As a mom, from the moment your first precious baby is born, so is a relentless desire to pour yourself out and give all you have to supply them with what they need to grow and thrive. Moms keep going, and they keep it going; and yet, too often feel as though they aren’t doing enough.
There were many times, as I was raising my four children, I felt like giving up and booking a flight to a far away island. I needed the constant encouragement of God’s word and promises and the steady strength of His Holy Spirit to help me through the long days and difficult seasons. God was constantly refocusing my perspective and reminding me that the good I was doing for my family would produce lasting fruit.
Earlier this year, my daughter and I acquired a patch of soil at the community garden in our city. Once a week we pack up her three little girls and a lunch and spend the day working the dirt. The time we spend preparing the soil, sowing seeds, weeding and watering has been a reminder that growing things from a tiny seed to a mature, fruitful plant takes energy, attention, perseverance and patience.
Lately, I have been thinking about how the same is true for raising children. Through the years God often encouraged me with His promise, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” (Galatians 6:9). Being mom is exhausting and unrewarding at times, and I have not met a mom yet that doesn’t need to be reminded that God promises there will be a harvest of blessings to reap one day if we don’t give up in doing good for our children.
On our second day at the community garden, the only thing blooming were the blisters on my hands. An older gentleman who had been working in his garden stopped by to introduce himself. He had an armful of kale and a bag overflowing with giant cabbages. We were muddy and sweaty, and I was slumped over my shovel. He said, “keep working the soil; it’s all about the soil. This is my sixth season trying to get my soil in good condition,” and as he held up his bounty, he exclaimed, “It’s the first year I am reaping a harvest like this.” I thought to myself, “My back doesn’t have six hours left to work this soil …six years? I will never make it!” I began to wonder what I had just signed up for when I heard the still, small voice of God’s Spirit remind me that I wasn’t there to harvest a crop of kale; I was there to help cultivate the soil of the hearts of my grandchildren and sow seeds of love and faith into their lives. So I grabbed my shovel, and with fresh vision and conviction, decided I would dig to China for these girls if needed!
Moms are given the privilege of tending to the ground of their children’s hearts. We do good when we are careful to cultivate our own hearts, keeping them free from the cares of life and things that would choke out the life of Christ and then tenderly care for our kids. Hearts that are soft and open are in prime condition for the seeds of God’s truth to sprout and grow.
Seeds are amazing little things. They hold the promise and potential of new life. But left in a little envelope, they produce nothing. Part of our doing good as moms is to sow seeds of truth, faith, peace and love into our children’s soft hearts. We must take hold of the seeds of truth from God’s word and let them go deep into the pockets of our own heart. Then, we are ready to pull them out and flick them, cast them and drop them into the soil of our children’s hearts. “In the morning sow your seed and at evening withhold not your hand, for you do not know which will prosper-this or that- or whether both alike will be good” (Ecclesiastes 11:6).
Don’t grow weary…
It's bound to happen; you are giving your all to your family, and eventually, you will come to the end of your own strength. There are many long days and even longer nights. We need Jesus if we are going to keep doing good when we feel like our good is not noticed, not good enough or not producing any good results. Motherhood is a calling, and when God calls, He equips. Ask your Heavenly Father, and He will give His Spirit to come upon you in power. His Spirit will give you strength beyond your strength, so you can keep doing good. He will give you courage to keep going when you feel like giving up. His Spirit will bestow you with gifts that can be used to build-up, stir-up and cheer-up your children. He is your very present Helper, always ready to answer your call and able to support, aid and comfort you. It is the Holy Spirit who gives moms staying power.
At the proper time…
My daughter and I decided we would divide the garden space in half. I work on one side while she works on the other. We have cultivated the soil in the same manner, planted the same seeds and water both sides at the same time. But for some reason, more seeds are sprouting on her side, and everything is growing faster and looks lush. She has noticed my discouragement and keeps reminding me I need to be patient, but I keep wondering what I am doing wrong and what she is doing right.
It is dangerous to compare the condition of our family to other families. It opens the door to discouragement if we don’t see the results we are promised when we expect to see them. When we are discouraged, we begin to think we haven’t done our job properly or that we haven’t done enough. We may even begin to doubt God’s promises.
God has an appointed time for harvest, and it’s rarely at the time we are expecting. Your eyes might only see a barren, lifeless heap of dirt as you survey your family’s condition.
There is a time when the careful cultivating and diligent sowing will bear its fruit. The time for reaping a harvest is designated by God in His wisdom. Until then, we continue doing good with patient endurance, waiting and trusting in God’s way and God’s timing. He will make all things beautiful in His time.
Reaping a harvest...
Mom, you are a blessing and a benefit to your family. He has filled you with His Spirit and beautified you with His grace. And though you may not feel like it at times, your very presence is of great worth. You enrich your family by simply being you and being present. There is tremendous value in getting up and showing up. Your consistent presence over time is firm ground for your kids to grow and thrive.
In this Pinterest –dusted, Instagram - fueled world we live in, it easy to forget that the simple things, like our time and presence, is a blessing to our children. You will reap a harvest, even if there have been moments you gave up and sat down. God will get you up and revive your heart. He keeps His promises, and you will reap a bountiful harvest of blessings as you keep trusting the One who called you to motherhood. He is the faithful One, and He will do it!
"Those who plant in tears will harvest with shouts of joy. They weep as they go to plant their seeds, but they sing as they return with the harvest" (Psalm 126:5).