Faithful Parents Today for Fruitful Children Tomorrow
Exasperated, I exclaimed to my mother, “I’m wasting my time, nothing good sticks with these kids!” Mom smiled with an unspoken nod of understanding, “It is not what is taught, but what is caught, that remains.”
I never intended for the title, “Stay-at-Home Mom” to take up permanent residence on my resume, but such is the case. Upon motherhood, raising offspring who produced fruit of the Spirit — love, joy, peace, kindness, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness, forbearance and self-control — became all-important to me. That stated, I’ve spent countless hours reading Bible stories, crafting Scripture cards and attending church with my children in tow. Nonetheless, everyday, real life is a barrage of massive messes, sibling squabbles, and children needing constant correction.
After dropping my daughter off at school one morning, her teacher motioned me to her desk where she related my oldest daughter’s reaction upon recently hearing that a classmate had the flu. She immediately stood and announced, “I know what we can do — we can make lasagna and send her a card. She will know we love her and Jesus does too.”
Tears pricked my eyes. In that moment, the hand of God lifted my shoulders from their posture of defeat. I hadn’t been wasting my time. In the words of my mom, my daughter had “caught” more than I had realized. I had failed to notice the earliest signs of good fruit budding in my child, love and kindness radiating from her tender 5-year-old heart. Lord, forgive me.
When our family learns that someone is ill or needs encouragement, we take meals and send cards — God’s love in action. We cannot cure them physically, but we can offer sympathy and encouragement. Inviting my girls into the kitchen to help does make bigger messes, but it allows me to sow seeds of God’s love and demonstrate the importance of showing kindness to others.
And when one of them says, “Let’s make cards so they will know that God loves them and promises to take care of them,” I reach for the card box. Those homemade notes, plastered with princess stickers, glittery handprints and water-colored rainbows, not only demonstrate the imagination and creativity of two little girls, but the ripening of spiritual fruits.
My prayer is the fruit seeds planted and tended by my husband and me and other Christians in my girls’ lives will take root in receptive hearts that will yield a beautiful bounty of Godly women. My daughter’s teacher provided a glimpse into her heart that day, allowing me to see that seeds I had unknowingly sown, had already taken root and produced fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22,23).