I’m always on the lookout for fun new projects to try and inexpensive ways to do them. Case in point: Planting vegetable seeds in egg shells. With the help of many little hands, we got to work planting tomato seeds, cabbage seeds, carrots, and spinach. We also had a few flower seeds to try. We got everything all planted and set up in front of a sunny window.
Then we waited.
And, you guessed it, we waited some more.
I was beginning to think the whole project was a bust.
I began doubting anything would ever sprout.
It was taking too long.
Maybe we didn’t water them enough?
Maybe we planted the seeds too deep? Not deep enough?
Maybe they weren’t in a spot to get enough sunlight.
Was it still too cold, even inside the house?
I was second-guessing everything.
This tiny little shoot breaks forth, ushering hope back into my heart for the rest of them.
It’s a parable, really. How many times in my own life have I labored and waited and lost hope?
This business of raising kids comes to mind. As parents we pour into our children, we tend their hearts, we stake them up with truth and encouragement. But so much of what we do is a waiting game. We watch and we pray. I sometimes fear I’m messing them up completely. Some days it’s hard to remember that what I am doing matters at all because all I see at the time is a clump of wet dirt that is their heart. Yet even through the doubts, I continue to plant seeds of truth. I continue to water them with encouragement and discipline. I continue to watch and hope.
And if I’m patient, God reveals little shoots of hope:
An almost 12 year old who decides on her own to read through the bible.
A 10 year old whose heart breaks for those without parents and prays for them.
An almost 8 year old who is beginning to fight against his selfishness.
A 5 year old who takes his little sister by the hand to gently guide her toward chickens so she can overcome her fear.
And a tiny three year old who answers “Jesus!” to every question asked during family devotions.
I still long for a productive and abundant harvest.
But I am so grateful that in the meantime, God gives me these little sprouts of hope in the hearts of my children.
“For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven.
A time to be born and a time to die.
A time to plant and a time to harvest.”
During the in-between I will continue to labor and pray and hope.