Sure, it may still be winter. Flower beds are still hidden under ice and snow. Blizzards and polar vortexes leaving scarce traces of garden soil. Yet, my mind has been dwelling on weeding.
I hate weeding. A green thumb, I certainly do not have. I enjoy and appreciate the beauty of landscaping and a well-tended yard. I flourish in the benefits of eating the harvest from your own garden. But the work that must be put into it? I find it neither relaxing nor a priority in how I want to spend my time. I guess I just don’t find it enjoyable. I really wish I did. Our yard, flower beds, and little vegetable garden often show the evidence of my neglect. Yet it’s hard for me to make it a priority to work on the soil around me.
I remember a specific day last summer when I begrudgingly went outside to weed our flower beds. It was hot – really hot. The sun was blazing, my baby was sleeping, and my then preschooler was playing. I listened to the low hum of the baby monitor and looked at my dirt covered hands. Knees on the concrete, body hunched over a pile of dirt, sweat dripping from my brow. Aching back and sore fingers. This was the last thing I wanted to be doing during nap time. Still, I knew that if I didn’t do it, our flowers – the flowers we had bought or were given, the flowers we had been trying to nourish, the flowers that had brought so much beauty – would get choked out by the sun, the weeds, the rodents, the thorns, and the rocks.
And I thought of my boys. Those little people that God had, for this time, entrusted into my care. The little men I had been asked to nurture and raise. Those little treasures that had made life so much more sweet and rich and beautiful.
And I thought of how tiring my task of being their mommy can be. The training, the discipline, the teaching, the correcting. The days when it just felt like it would be easier to just let them have their own way or pick up the toys myself. The days when my heart hurts because I have to discipline over and over and over. The days when I’m out of creative ideas or eloquent words and I just don’t know how to get them to understand. These are the days when the weeding leaves me with a decision to either throw up my hands and walk away or to understand my need to be driven back to my knees.
But in the midst of the sweat and dirt that day, I also thought of Jesus’ words in Matthew 13:3-9…
“A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seeds fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured them. Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and immediately they sprang up, since they had no depth of soil, but when the sun rose they were scorched. And since they had no root, they withered away. Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. Other seeds fell on good soil and produced grain, somea hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. He who has ears, let him hear.”
And I heard Jesus asking me, “Megan, do you want to hear?”
It may still be winter, but I’ve been having some of those tough weeding days…and I, again, need to listen.
Jesus tells this parable in Matthew 13 to show four different responses to the Word of God…
Seed sown on a heart that is easily stolen by the Enemy.
Seed sown on a heart that is shallow without deep roots to withstand difficulty.
Seed sown on a heart that is choked out by the thrills, frills, and cares of this life.
Seed sown on a heart that is good soil – that hears the Word, understands it, and bears the fruit of the Gospel.
And I hear Jesus calling my own heart to tend the hearts of my sons. Strengthening my aching back and tired hands. Making my desperate prayer…
“When Isaiah and Toby hear Your Word, Lord, may they be cut to the heart.” (Acts 2:37)
And I remember that my responsibility is to nurture and weed their soil.
Doing battle for their hearts in both prayer and providing godly discipline, understanding the spiritual warfare that is waged for them with the Enemy.
Nurturing not a shallow obedience that is built on rules and behavior modification, but on the Truth of the Gospel and hearts of stone exchanged for hearts of flesh (Ezekiel 26:36). Hearts that are so deeply rooted they’re neither swayed by the storms of life nor seared by the heat of persecution.
Carefully weeding out bad attitudes, entitlement, materialism, and the lies that anything can satisfy them more than Jesus. Creating in them a thirst for the Living Water that apart from they will not bear the fruit that will last (John 15:5).
My calling is to be faithful in tending the soil, exposing the weeds, and providing a clearer space for them to grow and flourish.
“The heart is the wellspring of life. Therefore, parenting is concerned with shepherding the heart. You must learn to work from the behavior you see, back to the heart, exposing heart issues for your children. In short, you must learn to engage them, not just reprove them. Help them see the ways that they are trying to slake their souls’ thirst with that which cannot satisfy. You must help your kids gain a clear focus on the cross of Christ…
These are the things worth striving for. This is a vision worthy of sacrifice.”
– Tedd Tripp
So the hard work and sweat and tears? The perseverance in the difficult discipline and repeated correction? The tiring days and knees calloused by hours spent in desperate prayer? The sacrifice of my own needs, desires, and time? The weeding out of anything but the Truth of the Gospel?
It’s worth it.
All worth it if my sweet boys have the soil that thirsts for Jesus and produces the beauty of fruit that will glorify the One that planted them.
Oh, Isaiah and Tobias,
“…how I yearn for you with the affection of Christ Jesus. And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.“