In my sixties, I am finally at the age where I am actually reaping what I have sown in the lives of my children. So many seasons of planting by faith, watering ground that showed no obvious growth, I wondered if my seeds were growing. Yet, now, I love seeing my children as adults, living out of the garden of their soul that was planted through the years.
But, planting over and over again, faithfully tilling, watering the seeds of righteousness and faith takes time and intention. I also plant, now, and planted then, with the eyes of discipleship--focussing on the word, a Biblical perspective, words that give life, a vision for what they would become as they lived fully into their stewardship of life.
A story comes to mind that Nathan recently mentioned to me that he thinks made a difference in the lives of his friends--as well as his own life, as we invested in his friends so that he could have godly community.
Nathan and I were driving home one day after one of our heart-to-heart conversations, he suddenly said, "Mom, why don't you make a steak dinner for my friends--really spoil them? Then maybe you could tell them some of what you've told me, about their futures and loving God and being committed to really eternal things. Would you do that for me?"
I said a breathless, bright-eyed "Yes!" I could hardly imagine that my 18-year-old would be willing to expose his own best buds to his mother's impassioned thoughts, but the fact that it was his idea, not mine, spoke loudly of his own good heart. I was thrilled and honored.
Several weeks later, we did just that. There was an abundance of laughter, fun, and celebration as the boys all feasted on grilled steak and all the fixings. When they were full of food, we moved onto the couches where I shared with them. To a chorus of deep chuckles, I complimented Nathan on choosing the handsomest, smartest boys he could find to be his friends. I let them know how glad we were to know them and that I wanted to encourage them about their journey ahead. I simply shared five foundational verses with them that I thought were biblical priorities on which they should build the foundations of their lives.
How amazed I was as they patiently looked up the Bible verses and chatted with me about what the words meant to them. We prayed together, and I dedicated each boy into God's hands, and asked him to guide them, bless them, and watch over them. As we broke up, each young man hugged me with a hearty good-bye. They were all leaving home in the next few days, and I might not see them again for a while, but we parted company feeling complete.
There is a summer season of life in which the lives and hearts of children are open to the sowing of seed. It is a season in which we need to be ready to respond to their open hearts and to make the most of each moment. God requires that we cultivate, sow into, and water the gardens of our children's hearts in this season of growing.
From the time a toddler can understand language until the time when middle-school-aged children approach maturity, there are bounteous seasons when their hearts are open and ready for planting the seeds that will bear future fruit of spiritual truth, emotional health, unwavering moral standards, educational excellence, and general well-being. During these times we must take every opportunity to cultivate the ground of our children's hearts, to make them ready to take in the seeds of righteousness that God has prepared us to plant there.
There is still time for planting during the high school and college years, but the days are shorter then. This season is meant for children to mature, to begin the owning of their own lives and convictions. Other voices begin to speak into their lives. The time of seed-sowing in the life of a child is one that must be treasured and used well, because it will come to a sudden end as the seeds grow to full fruit and the time for the harvest has come.
The season of planting does not last forever; it is a gift of time granted for a single fleeting season. But what precious time! I have come to understand that what is planted in their lives in this time will determine the future harvest in the lives of my children—great stories of heroic believers, living words of biblical wisdom and encouragement, pictures of godly character, memories of daily love and affection. The outcome of their souls depends in large part upon how well I till their hearts and plant the seeds of love and righteousness. I think that in many ways the heart of the mother's soul is reflected in the soul harvest of her children—what we sow we will indeed also reap.
How important it is then that I take every opportunity to be a skillful and wise farmer of the souls of my children. I must faithfully and generously work the ground of my children's hearts, plant seeds of righteousness, and water those seeds with my love and prayers, because the season of harvest is ahead when there will be no more time to plant. And it will come sooner and more quickly than I expect.
"Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap.For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary.So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith." ~ Galatians 6:6-10
How might you sow into the lives of your children, today?