This week we have been doing lots in our new garden. We emptied old plant pots of dead plants, refilled them with soil and planted new seeds. Then came the anxious waiting period, where all you can do is keeping watering them and seeing what will happen. Every day me and my boys would go out to see if anything had started to grow, and the excitement when the first little green leaves poked through the dark soil was huge! We’d actually grown something!!
But that isn’t the end of the story – we will continue to watch these little plants and care for them in the hope that they will produce fruit, or carrots, or pretty flowers in the future.
I think I have forgotten to look for the new growth in my children’s spiritual lives.
Yes I celebrate their physical and mental achievements – starting to read or learning to use the potty (my sons are 5 and 2 at the moment so these are forefront in my mind!). But I often fail to see the little things that they are learning and grasping about God.
Whilst we were on holiday a couple of weeks back, we went on a walk up to a waterfall. There were some steep steps with slate edges, so we warned Sam our eldest to be careful. However, he decided it would be much more fun to jump up the steps than walk, and so grazed the whole front of one of his legs in the process. Much crying happened, and we eventually were able to carry on and reach the waterfall. As we carried on walking Sam turned to me and said “Mummy, it still hurts. I need to ask Father God to heal it”. He then stopped on the path and prayed (right in the way of all the other tourists trying to reach the waterfall!).
This may seem like a little thing, or perhaps people might assume its a habit I’ve gotten him into, but it wasn’t. It was entirely his choice. I hadn’t pushed him to pray, but only gently taught him over the last year that when we feel poorly we can take our hurts to God and ask him to heal them. Sam knew there was nothing I could do to fix his leg (I had no plasters which of course fix everything), so he took it to the person he knew could – God. This was a tiny little glimpse into the growth of his spiritual life, and I almost missed it trying to hurry on walking and get him out of everyone’s way.
You see sometimes I feel like what I try to teach him about God isn’t sinking in. Prayer times are hurried or giggled through in an evening, and sometimes church can be a time of messing around. But when I look back at where he was a year ago I can see how much he has grown spiritually. He thoroughly enjoys worship at church and has a “dance team” of friends who join him in dancing to the songs. He loves the Sunday School, can’t wait to go to Messy Church at Grandma’s, and comes home from school excited to have made a “tell everyone about the good news of Jesus” banner! There is a long way to go, but we have come a long way too.
Perhaps if you are feeling discouraged in your spiritual parenting, just stop and take a look at the tiny little leaves in the same way you would a plant pot of seeds. Maybe there is growth that you haven’t spotted yet.