Over the weekend, Jim Bob and the boys tilled up the rest of the ground for our squash, zucchini, beans, corn, potatoes, pumpkins, etc.. This week, we are planting the rest of these items except for the pumpkins and the potatoes. Those we will plant with Jim Bob's mother and sister when they come to visit us this coming weekend.
We are also tending the garden in our own home. This garden is of the eternal type. Our children are maturing slowly, but surely, and we are learning as parents everyday how precious each part of their lives is. We must tend each child like the most tender shoot in our vegetable garden lest they whither and fade. Their hearts, desires, dreams and goals are so early in their development. They need constant watering. As dd#1 says, "Water me, please," when asking for a drink. Very cute indeed, but she really does need to be watered, showered with God's love and our own each and everyday of her life.
A very good friend and I were talking a few weeks ago about the fact that we must behave toward our children the same way that we do the guests in our homes (if not better!)with the utmost in respect, kindness, and dignity. It is easy to assume that because they are little that they do not understand this. Oh, but they do! They see the difference (and the hypocrisy) if we do not behave toward them as the blessings that they are.
Another insight that gardening has provided: When pulling up weeds in the vegetable garden, we need to be very careful not to uproot the tender vegetable shoots that are so early on in their development. This is harder the closer to the shoot and the bigger of a weed that it is. The same is true of our children's hearts. As we disciple them in joy, knowing that some day God's promise that we will indeed reap a harvest if we do not give up (Gal.6:9) will come true, we must help them see the weeds that are in their lives. Weeds around our hearts can run the gamut from selfishness to pride to discontent to dishonesty and anywhere in between. Many times, these sins can be so intricately entwined with our hearts that they are difficult to unravel and uproot. This is where we as the parents must rely on the Holy Spirit to do the work instead of trying to pull up that weed by brute force because we are so tired of it. To keep trying without lots of prayer, and the strength and wisdom of the Lord, would only result in harming the tender hearts He has entrusted to our care and protection.
I like things done quickly and efficiently. But this job of parenting is anything but quick and efficient. We are truly in it for the long haul. But what joy awaits us on the other side of this journey! Praise the Lord for His faithfulness that when we train up our children in the way they should go, when they are old they will not depart from it! (Proverbs 16:22).
Lord, grant us the wisdom, the faithfulness, the kindness, the perseverance needed to complete this task.