Last Saturday our family planted tulip bulbs. It sounds funny, actually. Bundling up to plant flowers on a brisk November morning.
The month our trees and bushes and plants and grass all prepare for their winter hibernation. As plants begin to die and the gardens appear bare, we are out planting life.
We planted those bulbs as best we could: 4-6 inches down, 4-6 inches apart.
We made sure to plant them right side up and not too close together.
We packed dirt over the bulbs, tucking them in for winter.
We watered, added garlic pellets to deter the squirrels from stealing our bulbs, and now we wait.
It’s hard to wait. My little ones want to see the flowers growing now. I do, too, actually.
I’ve wanted to plant tulips the last few years, but the fall months were busy and I neglected to do the work of planting.
Every spring, I’d regret not taking the time to do the work of planting.
This year, I resolved to do things differently. I didn’t want another spring to come and remind me that distractions and laziness got the best of me.
As we got our hands dirty, digging in the dirt, I couldn’t help but think how planting those tulip bulbs is so much like parenting.
Not only do we have to plan ahead, start early, and wait, we have to get our hands dirty. We have to do the work now to reap a harvest later.
It doesn’t matter how tired and weary I am, now is the time to plant. Now is the time to invest in my children and pour into their lives. If I want to reap a harvest, I must sow seeds now.
That sowing and reaping principle is a good reminder to me on days I feel like throwing in the towel or when I’m discouraged because I don’t see immediate change. I have to tell you, though, with parenting, like with my tulip bulbs, doing “all the right things” does not guarantee a healthy harvest.
I can plant the bulbs the right depth, with the correct spacing. I can protect the bulbs from the squirrels and the predators. I can water and watch and wait and wait. But there is no guarantee that those tulips will pop in the springtime.
“Many are the plans in a man’s heart but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails” (Proverbs 19:21).
Similarly, I can and will do all that I can to parent well and give my children a solid foundation. I will sow seeds of Scripture and prayer. I will seek to be an example of loving Jesus with all of my heart, soul, mind, and strength. I will train my children as best as I can, giving grace and thanks and attention.
I will do all that I can.
But even if I am the best mom in the world, there is still no guarantee that my children will turn out “right,” that they will trust Jesus for their salvation and love Him with their lives. Just like I cannot earn my own salvation, I can not earn theirs.
I am not sovereign over my children. Only God is.
“Flowers and vegetables do need room to grow,” said Rabbit. “There are some simple rules to planting. If you follow them, your seeds will sprout.” “Hoo-hoo-hoo!” shouted Tigger. “Sproutin’, shoutin’ seeds — I can hardly wait!”
And isn’t that what we want? Those simple rules to planting that will guarantee that our seeds will sprout? There is no magic formula for parenting, no secret recipe for success.
Just as I am an imperfect parent, I will raise imperfect children. I must lean hard into Jesus and walk by faith, following Him as I parent.
My goal needs to be faithfulness.
Faith and faithfulness.
The results aren’t up to me.
God cares far more about my children than I ever could, so I will do my part and leave the rest in the Lord’s good and capable hands.
Question for You:
What’s your greatest hope for your children? What do you need to let go of and leave in God’s hands?
Sisters, as we comment here, will you take a moment and pray for the person who commented before you? Pray for her and for her child(ren) and by doing so, help one another trust Him as we carry this awesome responsibility of parenting.