far as health is concerned, you are at the top, baby. No one has it covered better than you do. Anything more would just be worship. Just think, God has you in this toxic situation while you are young and strong and in your best health ever. When all is right, he’ll move you guys to a bigger place. In all things, faith.

  7. Sarah, I don’t think they’re illegal in Surrey, unfortunately. Hopefully we will follow Vancouver’s lead soon, though!

    Thanks for the encouragement, ladies! :)

  8. by the way…thank you SO much for sharing this though.

  9. Oh Stephanie, I am so sorry to hear about this. I have also had similar worries in the past while renting (we now own) only our landlord agreed not to spray…however many of our neighbours did and so that was really hard, as sometimes I would smell it so badly, especially last year while newly pregnant I really worried…

    Hopefully soon BC will also ban cosmetic pesticides like Quebec and Ontario. Its been wonderful having the ban. I see people out using those fancy dandelion digger things on their lawns. Our lawn is a carpet of yellow but we don’t have much time to do anything about it right now (even using a tool to get them out). I don’t care personally but I know others do.

    So I’ve basically had the same worries about the lawns around me until this year, its so nice not seeing those little white signs. However there is always something that I worry about. I really struggle with it too. The more I know the worst it is (sometimes I try to limit the amount I find out about)I try to have the same attitude about it that you are striving for. I am thankful for God’s sovereingty in all things. Often I have to breathe deeply and tell myself that a lot, so that I don’t go into panic mode about things. I will pray you can find peace from God in this.

  10. I love when we have realized we lost control because that is what God wants. He wants us to realize it, give it to him and trust him with it. This is hard for all women at some points in our lives. There is a reason for everything and I believe you were put there for a reason…Keep trusting God will take care of you and your family. Many Blessings!

  11. Jessica says:

    Thank you for posting this. I’ve definitely had similar struggles lately. I agree, the more I learn about the toxic environment we live in, the more a sinful desire for control reveals itself in my heart. Fear, anger, discouragement–all manifestations of the little (er, BIG) idol in my heart of control. But, until now, I hadn’t heard someone identify their struggle that is so similar to mine. And, like you, I’ve found no “remedy” other than fighting to have an eternal perspective. I have to tell myself “Yes, do your best to protect your family from harmful toxins, educate yourself, feed your family well. BUT, set the Lord always before you in all of these things. In eternity, what will matter the most is that you trusted, submitted, humbled yourself before your God.”
    Anyhow, all that to say, I can identify with you in this area and appreciate your sharing.

  12. We have a similar issue – while we don’t fertilize or or use pesticides on our lawn, garden or fruit trees our neighbour does and of course we get the overspray. While it probably doesn’t bother me as much as it does you, I did have to phone the spraying company to ask them to please, please let me know when they are going to spray so I can call my kids inside for the duration. It has been VERY DISCONCERTING to look out at my kids in the yard playing while this mist of who knows what is floating around them!!!!!
    Your words are so true – God IS sovereign over all things and that includes my childrens’ health! Ultimately it is our sin that will kill us body and soul if it weren’t for the blood of Christ. Thankfully pesticides only touch the body – not the soul!

  13. Thank you for sharing your heart on this matter. The exact same thing happened to us earlier this spring. I talked with my land lords (who by the way are missionaries in Taiwan, home on furlough) about the adverse affects to our health on the chemicals sprayed in the yard. I do my best to weed the yard (sounds silly) but the weed tend to take over. Since we have a very large garden, 7 blueberry bushes, lots of grapes and a few fruit trees I am also concerned about the affects of chemicals when sprayed around our food. I was able to talk them out of spraying again. I new the best I could do was pray and ask God to protect us. He is a good God. Thank you for sharing your faithfulness.
    Also very excited to hear about your home birth to come. My husband and I are thinking about birthing at home next time. Our first was in the hospital with a midwife (no meds), the second was in a birthing center which was wonderful but we are thinking that at home would be the best place for our next if God grants. Thanks for all your encouragement.
    I have been reading your blog for quite sometime and enjoy it very much. You are an encouragement and joy to my life and all though my husband doesn’t realize you are a joy to him through me. I went to college at Trinity Western (which I think is close to where you live). Of course with was many years ago. I share your blog with all my friends that live up there and several have changed to a healthier lifestyle thanks to you.
    Long comment but thanks. God truly uses you to encourage others.

  14. aren’t cosmetic herbicides and pesticides illegal to use here for domestic use?!?!?! i am quite sure that is how it is in vancouver…check it out! if so, you could always leave an anonymous tip about the landlord.

  15. Marsha_M says:

    Good post, I’ve been thinking about this too. It has been a huge frustration for me to find sources of “real” food in my area. Finally I was able to purchase grass-fed beef this week for the first time and already I was worried about whenwhere I would be able to buy more! But I’ve been reminding myself that if God wants me to eat this way then He will provide the food and keep leading me like he has been. Our beef was purchase price ended up being exactly how much money was left in the budget (Dave Ramsey!!) last month so we didn’t have to touch any savings. That was a huge sign for me that God is going to watch out and take care of us. It may not seem ideal…still waiting to find some free-range chickens! But He is so much better at being in control.

  16. Beatrice says:

    That’s a horrible story. I went to our city’s website to check out what the pesticide ban actually entailed and I see that it is actually province wide!

    From their website:
    “Ontario’s pesticide ban takes effect April 22, 2009. This provincial legislation takes the place of any local municipal pesticide bylaw (including Markham’s), so that there is one set of rules across Ontario.”

    Is there any chance that your area is moving in this direction too?

    I remember when I lived in a town house a couple years back, we were furious when they sprayed our lawn too. Our son was just a toddler and we didn’t want him exposed to toxic substances either.

    My own struggle with God is similar these days. “Help me relax and not be so controlling over all the smaller details!”

  17. That is a tough situation. Especially since you grow so much of your food so close to where the chemicals were sprayed. I just deal with the weeds, though they do drive my husband crazy.
    I am constantly working on relinquishing control. Once I decide to give up control, I have such a peaceful feeling…until the next issue I wish I could control comes up. I constantly struggle with remembering I am not in control.

  18. It is hard to know what the “plan” behind you being in a rental home and being exposed to things you are worried about. I hope you can learn what you are supposed to walk away from this test….be it more faith, a working knowledge and ability to mediate the control you wish for, acceptance of being in a position where you have such little control.