One of the less fun parts of having flower beds around your house is having to weed them to keep your favorites growing well! It is easy to plant the young ones or the seeds and get excited waiting for them to appear; it is harder to continue to watch diligently for them to mature, and to keep the unwanted plants at bay in the waiting. This process has so many great spiritual applications!! One of them has to do with what happens after you remove all the weeds.
Try pulling all the weeds from a space you wish to plant, and then waiting more than a few days to get your flowers planted. What do you think happens? Weeds begin to grow. Where do they come from?? They always just seem to appear. You pull them again. Guess what? More grow back, sometimes even thicker than before. You pull that generation. Guess what? More come again, a profusion of unwanted growing. To keep those weeds somewhat controlled, you have to intentionally plant other things. Is there a pattern here? Is there something sinister behind it all?
The reason things always grow is simple: soil is what is required for plants to grow, and it won’t be idle. Some type of foliage will seek it out and root in it, whether it is the species you desire or not. Guess what? Our hearts are just like soil: Jesus told us that in His parable about the different types of soil & which ones are receptive to the good seed. He also illustrated the principle of our inability to stay empty in the parable about the housewife sweeping her house; she swept it clean but didn’t realize she needed to replace the bad stuff with good. Guess what? The bad stuff came back, stronger than before. (Matthew 12:43-45; 13:1-23)
As moms, what does this mean? It means that protecting the soil of your children’s hearts is up to you. It means that because they are human (with hearts that are deceitful -Jeremiah 17:9) they will not like limits set or activities forbidden. Yet as the parent it is your job to set those limits anyway. When your children reach the point of understanding your motives and the heart behind those limits, they will have a deeper trust of you and respect for your choices made on their behalf. Stay the course!! When you seek out truth about the activities your child desires to participate in, and you read of the possible harm, you avoid them. You set limits. You protect them from relationships where they are not encouraged in good. You deny them access to video games, movies, and books that have weedy attitudes. You participate with them as much as humanly possible, watching and listening for weeds of disrespect, unkindness, harshness, pridefulness, cynicism, and ingratitude. When those things start to sprout in your child’s attitude, you gently instruct, you give examples of your own heart’s weed-growing and how you have worked to cut it out, you give them good seeds to plant (direct them to good choices for entertainment and friendship).
After all, the fruit you are seeking for them is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control, right? Helping our children be diligent in planting good seeds means their older hearts are spared the pain of uprooting long-grown weeds. It means they learn early what that looks like and are unafraid of recognizing those faults and seeking to pull them out of their own lives. It means they can be humble when faults are found, and they will let you help them to see clearly and through eyes that love them no matter what, and desire their transparency of spirit so that relationship with our Father can flourish.