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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  1. I suspect you were planting seeds that you may not have realized even in the early years. But it's also a good reminder of how God works in and through everything for those who call Him Lord. Loved reading your words again, sweet friend. xoxo

    1. Thank you for stopping by, Holly. So good to see your beautiful face. Miss connecting with you, friend. Much love. xoxo

  2. Hi Beth! Welcome back to blogging, even if it's a short drop-in. It's wonderful to read about your relationship with your children. We know them all their lives, but the communication and relationship seems to morph with each year, doesn't it?

    It seems to me that you have allowed them to become the individuals they needed to become. I think that in itself is a wonderful gift to give. And they are both so connected to you and your husband, that's pretty special too. I know you wish you were closer to the Lord when you were a young mom, and could spread those seeds earlier. But you don't know how that would have turned out either. Not every child appreciates the seeds, or enjoys the family trips to church on Sunday.
    May God continue to bless you with faith and family!

    1. The truth I hold on to is that our story is just as God had written it to be. While I may wish at times that I had found the Lord when I was a young mom, His plans are far, far better. And when I look at my boys I see how God has been working in me, in us, all along. Thanks for your visit, Ceil, and thanks for sharing. Much love. xoxo

  3. Dear Beth, as a mother of grown children, I wholeheartedly agree with you, the importance of planting good matter their age. I am praying that both your boys come to the Lord Jesus as their personal Savior soon. Stay strong, don't give up hope. Hugs and blessings.

    1. Thank you for your visit, Brenda, and for sharing. Hugs and blessings to you too.

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  5. Beth, I'm a mum of boys as well, and I'm continually amazed at the differences among my four. Your awareness of each boy and his personality and approach to life stirs my mumma heart. The do keep us on our knees, don't they?

    1. Oh, yes, indeed! Thank you for visiting, Michele. Blessings.

  6. Beth,
    So wonderful to be linked up next to you my sweet friend!! I too, look back and often see the mistakes I made parenting - the places I fell short, the opportunities I missed. But God....But, God was always there...filling in the gaps where my parenting was found lacking (and I am and was a Christ follower). My adult children have gone through there share of trials, but God honors my prayers for their lives to continue to be softened and drawn into Him. He will use the hard parts to make the good parts stand out even more brightly. God loves your heart and He does and will honor its prayers!!
    Love and ((hugs)) to you,
    Bev xoxo

    1. But God... you know I love those two words!! Much love to you, Bev. (((hugs)))

  7. So beautifully written and so full of truth. My relationship with my grown children is one I cherish. Both live far away and we only see each other occasionally but in bigger chunks of time. The rarity makes the time extra special.

    1. I truly do appreciate your visits, Pam, and the words of encouragement you leave. Blessings to you. xoxo

  8. So, so beautiful, Beth. I understand every word of what you've said, too. I have two sons, and I made many mistakes with them. There are times when I wonder if my mistakes have contributed to some of their struggles when they struggle. But then I realize, they also have a heavenly Father who is bigger than my mistakes. His covering of love in their lives works wonders!

    My two boys are quite different, too, so I enjoyed reading about your two sons. And yes, my relationship with each of them is different, tailor-made to their personalities. I'm just so very grateful that I have a close friendship with each of them. THAT is the treasure...

    Planting seeds. It's an ongoing, lifelong calling. A mother's influence never goes away, even if we don't always see how it's working!


    1. "His covering of love in their lives works wonders!" Oh, that is a promise I need to cling to, Sharon. And I see the truth of that in my boys lives.

      I always so appreciate your comments, your openness to share, your encouragement, etc. You bless me, friend. And I really miss you.

      God bless. Much love. xoxo

  9. Gosh, Beth ... this is beautiful. Thought-provoking. A testament to what God is continuing to do in your family despite the rocky seasons.

    I so love to see your name pop up in my reader. I so love yet another good visit with you.

    Weekend joys, dear friend ...

    1. Thank you, sweet friend. Weekend joys to you. xoxo

  10. You know how I feel about these words (love them so!) but those pictures are so beautiful too and all of it fits so well together. You're a blessing, dear friend. xoxo

  11. Sweet, Beth, I can't speak about parenting from experience, but I do know this: no one is a perfect parent. And even good parents can end up with troubled kids. Even more, being raised in a Christian home is no guarantee of salvation. This, "they both know their parents are always in their corner" tells me more about your parenting than anything else. The relationship you have with your boys is a blessing. As much as you love them, God loves them a billion times more - never give up hope! He is with you and your family, always. (lovely to have you writing again, friend)

    1. God loves them a billion times more... Thank you, Lord!!!!
      Love you, friend.

  12. Dearest Beth, From all that you share about your sons, they have been a soil for seeds always, and there have been many planted all along the way to have the kind of young men they are today...I would say! The current row of seeds you and your husband are planting are growing as God waters them.
    And you bless others by your seeds as well, Beth.
    Caring through Christ, ~ linda

    1. Thank you, Linda, for your visit and words of encouragement. Blessing to you. xoxo

  13. Hi Beth, seeds are very powerful. In fact the problem is not we can't sow the problem is being intentional about the kind of seeds we sow.
    Beautiful reflection today.🐇
    With much love,
    God bless


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