Friday, April 29, 2016

Planting Seeds

On Easter Sunday I returned home from spending four days with our oldest son, who lives in a Southern California. We had much needed mother/son bonding time.

We took in a sunset.
We hiked.
We were lazy at the beach.
We visited the small town of Julian and ate its delicious pizza and devoured its famous apple pie.
He cooked for me and I cooked for him (the one and only meal I know how to make).
We jet skied.
We met up with my sister and her family.
We relaxed via mostly decent TV entertainment.
We chatted.
We had our way of bonding.

It makes me sad that he lives in a different state but I wonder if he lived closer whether would we have weekends like the one we had. The distance forces us to be intentional.

Our youngest son lives only 15 minutes away. When he shows up without my prior knowledge of him coming, I get all giddy. If he was only stopping through briefly my reaction usually convinces him to stay longer than intended. Then there are the days when he sends me a text inviting me over for dinner. Umm. Yes! Absolutely, I will come. I willingly change other plans to be there.

One of my younger brothers (I have three younger and one older) asked me recently what similar traits my boys have. This question stumped me at the time as they are different as night and day. I ponder this question again and would have to say our boys are both kindhearted people you can count on to be in your corner.

Because they have such different personalities, I find my relationships with them to be different.

The youngest will talk my ear off and conversations with the oldest require me to take the lead. He knows I will come prepared with discussion questions to keep our conversation moving along.

The youngest is not so much a hugger and the oldest allows me to fully wrap my arms around him and linger. It might have something to do with the number of see-you later moments we have had. He's grown to know his mom needs those hugs. With the youngest no longer living at home I have a feeling he may catch on to my hugging needs.

The youngest has a joyful spirit and comfort in his own skin which made it a tad bit easier to send him out into the world. The oldest does not as easily see the decent man he is (a trait he inherited from his mom). To compensate, I am guilty of attempts to protect from the sinfulness of the world.

The youngest did not test our parenting abilities quite so much (yet still had his moments) while the oldest too often saw our inability to parent well when tested.

The youngest likely does not remember the hard, hard seasons. The oldest has always been more sensitive and acutely aware of my sadness when hard seasons come.

Maybe another similar trait our boys share is they both know their parents are always in their corner, despite all the times we messed up parenting.

Time with either one of our boys usually leaves me somewhat sentimental afterward. The together moments are fewer and farther between. I have discovered a profound love though for being a mom to adult children. It fills my heart with joy to witness the fine young men they have become.

On a recent drive home after a day at the office K-Love played on the radio. The host referenced the importance of planting seeds in the early years of children.

I have thought of this before in terms of our lack of planting good seeds in our children's lives. We certainly did not plant faith seeds as we did not become Christ followers until our early 40s.

While I certainly agree it becomes harder to have a proper influence (or to instill meaningful values) in our children's lives after a certain age, good seeds (and faith seeds) can be planted at any age.

I am not sure if I am referencing this planting seeds phrase correctly. You understand what I am trying to say, right? The early childhood years are crucial development years.

But I consider how God makes all things new. I am not the person I once was. My mind has been renewed to a new way of thinking. God is making me to be more like His son with each passing days. The same applies to my husband.

We messed up in many ways during the early years of children's lives. Heck, we were messing up in their teenage years too. We are imperfect people who sin daily and still make not so smart choices in our parenting decisions. However, there is a profound difference in the way we parent our children now compared to back then for we are different people.

My point being, we now have a more positive influence in our children's lives. We plant good seeds. We focus on planting seeds to draw them closer to Him knowing our role is in the planting. God ultimately determines when their hearts our softened to know the truth and for the truth to set them free (John 8:32).

Maybe the point is really this: I don't let go of hope. I hold on to Him. I allow Him to continue to do the work He is doing in me.

"He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion." ~ Philippians 1:6 

I trust Him to work through me, and others, to win the hearts of my unsaved children for our God "is able to do immeasurable more than all we ask or imagine" (Ephesians 3:20).

As I give thought to the differences in our children and the differences in my relationship with them, I find another similarity… hints of our Almighty God moving in their life. They may not yet know Him the way we know Him, but I see His light beginning to shine through as He transforms their way of thinking.

With this, I fall on my knees and say, "Thank you, Lord."

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