A scripture I read the other day got me thinking about the metaphorical seeds I am planting as a mother. Ecclesiastes 11:6 discusses the law of the harvest and planting good seeds with intention and vision:
“In the morning sow thy seed, and in the evening withhold not thine hand, for thou knowest not whether shall prosper, either this or that, or whether they both shall be alike together.”
We don’t always know which seeds will be most fruitful, but we need to keep planting. Every morning we need to be intentional about the seeds we plant and cultivate through our actions and focus. Are we planting what we want to reap? After all, you don’t get apples from carrot seeds!
Motherhood is a long-term process of laying foundations, or planting seeds, through teaching, nurturing, and example. It’s easy to get discouraged when we’re constantly sowing seeds, and yet all we see is dirt under our feet or tiny sprouts. It is helpful to recognize and appreciate what we’re accomplishing in planting those seeds as we await the harvest.
I’m planting seeds when I read to my children, go to the library and pick out great books for both of us, and patiently help them sound out words–I am nourishing a love of reading. I’m planting seeds when I consistently gather my family to the dinner table or for family prayers and guard our family time carefully, instead of giving up when the world is conspiring to keep us all too busy to breathe. I’m looking toward a harvest of family unity and connection to God.
I’m planting seeds when I work alongside my kids, as I teach them how to do their chores well, even though I could more quickly do it myself. I’m raising children who will know how to work hard and be prepared with vital skills. I’m planting seeds as I teach my children our values, even amid complaints that “everyone else is doing (fill in the blank)!”
Sometimes it feels like we aren’t making a difference and results aren’t appearing. When our family dinners turn to family slug-fests, when a child is taking longer than I think they should to learn a skill or follow family rules, or when everyone seems to resist my efforts, I am tempted to quit trying. Sometimes I impatiently declare that ‘we have been over this a thousand times!’ and want to pull up those little plants and demand to see the fruit of my efforts. In these moments, I need a gentle reminder that it isn’t over yet, my efforts are taking root. I just need to be patient and trust the process–the fruit will come.
Other seeds we may overlook are the seeds of our own development–it takes a lot of learning to be a mother! We need to be patient with the seeds we plant in ourselves as well. Working to develop patience, character, new skills, time-management, healthy lifestyle changes, or an ability to just care for our kids all day, all require faith and perseverance. If you’re one of those crazy people, like me, who tries to plant many seeds at once, be extra kind and gentle with yourself. Realize you can only nourish so many new plants at one time–pace yourself and care for yourself consistently.
We are planting seeds of trust, love, and learning, with every interaction we have with our children. We are planting seeds of courage, growth, and change within ourselves as we work and mature daily into all we can become. Faith that the harvest will come “after many days” helps us feel love and patience as nurtured qualities unfold, both with ourselves and our children, in the proper time.
John C. Maxwell says, “Success each day should be judged by the seeds sown, not the harvest reaped.” I’ll further add, that diligently planting and nourishing seeds, day by day, will insure the good things we desire for our families. Certainly some seeds will bear more fruit than others, but faithful efforts will undoubtedly bring a great harvest.
QUESTION: What seeds are you planting in yourself and your family? What are you trying to create today and in the long run?
CHALLENGE: Thoughtfully create a written list of the seeds you are planting and the harvest you hope to have. When you are discouraged, envision a tiny plant trying to take root. Then envision a flourishing plant and harvest. Remind yourself to patiently nourish those sprouts until the harvest comes.