And so I pray, "Lord, I have never been able to keep plants alive very well. I have never succeeded at maintaining a thriving garden. I don't buy the tender plants that take alot of extra care. But I do beg, dear Lord, for the grace to tend well to the garden of these little hearts you've placed in my care."
You've seen the gardens that have been neglected. The weeds, the hard soil. I've owned a couple. I have often complained, "I don't have the time it takes to continually weed out the bad, to dig, to remember to water daily...to get that dirty.....everyday."
If this is my view on gardening, though, I have always wanted to be good at it, then how is my view on the children? I am finding as of late, that it's really quite similar. You see, even Jesus compared our hearts to soil. It takes something from me and of me to be considered a faithful gardener. My time must be committed to it. My hands will get dirty. I will feel like I am constantly pulling weeds. I will have to water, daily...and then it needs the son-light. The warmth and happiness of the son. But oh the digging! We want deep roots, do we not? To dig into the soil of the heart of our children will take a great amount of time....to see the first sprout of your seeds will take great patience but not only that but great tenderness and a careful eye so they won't get choked by weeds. I see this will take my full attention.
With this I have to ask the Lord for forgiveness....for settling for the basics of being a good mom without having to "garden." Are we drinking from our source so we can be a well spring to the thirsty, starved ones at our feet? Are we willing to nourish something so small & delicate in hopes of seeing it blossom? Are we willing to get our hands filthy & dig into to their lives instead of scraping by. Are we willing to dig past hard, stony ground? Are we willing to give them our full attention so that nothing creeps in and chokes the new life planted/growing in them. And especially, are we willing to beg God for tenderness so we don't pluck it up ourselves?
This is where I feel I've failed. The bible says, 'a gracious woman retains her honor.' And in Proverbs 31 it speaks of a woman who has the law of kindness in her tongue.
We can catch on pretty quick to what it takes to be a good mama. But this comfortable idea we most-likely live up to and feel we're doing well at, is only the height we in ourselves can extend to. To dig harder, go further, to give a little more, to be a little more gracious, to always be tender & speak lightly, takes more than we can live up to on our own. This week I have realized, no matter how much I set my mind to simply being more patient, slower to anger, and more 'pleasant' to the children, eventually I will fail. Why? Because my well dries up if it's not being filled! I run out of grace if I'm not growing in God's grace, I grow tired & feel the pains of weariness.
Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. matthew 11:28-30.
The garden of their hearts deeply depends on if mama is connected to the vine. Simple as that.
Every time this past week I tried harder to be "better" I would see how I am only dust. We get comfortable in what we can handle and what we have control of---but to go beyond that to thriving hearts and souls has to come from the life source Himself.
Gather up your gardening tools, ladies. We are not merely raising kids by giving them a hot meal & throwing a Popsicle their way. We are tilling the soil, getting ready for planting season, fighting for life in a world that walks the pathway of death. It's more than throwing your kids a hot dog, it's laying your baggage down and giving your life to seeing your garden thrive.