We stumbled out the door with our buckets, shovels, gloves, and the delight of expectation. I put down our tools and stretched my back as the kids began to dig into the loamy soil with abandon, dirt sailing through the sky and gleeful chatter filling the backyard. As I smiled and watched, the spring sun shining down on us, I reflected on all the faith lessons I’ve learned in the garden.
And other seeds fell into good soil and produced grain, growing up and increasing and yielding thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold. And he said, ‘He who has ears to hear, let him hear.’ Mark 4:8-9 ESV
Gardening and parenting are so very similar. There I am, on my knees in the earth, working the soil to make something grow….Here I am, on my knees in prayer, interceding and petitioning so that my faith (and theirs) might also grow.
You see, God is the Master Gardener. The Lord calls us to come alongside Him and learn His ways. In the simple acts of cultivating the soil, nurturing faith, and guiding them toward strength and fruitfulness, we are living out a parable for parenting.
Prepare Good Soil
Prepare your children’s hearts to receive the good news of Jesus Christ. Do the work of cultivation so that when the seed is planted, the soil is ready and the Holy Spirit may cause new life to grow.
You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. Deuteronomy 6:7 ESV
Every time we pray with our children, read God’s Word to them, or point to Him in every challenge, we are cultivating the soil of their hearts.
Nurture New Growth
Nurture their faith as it grows. Protect them from weeds that would stifle it. Nourish and water their young faith with much encouragement so that it will flourish!
For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it. Isaiah 55:10-11 ESV
Every time we are intentional with what our children see, do, and hear, we are nurturing their growth. When we lovingly instruct and discipline them, we are battling weeds. When we nourish them with the Word of God, it will do it’s work in their hearts and produce much growth!
Encourage Them to Flourish
Our children will not be seedlings forever. We will help them grow and mature, putting down deep roots. What will they be rooted in? That is what will determine how strong they will be in their faith as they grow up and venture out.
Blessed is the man… [whose] delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers. Psalm 1:1-3 ESV
We want to be able to gradually remove our protecting, weeding, doting hands from our children as they grow strong in the Lord, and in the strength of His might. (Eph. 6:10). So NOW is the time to do the hard work of equipping them!
Our greatest desire as Christian parents is that our children will follow God’s ways and produce much fruit for His kingdom. Salvation is of the Lord, and heart transformation is the work of the Spirit, yet we have our place in preparing the soil and nurturing their faith, too!
Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Romans 12:12 ESV
Let us be on our knees in prayer every day for our children, because our Father hears our prayers! The Holy Spirit is working daily, praying for them and producing fruit.
As for our part, let us come alongside the Master Gardener and participate in cultivating, nurturing, and strengthening our children. May they grow strong in God’s Word and go out into the world equipped for His good purposes.
Play in the Garden
This spring, get in the garden with your kids. Soak up God’s goodness and let Him teach these things to your soul.
Then teach those lessons to your children! Here are some resources to get you started.