“Lord, thou knowest the straits I am in, thou knowest how undeserving I am; thou knowest what a poor, undone creature I am before thee, but if thy dear Son shall help me and save me, the very angels will stand and wonder at his mighty grace, and so it will bring glory to him, therefore I entreat thee, be gracious unto me.” Spurgeon
And with these words, a new birth takes place and the angels rejoice. Good seed has been sown and new life has blossomed.
Good seed being sown produces a blessed harvest. In fact, all seed sown produces a harvest of one kind or another: blessing or cursing. Mother, you are sowing seed all the time. With your words, looks, body language, actions, and choice, you are sowing seed.
Back in the late 1800s, a Mrs. Sigourney is quoted as saying, “And say to mothers what a holy charge is theirs; with what a kingly power their love might rule the fountains of the newborn mind; Warn them to wake at early dawn and sow good seed before the world has sown its tares.”
Mothers, sow good seed! Make sure there is good seed sown in you so that as you tend to your garden, you will have much to give to your children. “Be not deceived, God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” As Charlie Tremendous Jones has said, if you really believed that verse, I mean really believed that verse, you would never continue to do what you are doing. Or, conversely, knowing the absolute truth behind that verse, you would be abundantly sowing that which is good.
The topic of sowing good seed makes me think of my perennial garden and all the sweet lessons I have learned while tending it. I’ll share a few with you:
1. On my hands and knees, alone in the garden with my hands and face in the dirt…the perfect place to meet with God. There’s something about the physical posture of gardening that so resembles prayer. In the garden we are working with God to create something of beauty. In our prayer time we are also working together with God to create something of beauty in the lives of those we love and beauty out of the ashes of man’s self effort. Prayer in our closets, preparation of the soil, labor of body and mind, and dirt under our fingernails and on our knees all mingle together in the gardening of flowers and the gardening of souls.
2. An excerpt from my journal: “Sitting beside my garden. Looking down upon the little patch of beauty that once was not. Amidst the praising song of the birds, I can actually see the stately irises opening up their blossoms. The slender yellow irises nearest the arbor gate actually unfold to open and a patient observer can catch the beautiful appearing. I hear a stirring; I see the blossom and stem twitch, the tender, yellow petals unfurl. I don’t know why such beauty is so short-lived. I do wish their show would continue throughout the season. But perhaps then I wouldn’t be so awe-struck and appreciative.”
Remembering that we, too, are short lived creatures, makes me think of the Psalmist’s words, “Stand in awe, and sin not…offer the sacrifices of righteousness, and put your trust in the LORD.” The brevity of our lives causes me to remember who I am and who He is. John Newton said:
“I am not what I ought to be, I am not what I want to be, I am not what I hope to be in another world; but still I am not what I once used to be and by the grace of God, I am what I am.”
It is God’s grace and mercy that this frail, sin-cursed woman seeks. And praise His name, when He is sought, He is found.
Time marches ever onward with no mercy for mothers. Purpose to drink in the season, the beauty, and the wonder of today. Soon your days of pregnancy will be over. Soon your days with little ones with all their little issues will be exchanged for your days with older children with different issues. And those days will painfully give way to quiet neatness in your home and a new ministry of prayer. Be thrilled with your life today. Thank God for your custom made situation and seek to squeeze every drop out of your day today.
3. The garden has also helped me to learn to be very slow to give up on anything or anyone. Things may look dead, invaluable, or useless; but there is often unseen life and hope, and with just a little nurturing and protecting, new life springs forth. So it is with our children, and other people’s children; so it even is with our husbands. God doesn’t give up on any of us; should we not follow His example?
4. Repetition is vital in gardening. Daily weeding is absolutely necessary whether we think it needs it or not! If you don’t see anything, turn over that soil regularly anyway. Likewise, repetition is necessary in many areas of life. Washing daily, cleaning daily, reading the Word daily, weeding the sins in my heart daily; repeating the same truths and instructions to our children day after day after day. Oh, and the daily weeding approach is way better than the occasional “rip and tear” method. Don’t ask me how I know this.
5. The sunflower. There’s a great lesson here. The sunflower is an example for me of what I long to be like: With my face lifted upwards toward the Son, I am to bloom for His glory. He made me; He nourishes me; He places me where I am; He has a plan and a design for me. I am to produce seeds that are to be scattered and carried everywhere—farther than where I could ever go myself.
If we could but grasp these truths! The very God of the universe is the One dealing with your life, custom fitting it for your greatest needs and His greatest glory. When we hold our newborn baby, we are holding the future in our arms. That new life needs tending. Mother, sow good seed. Children will learn what they live. Seek God’s help through His Word to raise His child for His purpose. You assisted God in a miracle as you carried and gave birth to that dear baby. Now, you are on a journey to assist God in yet another miracle: that of raising a human soul to a place of willing humility and reverence before his Lord and Maker.
Sound like a big job? Afraid you can’t do it? First Peter 5:7 says, “Casting all your care upon Him for He careth for you.” Charles Spurgeon wrote, “If God cares for you, why need you care too? Can you trust Him for your soul, and not for your body? He has never refused to bear your burdens, He has never fainted under their weight. Come, then, soul! Have done with fretful care, and leave all thy concerns in the hand of a gracious God.”
6. Healthy plants have deep roots. I am to deeply sink my roots into God’s Word. Here is where I will receive the nourishment I need to survive. If you really believe God’s Word doesn’t return void…that it is alive and quick and powerful…that it is honored by God above His very name, your goal would be to firmly plant your roots there and guide your children’s there as well.
7. Weeds are persistent things! Herein lies my greatest and most consistent struggle. I had a mint patch in my garden once. A little too late I decided that it was time to remove the invasive creature. It had overtaken an area and was quite a chore to remove. However, there was a blessing to be found. Once cleared, the ground was found to have been thoroughly aerated by the root system of the mint. The stubborn roots that had once occupied the area had actually done a wonderful job of making the soil prime for planting new growth. So, too, in our Christian life as we allow the Lord to uproot those nasty weeds, we may be pleasantly surprised to see how He has actually used our sin and consequences to prepare our hearts for the lessons to be learned and the new truth to be planted. (A Good Gardener never wastes anything.)
8. The only way to keep your perennial garden looking orderly and spacious is to generously share your plants. Also, picking the blooms and giving away the beautiful bouquets of blossoms helps the flowers to continue blooming. So, too, in our lives, when the Lord speaks to us in our morning devotions or through messages we hear, we are to abundantly clip and pass along the blossoms of our Heavenly Father’s tending in our life. Mothers, your primary mission field lies right at your feet. Your Father seeks to teach you things so that you can teach your children those very things.
Mothers, sow good seed! In the ordinary lies the extraordinary. Look at Jesus for our example. He wasn’t what they thought He would be or even what they thought He should be. He looked ordinary (so the description says), but, oh, how extraordinary He was.
Now, look at my life: within my daily, ordinary tasks lies the capability of extraordinary influence; in my life lies dormant seeds of extraordinary devotion to God and extraordinary peace within because of my walk with Him. In my life lie seeds of greatest potential. In the lives of my children lie dormant seeds of immeasurable worth. As I stay rooted in Him, God’s Word is working. I must stay rooted and get watered daily. I must tend to the fair and delicate gardens of the dear children God has placed in my care for but only a season. The time of frost and harvest is coming. May you work today as if your children’s souls depend upon it…for they do.
As seasons of life change, Elizabeth happily remains desperately dependent upon her God. Two of her four children have now branched off to begin their own families. She is a homeschooling veteran and a faithful wife of almost 30 years.