At our house, we have a fairly large yard. Half of it has been designated as our “farm.” We have had a vegetable garden going for the last three seasons. In it, we’re growing all kinds of edibles and flowers. That garden has been a source of nourishment not only for my body, but also for my soul. In this garden, as I’ve gone about tending it, the Lord has shown me several physical pictures of His biblical principles. One of these “lessons learned in the garden” came at a time that I was feeling weary and overwhelmed in the task of raising my kids.
When I started my garden this season, I planted half of my seeds directly into the ground and the other half I started in the seed greenhouse. The seeds in the ground struggled. The ground was initially too cold and I had to replant several of them as the season progressed. The plants that did sprout were swiftly eaten by insects and slugs. The plants that survived into further maturity have stayed small as I have weeds that grow and compete for nutrients in the soil. They’re essentially starved and fighting to send their roots deep enough to grow in the soil found beneath the reach of the weeds that surround them.
The seeds I started in the greenhouse were a completely different story. These germinated quickly in the warmth that a covering provided to them. The soil temperature was high and the moisture in the air was thick. There are no weeds in a peat pot filled with potting soil. The plants grew tall and the roots grew strong. When it came time to transplant them into the main plot, their stalks were long enough to keep them off the ground level where the pest damage would most likely occur. These plants have stayed healthier than their direct soil counterparts and I’ve collected a greater harvest from them as a result
It was through this observation that I felt the Lord speak to my heart.
When it comes to raising up my children in the ways of the Lord, my home is like this greenhouse. It is the safe place to start the seeds of faith in the hearts of my kids. It is designed to be a place free from pests, weeds, and harsh conditions. The world is not perfect, but the “air” inside my home can be warm and conducive to growth. When their roots are strong, they’ll be sent out into society to thrive and continue to grow, eventually bearing good fruit along the way. The fruit of the Spirit… love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
So I encourage you mamas out there with this. I know it’s hot in the greenhouse. You sweat, you’re tired and you’re likely dirty. Your hands are busy, you put in long hours and you’re a long way away from partaking in a harvest. The days feel endless and the nights are sleepless.
Your hard work is seen by the Lord. That work is valued by the Lord. Your steadfast attention to the upbringing of your children is entrusted to you by the Lord. And HE will provide the harvest. When you feel overwhelmed, remember the unseen work being done in the roots below the sight line of the soil. Sometimes we can’t see the progress and growth in our kids, but we can trust that it is happening beneath the surface. Pour time and attention into your little ones. Pour the Word into their little hearts. Instill in them biblical values and a passion for the Lord.
“Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.” – Colossians 2:12
As you lead your children, be encouraged in the knowledge that it matters. The greenhouse years matter. You, the mama chosen for them, matter. Whether you’re a stay at home or working mom, homeschooling or PTA mom, married or single; whatever circumstance you’re mothering in, remember that your home is a place of growth and nurturing. Keep your greenhouse safe and warm, and trust the Lord for the rest. He is a faithful gardener.
About the Author:
Regina Dean is a stay at home mama to four spunky kids and the wife of a wise spiritual leader. When she’s not writing, she can be found serving in worship and children’s ministry, homeschooling her children, and farming in her backyard.
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