By Christi Stone
Being a mom is not easy and being a parent in itself is the hardest role you will ever own. But is is one that God has and will continue to totally equip you for and in.
In the recent season of my life, I have started seeing my parenting role and my relationships with my children as a garden. There are so many things or weeds that try to grow where they are not wanted nor intended to be. Insecurities, doubt, fear, sadness, lack of faith, worry, anxiety, offense, etc.. Sadly the list for me in this past season could go on and on. It is my responsibility as a mom to guide and direct my children in the way they should go and to provide a covering and protection from these “weeds” among the garden that represents our relationship.
But what if I am the ONE who permitted the weeds to take over? It is the posture of MY heart that sets the tone for what will grow and flourish in the garden of the relationship between my children and I. It will either be one with fresh beautiful abundance with healthy growth and occasional weeds, or it will be one with weeds and a thorny hard surface where the seeds I plant struggle to grow, and most often will never reach their full potential. And as a mom, I am confident we will face both scenarios with our children at some point in their life.
So what do we do when our garden looks less than what we expect? When our flowers are wilting and our plants are dry and no matter what we try ourselves, we do not see the results we anticipated? Where do we go to refresh and revive our garden?
Jesus. We go to Jesus.
Lately between graduations, kids moving out and moving forward in their own lives, a child being labeled as “second best” to some out in the world, a child in a season of constant discipline, and kids just growing up, my garden began to look less than it’s best. I began looking over my garden and began to see “weeds” that not only didn’t belong there, but recognized I had given permission to be there and to breed. I couldn’t believe my eyes! I began seeing the lack of refreshment that was needed in these very delicate ares that are called my children’s heart. The Lord began to reveal to me what we “ feed ourselves with” will be what is produced in our lives. I began to realize what I had been feeding myself with was producing “weeds” and not fruit.
So then it began, a reconstruction of the garden starting with MY heart. I can only transplant what I allow to be planted in me. I have allowed God to come in and water the areas of my heart that were dry and that were hard and wouldn’t develop a harvest from the seeds that were being planted. I allowed Him to love me in a way that I could then transplant that love in my own “garden” with my children.
I began seeing the way you care for a rose won’t be the way you care for a tulip. Every plant has a different need, a different purpose, and a different time to bloom, but all will require pruning. My eyes again began to recognize just as each plant is designed for a unique hydration, food source, sunlight and harvest, they are never unnoticed by the gardener. I was reminded that God is never oblivious to what is in our hearts and in our “gardens” and is always willing to provide the refreshment and nourishment we need as mamas.
So, after some painful pruning, some reconstructing, and much needed refreshment with my Jesus, I was able to transplant that same nourishment into my “garden” with my children. I made the choice to wipe my tears of what once was and hold my head up because tomorrow is a new day with new mercies. I chose to soften my heart for the things in which I don’t understand, and to let go of the offense and stop keeping score. To let God’s love cast out my fear I found myself crippled with, to love and allow the Father to prune His garden with me and teach me how properly prune mine.
Being a mama will never be easy and we will never get it all right 100% of the time, but isn’t it amazing that no matter what, we are the CHOSEN keepers to our “gardens”. YOU are exactly who God intended to plant and nourish your children. They will learn from our failures and they will learn from our success, but they will grow and they will flourish by our obedience. It is never easy to relinquish what we hold, but when we do, the MASTER Gardner can continue a great work not only in our “gardens” but in all those that will enjoy it.
Christi is a wife and mom to six children through blended family. She attends and leads at Garden Valley Church in Roseburg, Oregon, is a published author, and founder of Just Be You Ministries. Her favorite drink is cold brew coffee and her favorite sweet treat is an old fashioned chocolate donut. She enjoys reading, traveling and hosting her friends and family at home. Check her out on Instagram and Facebook!