As a mom of two little girls, I consider their salvation as crucial as my responsibility to provide them food, clothing and shelter.
I often consider how to guide my younger children to develop ownership of their faith in Jesus without me coercing or controlling them.
In Dr. Tim Kimmel’s book, The High Cost of High Control, he details the many different ways we adversely control our children.
Time spent in my urban garden helps me to ponder these truths and formulate ways to illustrate what I’m learning with my girls and other mothers.
In preparation for spring planting, I place seeds in peat pots filled with fertile soil. The pots are housed in a small environmentally controlled greenhouse. With the ideal soil, light, temperature and moisture the seeds germinate.
The same can be said of me planting the seed of faith in the supple hearts of my girls. I read to them Bible stories, offer tender loving kindness, grace-filled admonition (not perfectly but purposefully) and exposure to God’s magnificent creation. The seed of faith germinates.
But once the seed becomes a green sprout, I cannot make it grow. Only the process of photosynthesis will increase the mass of the plant.
As a gardener might pray for rain over his crops, I pray for the salvation of my children. Prayer lifts up their souls to the Son. With resolute faith, I trust God will make their salvation secure.
As a mother, I protect the sprout from birds and pests. I water the sprout with grace. I fertilize the sprout with faith, hope and love so its roots grow deep, stems thick and leaves green.
In order for the plant to mature, I have to take the sprout out of the greenhouse and plant it in the ground. Similarly, I will ease my influence and release my children to grow, blossom and produce delicious fruit in the garden of their lives.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires—Galatians 5:22-24.
I see through the lens of this imagery my role as a mother is to bolster my children’s understanding of and exposure to the light.
The process of photosynthesis uses light to convert water (grace) and carbon dioxide (the flesh and its passions and desires) into oxygen (life giving truth) plus energy (which becomes the structure of the plant.)
Photosynthesis looks like the relationship we develop with Jesus. Without it we remain tiny shoots with no blossoms or fruit.
Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit—Galatians 5:25.
The Spirit of God dwelling in the heart of a believer in Jesus guides us in all truth, intercedes on our behalf, teaches, comforts, admonishes, directs and protects. Jesus is the light of the world.
Christ’s light converts our arrogance in to meekness, our greed in to sacrifice, our selfishness in to service, our strife in to reconciliation, our self-pity in to thankfulness, our hopelessness in to joy, our striving in to submission, our jealousy in to contentment, our anger in to compassion, and our bitterness in to forgiveness.
In addition, the affect of Christ’s light in our lives spreads oxygen (life-giving truth) to those in our influence so they do not suffocate from the flesh and its passion and desires.
The spiritual formation of our children takes place in the inmost parts growing in depth and breadth to maturity. With heaping doses of grace and ample supplies of Christ’s light, children will become an abundance of love to pour out to others.
Written by Edy Sutherland